AT&T Foundry and California Institute of Technology are forming an alliance to speed quantum technology development.

May 31, 2017

3 Min Read

PALO ALTO, Calif - The AT&T Foundry innovation center in Palo Alto, California is joining the California Institute of Technology to form the Alliance for Quantum Technologies (AQT). The Alliance aims to bring industry, government, and academia together to speed quantum technology development and emerging practical applications.

This collaboration will also bring a research and development program named INQNET (INtelligent Quantum NEtworks and Technologies). The program will focus on the need for capacity and security in communications through future quantum networking technologies.

Quantum networking will enable a new era of super-fast, secure networks. AT&T, through the AT&T Foundry, will help test relevant technologies for commercial applications.

Quantum computers won’t have a keyboard, monitor or mouse. They will be complex physics experiments with cryogenics for cooling, lasers, and other solid-state, electronic, optical and atomic devices. Moving quantum computing from the R&D lab to the real world requires solving technical and engineering challenges.

The science behind quantum computing is complex. And it cuts across disciplines including physics, engineering, computer science and applied mathematics. The basic idea is to apply the laws of quantum mechanics to processing and distributing information. It will enable exponentially more powerful computing.

Quantum networking is the process of linking quantum computers and devices together. This creates fast and secure networks beyond anything possible today with traditional processors.

“Quantum computing and networking holds the potential to radically transform how we connect as a society. It will make the impossible possible, as the internet once did,” said Igal Elbaz, vice president, ecosystem and innovation, AT&T. “The AT&T Foundry was founded to advance new products and services through innovation and collaboration. It’s the ideal place for this work as quantum technologies become a rapidly developing field in industrial research.”

“With quantum technologies and quantum engineering we’re experiencing a revolution in the applied fundamental. It is quite thrilling to accelerate the progress by integrating systems and ongoing R&D and especially by bringing together the experts,” said Maria Spiropulu, professor of Physics, California Institute of Technology. “The spirit of innovation and collaboration at the AT&T Foundry is the culture we hope permeates throughout this endeavor. I expect the catalysis effect on science and technology to be analogous.”

The field is still in its early stages. But these technologies could change our lives profoundly and rapidly. Some experts predict this as early as the next few decades.

Quantum devices and networks of quantum computers could speed scientific discoveries, push the field of machine intelligence, and potentially enable secure channels for communication beyond what’s possible with today’s technology.

AT&T and Caltech, through AQT and INQNET, are creating the model for technology development between academic institutions, industry, and national laboratories. One of the first demonstrations of intelligent and quantum network technologies will be in quantum entanglement distribution and relevant benchmarking and validation studies using commercial fiber provided by AT&T.

AT&T and Caltech plan to address the workforce development necessary for quantum technologies. They will hold roundtables and workshops to discuss the latest pertinent science and technology developments.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)

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