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Does Poland need a quantum computer? What are quantum technologies? How can researchers at Polish research centres contribute to quantum technologies? We are discussing these topics in our podcast today.

Our guests today are Sylwia Kostka from the National Science Centre, coordinator of the QuantERA network and Prof. Konrad Banaszek, physicist and author of numerous papers and patents on quantum technologies, coordinator of the QuantERA network.

According to researchers, within a decade or so, quantum technologies will significantly impact our lives. Medical diagnostics will be faster and more precise, online data security incomparably better and new materials with innovative properties will be developed. Yet, the vision of a quantum computer appeals most to the broader imagination. A few months ago, there was a vivid public discussion in response to a research institution’s intention to buy a quantum computer. Does Poland need a quantum computer? Prof. Konrad Banaszek replies that available quantum computers are far from perfect and “make noises,” and remarks that our understanding of quantum computer development is often wrong. “It is wrong to assume that quantum computers are just classical computers that work faster and solve all kinds of issues and computational problems much faster than regular PCs or specialised devices installed in the computer centres,” he says and emphasises that available quantum computers are mainly used to solve quantum algorithms. “We are currently looking for practical problems that could be solved by quantum computers,” he adds.

In this episode of our podcast, we are discussing quantum technology as such, and research performed at the Polish research centres. “There is no doubt that Polish researchers are an equal partner for the top research teams in the world,” Prof. Banaszek emphasizes.

Fundamental research work on quantum entanglement was initiated in the 1990s at the University of Gdańsk, where Prof. Ryszard Horodecki together with his co-investigators created an institution that had evolved into a world quantum computing centre. Research institutions in Warsaw and Krakow have a longstanding history of quantum optics which has evolved into the majority of current research on the new ways of communication, sensing, metrology and imaging. Researchers from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń work at the National Laboratory of Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics (FAMO) on the new generation of optical atomic clocks, state-of-the art timekeeping devices in the world that can be used for surveying and navigation. They are also looking into other applications of quantum metrology.

In addition to theoretical work, experimental work results are also arriving. Furthermore, Poland coordinates the QuantERA programme, the leading European network which funds research in quantum technologies. The programme coordinated by the National Science Centre associates 41 research funding agencies from 31 countries. “The network was created in Poland because international contacts of quantum physicists and Polish research community were ideal for us to build on. We were convinced that researchers will respond to the programme very well,” says Sylwia Kostka.

Our guests emphasize that the Polish quantum community is currently missing a strategy for the development of quantum technologies and hope that, just like in other European countries, there will be the political will, and an appropriate document will soon be adopted. The first discussions on the matter have already been held at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Podcast host: Anna Korzekwa-Józefowicz.

The recording is now available on Spotify and Apple Podcast.

Apple Podcast