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An Australian strategy for the quantum revolution

By Danielle Cave

The world is now at the precipice of another technological and social revolution—the quantum revolution.

The countries that master quantum technology will dominate the information processing space for decades and perhaps centuries to come, giving them control and influence over sectors such as advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, the digital economy, logistics, national security and intelligence. The power of quantum computing, quantum communications and other quantum-enabled technologies will change the world, reshaping geopolitics, international cooperation and strategic competition.

The new United States administration is well aware of this. In his first weeks in office, President Biden signalled a major new policy focus on science and technology, including quantum technologies. The Covid-19 crisis has also seen quantum emerge as an investment vector for post-pandemic recovery: large capital investments have been made over the past year by such nations as China, Japan, Germany, France, South Korea and India.

A new report by ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre – ‘An Australian strategy for the quantum revolution’ – argues Australia needs a clear quantum strategy with strong political leadership and an organised effort of policy focus and public investment. It also recognises that quantum is just one among a number of critical technologies and that a step change is needed in Australia’s policy settings related to critical and emerging technologies generally. Without this coordinated effort, Australia will be left behind. While Australia benefited from the digital revolution, we missed our opportunity to play a major role in the computing and communications technology sector. A similar fate doesn’t have to befall us in the quantum revolution. We have a long history of leadership in quantum technology and we’re highly influential relative to our size.

Report authors Professor Gavin Brennen, Simon Devitt, Tara Roberson and Peter Rohde are joined by ASPI's Danielle Cave to discuss their report’s findings, Australia’s competitive advantage in quantum and how we can better leverage the quantum revolution including across the research sector and the national security, defence and intelligence community.