Quantum engineers: Specialists for a future market

Applications of quantum physics will require appropriately trained specialists in the future, and the FH Technikum Wien is already taking the first steps in this area. On September 30, a discussion panel at the Start Me Up Breakfast will be dedicated to this topic.

Quantum technologies are currently making the decisive leap from basic research to market maturity. In the coming years, numerous applications of quantum physics will come onto the market. Installation, maintenance and operation of these devices will require trained professionals. A number of initiatives are therefore preparing to train quantum engineers. Also at the FH Technikum Wien, the Department of Applied Mathematics and Physics has already started to build up competences in this field.

On September 30, a high-level discussion panel at the UAS will address questions of application possibilities and job prospects in this field. The Start Me Up Breakfast will be opened by UAS Technikum Wien Rector Sylvia Geyer, and moderated by Department Head Gerd Christian Krizek, and Magdalena Hauser, CEO at Parity Quantum Computing, Wolfgang Lechner, Professor at the Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck, Beatrix Hiesmayr from the University of Vienna and Lukas Mairhofer, Lecturer and Researcher at the FHTW will discuss this highly topical issue. 

Foto: Borkin Vadim/Shutterstock.com


Technological revolution

With the market maturity of quantum technology applications, a technological revolution is on the horizon. Quantum computers solve certain problems, such as cracking encryption, exponentially faster than binary computers. Quantum cryptography enables tap-proof communications, and quantum-based sensors are orders of magnitude superior to the resolution of classical sensors.

Hardware manufacturer D-Wave developed a commercially available quantum computer back in 2011. Numerous companies such as IBM, Google, Alibaba and Amazon are working on even much more powerful systems. Austria is also among the international leaders in this field. For example, the Innsbruck research group led by Rainer Blatt recently presented the prototype of an industrially producible quantum computer. In the field of cryptography, China has successfully demonstrated the exchange of quantum keys over distances of thousands of kilometers between the Chinese city of Hebei and the Austrian city of Graz with the "MICIUS" satellite. And changing the behavior of a Bose-Einstein condensate now makes it possible to detect oil fields just by flying over an area. If the 20th century was the era of electronics, the 21st century will be decisively shaped by quantum technologies.

International initiatives

To encourage the development of market-ready applications, the EU's European Research Council launched a Flagship Initiative in 2018. Under this initiative, funding of one billion euros will be available over a ten-year period. In spring 2021, the German government announced plans to fund the development of quantum computers with two billion euros, to be paid out over four years. It is foreseeable that the French government will follow suit. This will provide impetus for further research funding at the European level. For example, the Austrian Research Promotion Fund FWF has just launched the "Quantum Austria" funding initiative with over 100 million euros.

QIC: UAS Technikum Wien is a founding member

The Quantum Industry Consortium (QIC) is a European alliance of industrial users of quantum technologies with educational and research institutions. It was founded in spring 2021 and now comprises 130 members. These include aircraft manufacturers, railroad companies, banks, as well as educational institutions and numerous SMEs from the field of quantum technologies. An important goal of the consortium is to initiate pilot projects. These projects will subsequently be exclusively entitled to apply for funding under the European Quantum Flagship initiative. At the same time, the QIC provides a platform for networking. Represented by the Department Applied Mathematics and Physics, the FH Technikum Wien is one of the founding members of the QIC and is particularly involved in the working group "Education".

The department is also expanding its involvement in this area within the UAS. For example, the UAS experts have an experiment on the BB84 protocol for quantum cryptography and a simulation of quantum phase space computing. The department regularly offers a lecture on the fundamentals of quantum information and supervises project and final theses on quantum cryptography. The goal is to be prepared for the education of quantum engineers at the FH Technikum Wien - because: The future is not canceled.

Info and registration for the Start Me Up-Breakfast here.