The Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) was thrilled to bring back the InnovationXLab series with an online event hosted by Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and in collaboration with the Office of Science on October 7-8, 2020, focusing on one of the world’s most important emergent technology areas: Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST).
By expanding our capabilities in computing, sensing, networking, and security, QIST has the potential to transform numerous market sectors, from finance, pharmaceuticals, and precision medicine, to global communications, navigation, transport, and more. The Department of Energy (DOE) is making significant investments in quantum technology development to ensure the United States stays at the forefront of this rapidly evolving area of research. To guarantee success, DOE seeks to facilitate public-private partnerships that will support ongoing research, as well as the commercialization and market adoption of quantum technologies via thoughtful approaches and minimizing unintended negative consequences—an overarching goal of the InnovationXLab QIST Summit.
Thanks to the great team at BNL, the summit was set on an innovative virtual platform. With over 1,300 registrants, this was the largest InnovationXLab Summit so far, centered on a roster of compelling speakers, unique programming, and strong networking opportunities.
Attendees had the chance to visit over 30 virtual expo booths, including 15 of DOE’s National Labs. Here, visitors connected with booth representatives, explored quantum-related content and programs, and exchanged ideas.
In addition to the virtual booth showcase, Brookhaven and OTT organized a full line-up of keynotes, speakers, and panelists to address visitors throughout the two-day event. Conner Prochaska, Director of OTT and DOE’s Chief Commercialization Officer, served as the event emcee and provided regular insights throughout the summit.
To kick off the event, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette provided the opening keynote, underscoring the importance of quantum leadership in the United States, and the significance of connecting the public and private sectors to advance this field. Achieving U.S. quantum dominance, he noted, “will only happen if we can simultaneously advance the science and move new technologies to market. This is where the public private partnership model will be key. It will increase the exchange of big ideas. It will facilitate the licensing of DOE lab patents, and it will expand the number of startup quantum companies. And the good news for our economy is that this will mean new well-paying jobs.”
DOE’s Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar echoed this sentiment with praise for this growing field. “I appreciate the leaders in this [quantum] world that are participating in this conference to talk about how we can collaborate more, and certainly the American taxpayer dollars going into the National Lab system to try and help build a community, help build a workforce, and hopefully develop technologies that can help the private sector deploy and drive this industry.”
In addition, IBM Director of Research Dario Gil shared a series of reflections around the opportunity of creating a new quantum industry, and provided insightful guidance to understanding the origins and pathways to quantum research today.
Participants joined for a variety of diverse panels and to hear from quantum experts offering fresh perspectives on this rapidly evolving technology. Topics covered included quantum infrastructure, workforce development, the U.S. quantum economy, and more.
OTT’s Commercialization Executive, Rima Oueid, moderated the panel on “Considerations for Building the Quantum Economy” to highlight how QIST can be thoughtfully applied to transform key industries. “We know the basic science works. Now we are moving into the engineering phase of QIST to figure out precisely how it will fit into our society. This will require a vision of not only potential benefits but also how to minimize unintended negative consequences.“ All panels from the summit are available on demand here.
Overall, the InnovationXLab QIST Summit proved be an informative, engaging event, creating a space where minds across the country could come together to share ideas and foster relationships. QIST will serve as a vital component of the United States’ overall technological strength, and the Department of Energy is determined to lead the way with the support of America’s private-sector innovators.
As a prelude to the event, BNL and OTT hosted the Quantum InnovationXLab Virtual Series, exploring different sectors in which quantum technologies could have a major impact. The webinars for this series can be found here.
Be sure to download OTT's latest Technology Spotlight, showcasing DOE's work in QIST across the lab complex here.
Many thanks to our hosts, Brookhaven National Laboratory, for working with OTT to organize this incredible event and for overcoming the daunting challenges of an all-virtual conference. We also owe a special thanks to our keynotes, speakers, panelists and participants for making this event so successful.