Quantum computing is the future of technology, and Singapore is committed to participating in the adventure as innovation in the quantum computing sector develops.
Kwek Leong Chuan, Lai Choy Heng, Oh Choo Hiap, and Kuldip Singh pioneered quantum research in Singapore in 1998 as a series of informal lectures at the National University of Singapore. These lectures resulted in the founding of the Quantum Information Technology Group, also known as quantum lah.
Since then, the Singaporean government has continued to add new measures to improve talent development and give greater access to technology. Let’s look at the progress of quantum computing in Singapore so far, what their research groups have achieved and how the government plays a role in the development of the technology in the region.
National Quantum Computing Hub
The National Quantum Computing Hub is a collaboration between the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT), the Institute of High-Performance Computing (IHPC) at the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR), and the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore.
The Hub, established in 2022, provides users access to commercial cloud quantum computing and local supercomputers. In due time, the Hub will offer a quantum emulator running on local infrastructure. Their ultimate goal is to build a quantum computer in Singapore.
Since a software stack is necessary for converting high-level code to physical operations on qubits, the Hub is participating in the joint project led by Chief Researcher Prof José Ignacio Latorre to develop Qibo for use as a simulator and on quantum backends.
Qibo is an end-to-end open-source platform for quantum simulation. Qibo is intended to enable quantum algorithms on various computer systems, including hardware accelerators such as graphics processing units (GPUs) and numerous quantum devices.
Centre For Quantum Technologies
The Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) is a Singapore Research Centre of Excellence (RCE) hosted at the National University of Singapore. It brings together physicists and engineers to research quantum physics and develop quantum-based technology.
The CQT was established in 2007 following the efforts of the National Research Foundation of Singapore and the Ministry of Education.
CQT research focuses on quantum communication and security, quantum computation and simulation, and quantum sensing and metrology. The Centre’s researchers create unique methods for studying and controlling the interactions between light, matter, and information.
They also develop secure communication, quantum computing, and precision measurement technology to push the limits of what is achievable. At CQT, students ranging from undergraduates to postdoctoral fellows are trained in quantum technology.
National Quantum Safe-Network
The National Quantum-Safe Network (NQSN) was formed by Singapore’s Quantum Engineering Programme, which aims to create a nationwide platform and field-deployed testbed for the systematic development of quantum-safe communication technologies.
The goal of the network is to deploy commercial quantum-safe technologies for trials with government agencies and private firms, as well as to perform in-depth evaluations of security systems and establish recommendations to assist companies in implementing such technology.
They create a vendor-neutral ecosystem for end-users and stakeholders to showcase the integration of quantum-safe applications and give a platform for technological research.
In conjunction with the investigation of Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC), NQSN will serve as a quantum-safe network for potential end-users to experience and understand these quantum-safe communication solutions firsthand.
Their goal is to accelerate the development of a local quantum internet and quantum-safe communication services in Singapore and worldwide. NQSN nodes will provide an open channel for organizations to experiment with quantum-safe communication technologies and specialized user applications.
They’ll also establish a Quantum Security Lab to conduct advanced quantum security vulnerability research and provide workshops to raise knowledge of the available quantum communications technologies.
National Quantum Fabless Foundry
The National Quantum Fabless Foundry (NQFF) supports the quantum research community in Singapore by producing quantum devices that need micro and nano fabrications. The National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore funds the research foundry via the Quantum Engineering Programme.
The foundry serves as a link between the local and global industries. It provides an effective platform for academic research and industrial production pathways development. In a nutshell, the NQFF’s goals are as follows:
- To aid quantum technology research by delivering dependable and reproducible micro-fabricated quantum components/devices depending on the researchers’ specifications.
- To aid firms who manufacture quantum components/devices and establish new product lines to create a quantum technology-based economy.
- To create a strong ecosystem of key quantum components and devices.
Quantum Startups In Singapore
The Singapore government has invested heavily in R&D, and the country now has one of the most active startup ecosystems in the world. Here are the spin offs and startups sprouting up from Singapore.
S-Fifteen Instruments is a startup that spun off CQT. They provide quantum control equipment and hardware devices for quantum-safe solutions to clients that demand confidence and transparency for their cryptographic needs.
One of their products is the QRNG1, a fast, compact physical random number generator based on quantum noise in a photodetection process. After implementing their proprietary hashing function, the device generates up to 480Mbits of random bits every second.
SpeQtral is also a spin-off from CQT. It develops space-based quantum communication systems based on sophisticated CQT technology.
SpeQtral’s team had a successful on-orbit demonstration of a quantum light source on a Cubesat in the past.
Atomionics is a VC-backed startup building quantum sensing devices based on atom interferometry for navigation and exploration. Its goal is to provide the most dependable and precise navigation system that can be used everywhere, including underwater, underground, and other GPS-denied regions.
Entropica Labs is a startup of Singapore’s Centre for Quantum Technologies, founded in 2018. The company uses quantum computing to address the most complex optimization challenges that companies face.
Entropica works with major quantum cloud providers, including AWS, Rigetti, IonQ, Honeywell, Microsoft, and IBM, to enhance the technology and investigate novel applications for quantum processing. Entropica’s current focus is on developing quantum optimization tools, algorithms, and software.
Horizon Quantum Computing
Horizon Quantum Computing, a quantum computing company, founded in 2018 by Dr. Joe Fitzsimons, is creating a new generation of programming tools to make developing software for quantum computers easier and faster.
Horizon Computing democratizes quantum computing applications for companies by reducing the requirement for software developers to understand quantum algorithms. They are developing a compiler that generates quantum algorithms automatically from conventional code.
Their technique will allow programs written in a single unified language to be built and run on conventional or quantum computers, generating fast, efficient implementations regardless of platform.
Horizon’s tools will democratize the building of quantum-enhanced applications by eliminating the requirement for prior quantum computing skills, making the potential of quantum computing accessible to every software developer.
Quantum computing is definitely happening. The most immediate application for it is in secure communications, which is unfortunate given how few people understand quantum computing and its benefits.
As Singaporean startups continue to gain traction and prove themselves within the global market, we’re likely to see a much higher number of similar startups in the coming years.