Nusantara Quantum Tech Academy at Quantum Tech Summit 2023

[Erick Hadi] Nusantara Academy is created with the vision to address the utilization of disruptive technologies and creating competent digital talents in operating/managing advanced systems for different industry applications to support Indonesia’s digital economy agenda.

As we speak, better quantum systems are being developed every year and it is my conviction that it is very important to bring people along on the journey. We cannot just say,  “One day we will have a magical technology that does all these things for us.”; we need to come together and work through it together.

My experience told me that in every technological advancement, what we are looking at is not only the technological roadmap, but also an ecosystem approach. Creating ecosystems will answer the two basic questions:

1.How do you get the right talent?

2.How do you educate the right people to move into the field?

By making the effort to adopt quantum technology, Nusantara Academy would be making its contribution in innovation and advance technology education, enabling more Indonesian talents to attain better future jobs in the digital sector.

[Erick Hadi] Quantum technology is no different than any other field but has a “scary reputation” because the word “quantum” often equates to esoteric complexity. So, any time anyone mentions quantum, the first thought that comes to mind is that it’s complicated or difficult. The truth is: Getting into quantum computing is just as difficult as entering into any other technical field.

So, if you ever decide to try your hand at quantum computing, do it with the same mindset you do any other field. All fields have its own challenges and a steep learning curve. Most importantly, unleashing your curiosity is key. If you’re curious about getting into quantum technology, you will get there. 

On the other side, learners should focus on building a strong foundation in math, physics, and computer science.

Accordion Content

[Erick Hadi] I believe in industrial hands-on experience that shall help learners to develop any competency faster than just going to the classroom alone. Collaborations between Nusantara Academy with any commercial entity to design courses that incorporate both will be the key differentiator.

There are also some open-source software development kits for quantum software (e.g. Qiskit and Phyton) which could be developed into a structured curriculum program in our academy to support and supplement the development of quantum technologies available in the Asia Pacific markets.

[Erick Hadi] The jobs available will include many specialized quantum roles, such as error correction scientists and quantum algorithm developers. However, non-quantum roles with a science background will also be needed, such as test and measurement engineers, data scientists, cryogenics scientists and circuit designers. So don’t be put off from the quantum sector if you don’t have a masters or PhD in quantum physics: there’s a lot more on offer.

As the industry moves from R&D into commercial products, we shall see more job openings at the bachelor’s level, which includes algorithm development, electronics, and software development. Hands-on skills are vital too, including laboratory and experimental experience, as well as knowing how to program and an ability to work in interdisciplinary teams.

[Erick Hadi] Not long ago, if you wanted to work on quantum technologies, you would probably have had to go into academic research. But that is no longer the only option. There’s still an important role for fundamental research in academia, however we’ve seen many spin-off companies are entering the market.

As quantum-tech companies progress towards practical, commercial products that make a return on investment, the number of people working in industry in the sector will grow to outnumber academic researchers.

Just like in any of the academy that we have now, developing the required skills are done through gaining practical experience via an internship or on-the-job training in different quantum stakeholders. This will be one of the ways that Nusantara Academy would be able to come into the picture.

[Erick Hadi] In the U.S alone, the government has committed more than $1 billion in quantum computing from the year 2021-2025. There are two main reasons quantum computing takes a big attention: its capability to handle big data and security. International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasted that the big data and business analytics software and service spaces grew to almost $275 billion by 2022, but no computer today — not even cloud-based data centres — can compute the data volumes at that scale with any degree of speed. Major firms like Google, Honeywell, IBM are investing heavily in quantum technology.

India on the other hand has already laid out plans to invest $1bn from 2022-2026 to advance its capabilities in quantum technology.

Even China has made quantum computing a cornerstone of its last five-year technology plan, and it has been the first to hit key quantum milestones such as a quantum science communications satellite and a quantum-based network that connects Shanghai and Beijing, enabling secure “un-hackable” communications between the two centres. Other countries, notably Japan and South Korea, are also ahead of the American efforts.

I recently saw a McKinsey study (June 2022) that raises the big concern about quantum technology talent gap, showing industry interest remains strong and talent shortages require attention.

See here for the study:

https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/quantum-computing-funding-remains-strong-but-talent-gap-raises-concern

Reflecting from the study above, I would say this technology is eventually going to come.

To ensure organizations have access to the quantum computing talent they need when they need it, leaders will have to upskill workers and create pathways for new talent, just as they did for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This is where Nusantara Academy would like to strategically play its role. When AI emerged from its long winter and sprung onto business agendas in the 2010s, a scarcity of data science talent put considerable constraints on how and where business leaders could apply the technology. While AI talent challenges remain, strides have been made and many lessons have been learned that can be applied to tech talent strategies overall.

Getting back to the question, I will be speaking at the keynote panel regarding the current and future quantum landscapes in key APAC markets with quantum experts from Australia, India, South Korea, and Singapore. I hope to gain new insights as well as new networks in the commercialization of this technology in APAC and how Nusantara would be able to help these industries in preparing the required talent to support their product and services in the future.

[Erick Hadi] The progress being made in quantum technology in Asia Pacific markets is very promising, particularly in the areas of quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum sensing. The governments of many countries in the region, including Singapore, India, China, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, have invested heavily in quantum research, and several companies in the region are actively developing quantum technologies.

One of the most exciting aspects of quantum technology is its potential to revolutionize computing. Quantum computers have the potential to perform certain calculations much faster than classical computers, which could have significant implications for fields such as cryptography, drug discovery, and materials science.

However, there are significant challenges to realizing the full potential of quantum technology. One of the biggest challenges is developing robust and scalable hardware. Quantum systems are extremely sensitive to their environment and require precise control to maintain stability and reliability over time. Another challenge is developing software and algorithms that can take advantage of quantum computing’s unique properties. There is also a need for better standards and protocols to enable interoperability between different quantum systems.

Overall, there is a great deal of excitement and potential in the field of quantum technology in the Asia Pacific region, but overcoming these challenges will be crucial for realizing its full potential.

[Erick Hadi] In the keynote panel, I will be sharing the stage with the following experts in quantum technology development and commercialization.

  1. Reena Dayal (Chairperson of the Board and CEO, Quantum Ecosystem & Technology Council of India)
  2. Michael Biercuk (CEO and Founder, Q-CTRL – Quantum Infrastructure Software for Quantum Computing and Quantum Sensing)
  3. Dimitris G. Angelakis (Principal Investigator, Centre for Quantum Technologies, NUS Singapore)
  4. Jing Yi Chan (Head of Operations & Business, Entropica Labs – Software Tools for Designing, Constructing, and Deployment of Large Scale Quantum Algorithms)
  5. Dong Hi Shim (Team Leader of Innovation Business Office, SK Telecom South Korea – Quantum Security Standards and Quantum Related Networks)

[Erick Hadi] I am planned to moderate a session with Peter Morrison (Senior Digital Science Associate, Technology Researcher, Incubation Lead from British Petroleum).

It is an interesting topic to study further that the emerging technology of quantum computing could revolutionize the most pressing issues that we have in various energy sector, including the fight against climate change. Let me explain further.

Climate change

Meeting the goal of net-zero emissions that countries and some industries have committed to won’t be possible without huge advances in climate technology that aren’t achievable today. Even the most powerful supercomputers available now are not able to solve some of these problems. Quantum computing could be a game changer in those areas. In all, we think quantum computing could help develop climate technologies able to abate carbon on the order of 7 gigatons a year of additional CO2 impact by 2035, with the potential to bring the world in line with the 1.5°C target.

Quantum computing could help reduce emissions in some of the most challenging or emissions-intensive areas, such as agriculture or direct-air capture, and could accelerate improvements in technologies required at great scale, such as solar panels or batteries. This article offers a look at some of the breakthroughs the technology could permit and attempts to quantify the impact of leveraging quantum-computer technology that are expected become available this decade.

Quantum computing could bring about step changes throughout the economy that would have a huge impact on carbon abatement and carbon removal, including by helping to solve persistent sustainability problems such as curbing methane produced by agriculture, making the production of cement emissions-free, improving electric batteries for vehicles, developing significantly better renewable solar technology, finding a faster way to bring down the cost of hydrogen to make it a viable alternative to fossil fuels, and using green ammonia as a fuel and a fertilizer.

Energy savings in manufacturing processes and buildings

Consider that quantum computing can be used in production to improve catalyst designs. New and improved catalysts, for example, could enable energy savings on existing production processes—a single catalyst can produce up to 15 percent in efficiency gains—and innovative catalysts may enable the replacement of petrochemicals by more sustainable feedstock or the breakdown of carbon for CO2 usage. In the context of the chemicals industry, which spends $800 billion on production every year (half of which relies on catalysis), a realistic 5 to 10 percent efficiency gain would mean a gain of $20 billion to $40 billion in value. On another front, quantum sensing is also applicable to the creation of sustainable energy. Energy consumption can be tracked and optimized when quantum sensing is integrated into smart buildings.

Batteries

Batteries are a critical element of achieving zero-carbon electrification. They are required to reduce CO2 emissions from transportation and to obtain grid-scale energy storage for intermittent energy sources such as solar cells or wind.

Improving the energy density of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries enables applications in electric vehicles and energy storage at an affordable cost. Over the past ten years, however, innovation has stalled—battery energy density improved 50 percent between 2011 and 2016, but only 25 percent between 2016 and 2020, and is expected to improve by just 17 percent between 2020 and 2025.

Recent research has shown that quantum computing will be able to simulate the chemistry of batteries in ways that can’t be achieved now. Quantum computing could allow breakthroughs by providing a better understanding of electrolyte complex formation, by helping to find a replacement material for cathode/anode with the same properties and/or by eliminating the battery separator.

As a result, we could create batteries with 50 percent higher energy density for use in heavy-goods electric vehicles, which could substantially bring forward their economic use. The carbon benefits to passenger EVs wouldn’t be huge, as these vehicles are expected to reach cost parity in many countries before the first generation of quantum computers is online, but consumers might still enjoy cost savings.

Solar cells

Solar cells will be one of the key electricity-generation sources in a net-zero economy. But even though they are getting cheaper, they still are far from their theoretical maximum efficiency.  

Today’s solar cells rely on crystalline silicon and have an efficiency on the order of 20 percent. Solar cells based on perovskite crystal structures, which have a theoretical efficiency of up to 40 percent, could be a better alternative. They present challenges, however, because they lack long-term stability and could, in some varieties, be more toxic. Furthermore, the technology has not been mass produced yet.

Quantum computing could help tackle these challenges by allowing for precise simulation of perovskite structures in all combinations using different base atoms and doping, thereby identifying higher efficiency, higher durability, and nontoxic solutions. If the theoretical efficiency increase can be reached, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) would decrease by 50 percent.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is widely considered to be a viable replacement for fossil fuels in many parts of the economy, especially in industry where high temperature is needed and electrification isn’t possible or sufficient, or where hydrogen is needed as a feedstock, such as steelmaking or ethylene production. Before the 2022 gas price spikes, green hydrogen was about 60 percent more expensive than natural gas. But improving electrolysis could significantly decrease the cost of hydrogen.

Quantum computing can help model the energy state of pulse electrolysis to optimize catalyst usage, which would increase efficiency. Quantum computing could also model the chemical composition of catalysts and membranes to ensure the most efficient interactions. And it could push the efficiency of the electrolysis process up to 100 percent and reduce the cost of hydrogen by 35 percent. If combined with cheaper solar cells discovered by quantum computing (discussed above), the cost of hydrogen could be reduced by 60 percent.

[Erick Hadi] There are several pressing questions and issues in quantum technology, such as:

  1. Scalability: Can quantum computers be scaled to solve complex problems?
  2. Quantum error correction: Can we build fault-tolerant quantum systems?
  3. Quantum communication: Can we develop a secure quantum communication network?
  4. Quantum supremacy: Can we achieve quantum supremacy, and what does it mean for the field?
  5. Quantum materials: What novel materials can be developed for quantum technologies?
  6. Quantum simulation: How can we use quantum computing to simulate complex physical systems?
  7. Quantum control: How can we control and manipulate quantum systems?
  8. Quantum cryptography: Can we develop unbreakable encryption using quantum key distribution?
  9. Quantum metrology: Can we use quantum technologies to improve precision measurements?
  10. Quantum machine learning: Can we develop new algorithms to capitalize on the unique advantages of quantum computing?

[Erick Hadi] As with other industry gathering events, by attending Quantum Tech Summit APAC 2023 conference and workshops, we stay up-to-date on the latest developments in quantum technology, network with other professionals in the quantum technology industry, joining quantum technology groups and organizations, and seeking out potential future ecosystem partners.

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