Australian Government Invests $940M AUD in PsiQuantum

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April 29, 2024 — The Australian government has announced a $940 million AUD — about $617 million US — investment in PsiQuantum, a Silicon Valley start-up with Australian roots, in a bid to build the world’s first commercially viable quantum computer in Brisbane. The federal and Queensland governments are each contributing $470 million to PsiQuantum through share purchases, grants, and loans, as reported by the Australian Financial Review.

This brings PsiQuantum’s total funding –representing both private and public funding — to nearly US$1.3 billion, potentially making it the highest funded independent quantum company / program in the world, comparable with some national initiatives, according to The Quantum Insider Market Intelligence Platform.

This investment, one of the largest under the Albanese government’s “Future Made in Australia” policy, will see PsiQuantum establishing its regional headquarters in Queensland and operating its computers there, the financial journal reports. The policy also includes significant investments in other tech sectors, such as a $1 billion commitment to domestic solar panel manufacturing and $1.5 billion to establish critical minerals projects.

With this substantial backing from the Australian government, PsiQuantum joins the large companies seeking to overcome the challenges of creating practical quantum computing devices, including Google, IBM, Microsoft and Quantinuum.

As reported by AFR, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese emphasized the importance of this investment for Australia’s tech industry, saying, “We need to make bold investments today if we want to see a Future Made in Australia.” He added that it’s expected that the funds will create up to 400 highly skilled jobs directly, a boost to the Australian tech sector.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles also noted the broader economic impact of the investment, telling AFR: “Quantum will bring billions in economic opportunity to Queensland, which will deliver thousands of high-paying tech jobs and the chance for Queenslanders to work in careers that will change the world.”

PsiQuantum’s technology is based on photonics, which means its quantum systems do not need to be kept as cold as other systems. However, that’s not to say they can operate in room temperatures.

PsiQuantum’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Jeremy O’Brien, reiterated the company’s goal of building an “error-corrected” quantum computer by 2029, reaffirming in AFR this timeline “absolutely.”

This development is part of a larger trend of state-supported technological advancements in Australia, according to the financial news journal, further demonstrated by the government’s past investment in Silicon Quantum Computing, led by former Australian of the Year Michelle Simmons.

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