Supporting Canada’s leadership in quantum computing
Good morning, hello.
Thank you, Christian, for that introduction and for welcoming us to this amazing place.
I’m pleased to be here with my colleague, Minister François-Philippe Champagne.
This is a really exciting announcement today. It's about jobs, it's about leading extraordinary advancements in technology and it's about Canadian ambition and know-how. It's about Canadian leadership in quantum computing and as many of you know, I get really excited by quantum computing. What's happening here is cutting edge not just in Canada, but around the world and because I know media will have all sorts of important things to ask me about, I'm going to make sure that I explain what's going on in here within the body and my questions unless you really want to ask me a question about quantum computing.
We're here at Xanadu, a made in Canada company that is doing world leading quantum computing. They're building the computer of the future. In fact, they just recently achieved something called Quantum advantage with a machine that can compute faster than the fastest smartphone, faster than the fastest supercomputer in the world. For example, if you gave it a specific problem to a classical supercomputer, it might take 9,000 years for them to solve it; the quantum computer can do it in less than a second. That's the kind of computing power that is being generated here that's going to transform the way our world works. But it's really no surprise that Canada's leading on this and as we're seeing, what's special about Xanadu is that they're making this technology accessible to people and companies around the world. Canada has been making waves in quantum for decades.
Our government wants to help in maintaining this advantage. That's why we've started the year launching the National Quantum Strategy. In Canada, we have a quantum community that is in a class by itself, based on innovative skills and entrepreneurs. Our entrepreneurs see the potential, and they want us to move from research to real-world application.
Now quantum computing is still a burgeoning technology, and we want Canada to continue to lead in its development. The research that's been done in Canada for years has been extraordinary. But of course, getting that into practical applications, getting that to be able to be accessed by innovators, by entrepreneurs, by businesses across Canada and around the world is the next big challenge. That quantum strategy is built on three strong pillars: The first is research, which Canada has long been leading the way in at universities. The second is talent, which we have in spades, thanks to our well-educated, homegrown workforce, but also our ability to attract highly skilled workers from around the world, including through immigration policies like the global talent stream. A number of years ago, about six years ago or so, we heard clearly from high-tech businesses across the country that if we could accelerate their ability to bring in top engineers, top researchers from around the world, they'd expand and grow their base in Canada. So we created the Global Talent Stream that allows people to come in for six weeks, depending on how quickly we can get it done and get to work right away and that advantage of bringing in some of the top minds from around the world is exactly what has been able to lead this quantum revolution here in Canada and, of course, the third pillar is commercialization, so that those leading companies can scale up, create good jobs and economic growth that benefits all Canadians, which, of course, brings me to why I'm here today. Canada has a tremendous one-of-a-kind innovation ecosystem that is finding ways to bring quantum technology to market. That's exactly what Xanadu is doing.
So today, the federal government is announcing an important investment of about $40 million in Xanadu Quantum Technologies. This will help them build the world's first photonic based, fault tolerant quantum computer and scale up their business and support an expected 530 good, high-paying jobs and ensure that Canada continues to punch above its weight when it comes to advancements in this tech. The quantum computers Xanadu is building runs off an advanced computer chip that literally computes at the speed of light, and the reason for that is it actually uses light to function. The same way we have fibre optics that manage all our telecommunications, they're actually running light through the computer chips that allows for both high speed and high efficiency crunching of the data.
Like I said, we're at the forefront of this technology, and Xanadu is in competition to build the first fault-free quantum computer, and I've said that a couple of times, why is it so important that we talk about a fault-free quantum computer? You know, we don't really worry about the fault freeness of our laptops, of our regular computers. Why is it important in quantum? Well, quantum is the holding of simultaneous states at the same time. In quantum functions, quantum waves are constantly collapsing, and if a quantum wave collapses, that introduces an error in the system. So you have to do it multiple times and create a linkage so there is redundancy to be able to keep moving with the calculations. It's inherent in the nature of quantum that they're collapsing. So having that fault free will actually allow you to do the computations that are actually necessary. It's really, really exciting stuff.
The other thing that's really exciting that they've done is they’ve figured it out using photonics, so it's using light in the chips to do most of the part of the computing that's done here without having to be cooled down to absolute zero. The cryogenic freezing of most of quantum computers is a huge cost and a huge burden and really challenging for when you're trying to develop them and experiment them. So by focusing on only keeping the photonic sensors down near -273 degrees Celsius, you can actually have quantum computers that will fit in standard server racks that businesses and companies use around the world. The idea of being able to package in quantum computing alongside your traditional computers is where that leverage is going to go and what Xanadu is doing is world leading and extraordinarily exciting for the future of quantum computing available to businesses around the world.
Xanadu has what it takes. The company has partnered with other major companies and universities in Canada and around the world, such as Harvard and MIT. There is a global competition right now to develop the first error-free quantum computer. It is a technology that will change things in extraordinary ways, and we are doing it here in Canada.
Successful quantum computing has a huge potential for our economy and for people. Think about all the trial and error that goes into developing a new medicine, for example. These computers can do complex problem solving that simulates experiments not only saving costs but also developing lifesaving treatments faster than ever. They can also analyze logistics, which will help us build more efficient and resilient supply chains. They can also help us model climate change, which will help us build a safer future.
These technologies will help define the future. They will enable Canada to become a world leader and grow our economy. It is estimated that in two decades, Canada's quantum industry will represent nearly $140 billion and more than 200,000 jobs.
So as governments, we need to keep looking to where the puck is going. Strategic investments like today will set us up for success in the years, in the decades to come. This creates opportunities today and makes sure we're all building the economy of the future so there are opportunities for future generations of Canadians. This is what building an economy that works for all Canadians looks like. It's what it's about, it’s what we're going to keep doing.