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Aug. 25, 2020

Media Availability with Gov. Ducey and UArizona President Robbins on Center for Quantum Networks

TUCSON, Ariz. — Quantum technology is poised to revolutionize the internet like nothing before it. To pave the way to the internet of the future, the National Science Foundation has asked the University of Arizona to lead a consortium to develop technologies to connect quantum devices – first across labs and then around the world.

The NSF has awarded UArizona a five-year, $26 million grant – with an additional $24 million, five-year option – to lead the Center for Quantum Networks, with core partners Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University. Part of the NSF's Engineering Research Center program, the Center for Quantum Networks will bring together scientists, engineers and social scientists working on quantum information science and engineering and its societal impacts.

Gov. Doug Ducey and UArizona President Robert C. Robbins will join leaders from the Center for Quantum Networks, U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Science Foundation to talk about the new center during an Aug. 26 media availability. Additional speakers include:

  • Saikat Guha, Director of NSF Center for Quantum Networks, UArizona James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences
  • Jane Bambauer, CQN Deputy Director for Societal Impacts, UArizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  • Dirk Englund, CQN Deputy Director for Engineering Research, MIT Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
  • Charlie Tahan, Director, National Quantum Coordination Committee: America's Quantum Networks, U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Linda Blevins,  Deputy Assistant Director of the Engineering Directorate, National Science Foundation
  • Kon-Well Wang, Division Director, Division of Engineering Education and Centers, Directorate for Engineering, National Science Foundation 

Thomas Koch, dean of the UArizona James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, will moderate a live Q&A session.

Media who wish to ask questions via Zoom must RSVP with name, outlet and email address to Alexis Blue, ablue@arizona.edu, by 10 a.m. (PT) on Aug. 26 to receive a Zoom invitation.

The event also will be streamed live on the University of Arizona YouTube page.

Unlike the existing internet – in which computers around the globe exchange data encoded in the familiar 0s and 1s – the quantum internet will rely on a global network of quantum processors speaking to one another via "quantum bits," or qubits.

Qubits offer dramatic increases in processing capacity over conventional bits because they can exist in not just one state, but two at the same time, thanks to the quantum mechanical property called superposition. Additionally, two qubits can be "entangled," wherein their states stay strongly correlated despite being separated by large physical distances. Superposition and entanglement give quantum information processing its power – in encoding, extracting, carrying and processing information – in a way that's superior to what classical physics can afford.

The result is a globe-spanning communications network that offers unprecedented information security and provides a fabric to connect a vast variety of quantum computers, sensors and special-purpose quantum processors that communicate with one another via qubits. According to Saikat Guha, a UArizona associate professor of optical sciences and director of the new Center for Quantum Networks, the potential impact of quantum networking "is so immense, it is almost incalculable."

"Quantum networking will revolutionize how we use quantum computers to process large amounts of distributed data, how we communicate with provable security across continents, and connect far-flung sensors using entanglement into a highly powerful sensor to revolutionize astronomy, remote sensing, global positioning systems, autonomous vehicles and more," Guha said.

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Media contacts:
Daniel Stolte
University Communications
520-626-4402
stolte@email.arizona.edu

Brianna Moreno
James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences
520-621-4842
bmoreno@optics.arizona.edu

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 65 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.