The University of Pittsburgh’s Strategic Advancement Fund has approved an $11.6 million loan to establish the Western Pennsylvania Quantum Information Core (WPQIC). The cross-disciplinary, multi-institution effort aims to position the university and its partners at the forefront of quantum technology. The WPQIC will provide state-of-the-art instrumentation and staff support for quantum research, benefiting students, researchers, and faculty. Mayor Ed Gainey backs the initiative and aligns with the university’s strategic plan to invest in cutting-edge technology and develop a quantum-ready workforce.
Western Pennsylvania, Quantum Information Core, Receives $11.6 Million Loan.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Strategic Advancement Fund has approved its first loan of $11.6 million to support establishing the Western Pennsylvania Quantum Information Core (WPQIC). This cross-disciplinary, multi-institution effort aims to position the University and its partners at the forefront of the quantum technology field. The WPQIC will provide state-of-the-art instrumentation and additional staff to support faculty. This will allow the University to continue growing its program offerings in various areas of quantum information science and engineering (QUISE).
Pittsburgh Quantum Institute Collaboration
Over a decade ago, the University of Pittsburgh established the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute, a collaboration among Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duquesne University faculty. Last year, the institute established its first agreements with industry partners to facilitate commercialization. The WPQIC will enable the entire region to level up to a more comprehensive and integrated platform for quantum experimentation across a range of fundamental physics and emerging applications, according to Rob A. Rutenbar, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for research.
Quantum Education and Research Hub
The University of Pittsburgh is at the leading edge of quantum education, offering one of the first undergraduate degrees in the field. The WPQIC will serve as a hub where students, researchers, and industry partners come together to forge the underpinnings of a stronger QUISE discipline. The core is a natural progression for the University, which has been dedicated to cutting-edge quantum information science and engineering research, said Rob Cunningham, vice chancellor for research infrastructure.
Specialized Equipment for Quantum Research
To continue leading in quantum research, the WPQIC will require specialized equipment such as correlated photon counters, machines that allow work to be done in a vacuum, and refrigerators that can maintain temperatures just above absolute zero. Michael Hatridge, a physics professor and the inaugural director of the WPQIC, said that the core’s job is to make the challenging techniques involved in building quantum hardware merely “super tough” by bringing together modern instruments to make significant strides in quantum research.
Collaborative Research and Regional Growth
The WPQIC will invest in existing facilities in the departments of chemistry and physics, the Swanson School of Engineering, and the School of Computing and Information. A new central facility will enable even more collaborative research. The WPQIC embodies the University’s purpose as outlined in its strategic initiative, the Plan for Pitt, by providing the best opportunities for students and staff while bringing to the region an industry that will continue to grow. As more projects are supported, the University and the region will continue to grow, benefiting everyone in the area.