Catalyzing the Quantum Research Ecosystem
The Quantum Systems Accelerator strengthens the nation’s quantum research ecosystem and helps ensure its international leadership by building a network of national labs, industry, and universities that addresses a broad spectrum of technological challenges.
Industry Engagement and Partnerships
QSA partners with industries across the spectrum: from large multinational companies to start-ups, and from basic R&D to interactions with end-users. Through partnerships, external advisory boards, and industry listening sessions, QSA actively solicits industry input on what is needed to accelerate technology development.
QSA hosted an industry roundtable series to identify and tackle several clearly defined challenges that the QIS community can rally around. This series launched in May 2021 with a general overview of potential technology challenges. Future meetings will focus on specific applications to help focus and build future partnerships.
In addition to its core team, the Quantum Systems Accelerator engages with more than 30 partners across academia, government labs, international research programs, and industry, including large companies and startups. These partnerships enable the QSA to determine what’s needed to accelerate quantum R&D and develop technology roadmaps that shepherd promising technologies from the lab to the factory.
QSA operates an innovation ecosystem that enables investors and startup partners to understand the emerging field and identify ways to catalyze and accelerate new companies. One such example is Cyclotron Road, a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory division, serving as an incubator for quantum computing hardware startups such as Bleximo Corp.
QSA is also exploring partnerships with other government agencies, such as the Air Force Research Lab, to participate in programs that match innovative startups and university technologies with government needs. The goal is to expose QSA to new ways to innovate rapidly through partnerships with commercial industry partners and the discovery of commercial technology solutions.
QSA conducted a roundtable discussion recently with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group – a non-profit advocacy group in Silicon Valley, California – on the promise of quantum computing and commercial opportunities.
The center trains the workforce needed to keep the nation at the forefront of quantum information science, share its advances with the scientific community, and serves as a hub for promising research.
To cultivate the future workforce of quantum scientists, engineers, and technicians, the center partners with California and other states, community colleges, workforce boards, and industry to establish curricula for educators and create apprenticeship opportunities for people interested in quantum science, including women and underrepresented minorities.
Through the Student Engagement thrust, QSA connects interns with QSA opportunities and partner institutions and provides a platform for students to engage with industry partners. By providing direct engagement opportunities and empowering QSA members to get involved in a broad set of activities, QSA provides experience and exposure to QIS students as they prepare to enter the workforce.
Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accountability, Solutions
Underlying all QSA activities is a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. QSA has taken an active approach to ensure a robust strategy is in place to enable inclusion and belonging for an increasingly diverse workforce across all functions and levels of the Center. We have established the IDEAS working group focused on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accountability, and Solutions. The IDEAS team, composed of members of the QSA and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) subject matter experts, provides insight into diversity research and best practices and will dispense practical guidance to help inform and guide QSA activities.
Through this work, QSA aims to grow QIS and technology as a discipline that fosters innovation, engagement, and psychological safety for all participants by creating equitable access to resources, information, and opportunities and prioritizing inclusive behaviors and participation throughout all QSA research and ecosystem activities.
QSA participated in a summer mentorship program in partnership with the Joint Science and Technology Institute (JSTI). Through this program, QSA mentors led a group of 10 students from across the country on instruction about the basics of Quantum Information Science. The program provided students the opportunity for hands-on experience building and running circuits on quantum simulators. In addition to the direct student engagement, QSA will leverage the materials developed for the program for the future.
QSA provides dedicated and sustained programs to support the next generations of QIS researchers through the Simon’s Institute. The Simons Institute Summer Research Cluster hosted approximately 40 researchers in residence on an 8-week research cluster with approximately 100 workshop participants. QSA was able to engage many students and researchers to set the stage for future Simons activities.
The IDEAS Advisory Council is also actively working to encourage diverse perspectives in recruitment and outreach initiatives across the Center. Other efforts promote practical and participatory activities to expand awareness, build inclusive cultures and enhance organizational processes, underscoring the importance of diverse and inclusive teams. In addition, the team strives to better understand the engagement of QSA partners and NQISRC centers, as well as to advocate for building positive overall change in QIS.
National Quantum Information Science Research Centers
QSA is one of five U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science National QIS Research Centers. The aim of the Centers, coupled with DOE’s core research portfolio, is to create and to steward the ecosystem needed to foster and facilitate advancement of QIS, with major anticipated national impact on national security, economic competitiveness, and America’s continued leadership in science.
Each Center incorporates a collaborative research team spanning multiple scientific and engineering disciplines and multiple institutions. In addition, each Center seamlessly integrates the science and technology innovation chain to accelerate progress in QIS research and development, facilitate technology transfer, and build the quantum workforce of the future.
A recent example of how all DOE NQISRCs work together developed during a summit with all Chief Diversity Officers (CDO) or equivalent representatives from all five DOE QIS centers to discuss coordinated opportunities for collaboration in DEI activities. This group has formed an advisory committee that will help drive DEI efforts in the field by reviewing and identifying how NQISRCs collective resources may be leveraged and shared for all centers.