NSW Scientist of the Year makes breakthrough in race to develop quantum computer

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

A team of world-leading Sydney scientists has made a major breakthrough in the race to develop the first quantum computer that will perform tasks a billion times faster than computers today.

The team, led by 2011 NSW Scientist of the Year Professor Michelle Simmons, has built the world’s smallest transistor by precisely positioning a single phosphorus atom in a silicon crystal.

The accurate assembly of this device marks a significant breakthrough in the development of quantum computers, as it has only been previously achieved by chance.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner congratulated Professor Simmons and her team on their success.

“Professor Simmons and her team at the University of New South Wales are international leaders in their field and I congratulate them on their remarkable work,” he said.

“Quantum computers will be able to solve our biggest problems much faster than even the fastest computers operating today.

“This work represents major technological challenges and opens the door to powerful new forms of computing that promises to transform industries dependent upon information processing.

“Professor Simmons’s scientific vision and exceptional dedication to her field was recognised by the NSW Government last year when she was named the 2011 NSW Scientist of the Year, the state’s most prestigious science prize.

“Professor Simmons and her team exemplify the high calibre of scientists and engineers working at universities and research organisations across NSW.”

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