CQT is ten years old and still going strong. Well-wishers who gathered for our tenth anniversary offered both compliments and advice. “Wah, from zero to hero, lah” commented an old friend after visiting our labs. Ten years ago, he saw just empty rooms and dusty floors. “Don’t stop, even at the top”, quipped another high-ranking friend.
I was not sure how to interpret this aspirational suggestion, so I just smiled and mumbled. After all, where is the top? The field of quantum technologies has expanded so much that no single institution can embrace the whole range of activities under this label. This said, we do have our niche. In 2017, like in years before, we've amassed quality publications and ingenious devices, so ticking all the boxes in our performance reviews. But there is more to our mission than just dry bibliometrics. This annual report offers a glimpse of the fascinating work behind the numbers.
To start with, we've built a vibrant research community (pp.20–21). We attract talented folk from all over the world to spend hours trapping ions or gazing at whiteboards covered with equations. Truth be told, we do more than welcome quantum nerds, we nurture them. Our popular Generation Q Camp for pre-university students (pp.50 – 53) is designed to educate and inspire young minds. Our PhD and internship programmes draw some of the brightest students. And when they leave CQT with their hard-earned degrees, they do all kinds of interesting things, quantum and classical (pp.58–59).
Last year saw the usual buzz of experimental and theoretical activities. We welcomed Huanqian Loh and Travis Nicholson, our two new Principal Investigators (pp.40–41), and Charles Lim, a new CQT Fellow. Alexander Ling’s group has been working hard on their new experimental marvel called SpooQySat (pp.45–49). Dimitris Angelakis’ team paired with researchers at Google to work on quantum simulations (pp.32–35). Our study of the potential impact of quantum technology on Bitcoin made the news (pp.36–39) and our proposal for a quantumsafe standard for cryptography was accepted into a competition launched by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. And we have not neglected basic research; Goh Koon Tong, a PhD student in Valerio Scarani's group, gives a nice review of work on quantum self-testing (pp. 42–44). This is just a small sample of what we're working on.
Even though still viewed as basic research, quantum technology is too important to be ignored by industry. Through interactions with research organisations, government and industry, we hope to create new intellectual property and new markets (pp.54–57). We also pay attention to explaining our research to the public at large (pp.74–75).
Thus, so far so good. How about the future? We have to both consolidate and innovate. Mr Quek Gim Pew, who became Chair of CQT’s Governing Board in 2016, shares some of his thoughts on these issues in an interview (pp.15–17). Given his knowledge and experience, he is in a unique position to offer guidance from which we hope to benefit in years to come.
Last but not least, let me thank everyone who contributed to this report. I do hope you will find it both interesting and informative.
Artur Ekert was CQT's founding Director, leading the Centre from December 2007 to July 2020. He was also the Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore and the Professor of Quantum Physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK. He is one of the pioneers of quantum cryptography. He has worked, communicated with and advised several companies and government agencies.
His current research extends over most aspects of information processing in quantum-mechanical systems. He is a recipient of several awards, including the 1995 Maxwell Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics and the 2007 Royal Society Hughes Medal. In his non-academic life he is an avid scuba diver.