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Ceremonial opening of International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies
The ceremonial opening of the International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies (ICTQT) took place on 16 November 2018 at the University of Gdańsk. It should be remembered that world-class scientists, Prof. Marek Żukowski and Prof. Paweł Horodecki, received 35 million zloty to create this research unit as part of the International Research Agendas (IRA) programme, implemented by the Foundation for Polish Science. In the newly created centre scientists will conduct research into the fundamental issues of quantum physics, quantum communication and information and quantum technologies. The centre’s activity will be particularly focused on the development of new technologies, with a stress on cybersecurity and new computational techniques. The strategic partner is the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information), one of the best research centres in this field in the world. This is the University of Gdańsk’s second large grant as part of the International Research Agendas (IRA) programme.
International Research Agendas is a special programme of the Foundation for Polish Science, focused on creating innovative centres of excellence in Poland, in which researchers from all over the world are able to conduct high quality scientific research concerning the greatest current scientific challenges. As part of the latest edition of the programme, three projects received funding in January this year. The University of Gdańsk received 35 million PLN to create the International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies (ICTQT), headed by Prof. Marek Żukowski from the University of Gdańsk.
In the newly established centre scientists will be able to conduct research into the fundamental issues of quantum physics, quantum communication and information and quantum technologies. Its activity will be particularly focused on the development of new technologies, with stress on cybersecurity and new computational techniques. This research will provide the foundations for such future key branches of information technology as the security and development of quantum internet, quantum computers or quantum networks as well as the development of quantum simulations. Quantum codes are absolutely secure and breaking them would involve breaking the laws of nature.
The ceremony was opened and hosted by Prof. Marek Żukowski, head of the International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies, who subsequently gave the floor to Prof. Krzysztof Bielawski, UG’s Vice-Rector for Development and Economic Cooperation, and to Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdańsk. The ceremony was also attended by a representative of the funder (Foundation for Polish Science) and the project’s strategic partner (IQOQI-Vienna), representatives of other practical and theoretical quantum physics units from Poland and abroad and representatives of industry. The invited guest speakers included Prof. Caslav Brukner from the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Harald Weinfurter from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Prof. Mohamed Bourennane from Stockholm University, involved in the cooperation with Professors Marek Żukowski and Paweł Horodecki’s research groups. Other speakers included Prof. Mark Hillery from Hunter College of the City University of New York, Prof. Klaus Mølmer (Aarhus University) and Prof. Robert Koenig (Technische Universität München) presenting the latest scientific achievements in the field of quantum physics and quantum informatics. Two days earlier, lectures by Prof. Gerd Leuchs, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Light in Erlangen, and Prof. Bob Coecke (University of Oxford), were held as part of an ICTQT mini-symposium.
Of all the speakers, Prof. Harald Weinfurter has the longest links with the UG, having begun his academic cooperation with Prof. Marek Żukowski in 1991, when they were both at the University of Innsbruck at the initiative of Prof. Anton Zeilinger. Professors Weinfurter and Żukowski have received the Polish-German Copernicus Award for their fruitful cooperation spanning a period of over 20 years (FNP/DFG, 2014). The latest great achievement for Prof. Weinfurter’s experimental group is one of the first experiments without interpretation gaps testing the Einstein-Podolski-Rosen correlations in the version proposed by John Bell. These correlations have absolutely no explanation in classical physics but find application, amongst others, in quantum cryptography. Weinfurter’s experiment employed a quantum optical technique of so-called exchange of quantum entanglement, jointly devised by the three aforementioned scientists and their colleagues (1993-1995). During his lecture Prof. Weinfurter presented the results of this experiment.
“The issues of quantum physics, including quantum technologies, are among the greatest contemporary scientific challenges. New technologies are not only the focus of attention from scientists but also governments and large corporations. This year will see the launch of the European Quantum Technologies Flagship, a European programme for supporting research of this kind, with a budget of 1 billion euros. The International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies at the University of Gdańsk forms part of the approaching second quantum revolution”, said Prof. Marek Żukowski.
Prof. Marek Żukowski from the University of Gdańsk is the head of the International Centre for Theory of Quantum Technologies and of one of the research groups. He is an expert on quantum mechanics and quantum interferometry and the author of over 150 scientific papers published in world’s leading journals such as Nature or Physical Review Letters. Prof. Paweł Horodecki is the leader of a scientific group at the ICTQT and also the author of over 150 articles on the quantum theory of information and the basics of quantum mechanics, cited over 14,000 times.
The newly created centre will ultimately comprise 6 research groups and provide employment to over 30 people. The posts of remaining leaders and members of research groups will be taken by researchers selected by means of fully transparent international competitions. From the university’s point of view, it is important that the doctoral and undergraduate students of the University of Gdańsk will have scientific contact with the groups and in this way the opportunity to learn from the best specialists in the field. It should be added that the world-famous Gdańsk school of quantum informatics was born at the University of Gdańsk.
The foreign strategic partner is the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Inforation of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IQOQI-Vienna), one of world’s best centres in this field. However, as part of its activity, the Centre is also planning to undertake cooperation with other scientific centres and industrial partners conducting experimental research, amongst others in order to implement the results of its work. One such centre will be the Centre for Quantum Optical Technologies, which will be established at the University of Warsaw also as part of the latest edition of the International Research Agendas programme by the Foundation for Polish Science.
The University of Gdańsk’s second IRA grant
For the second time the University of Gdańsk has received a very large grant as part of the International Research Agendas (IRA) programme. Last year two world-class scientists, Prof. Ted Hupp and Prof. Robin Fahraeus, received 41 million zloty to create the International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science at the University of Gdańsk. The research into a cancer vaccine and new medication for neurodegenerative diseases and cancers are challenges to be undertaken by the two international research centres which will emerge in Poland thanks to funds to a total value of over 76 million zloty awarded by the Foundation for Polish Science as part of the International Research Agendas (IRA) programme. The International Centre for Cancer Vaccine Science will be created at the University of Gdańsk and the ReMedy research centre at the University of Warsaw. More information is available on the UG website.
In addition, another IRA, from this year’s edition, is to be implemented at the Medical University of Gdańsk (Prof. Jan Dumański and Prof. Arkadiusz Piotrowski). Funding has been awarded to the project “Mutations acquired during lifetime that lead to increased risk for human disease, with focus on cancer”. The strategic partner is Uppsala University (Sweden). The latest successes have significantly strengthened the position of Gdańsk as a research centre.
Compiled by UG Press Office