Second ‘Swiss Quantum Days' brings Swiss quantum community together

© 2024 EPFL / QSE Center - CC-BY-SA 4.0

© 2024 EPFL / QSE Center - CC-BY-SA 4.0

From January 31-February 2, 2024, quantum researchers and members of industry and government from across Switzerland met in Villars-sur-Ollon for the second Swiss Quantum Days.

This event was co-organized by the EPFL Center for Quantum Science and Engineering (QSE Center), the Quantum Center at ETH Zurich, the Geneva Quantum Centre at the University of Geneva, and the Basel Quantum Center, along with NCCR Spin.

“Building our Swiss quantum community”

The Swiss Quantum Days are inclusive to all areas of quantum, and the event is built around four main themes: quantum information & communication, quantum computation & simulation, quantum sensing, and quantum materials & technologies.

“The goal of this event is not only to be a specialist conference,” explains QSE Center Executive Director Philippe Caroff. “It is designed with the additional goal of building our Swiss quantum community."

© 2024 EPFL / QSE Center - CC-BY-SA 4.0

To that end, the organizing committee planned a three-day schedule with ample opportunity for networking and socializing, including a two-hour poster session, where young researchers were able to meet one another and explain their work to their senior colleagues. The conference prioritized the involvement and exposure of young researchers, who gave all 30 contributed talks and presented all 80 posters.

© 2024 EPFL / QSE Center - CC-BY-SA 4.0

“The Swiss quantum days are a great occasion to learn about the variety of quantum research in Switzerland and to connect with the community,” says Francesca Orsi, a PhD student in the EPFL Laboratory for Quantum Gases who gave the talk “Towards quantum simulation of random, all-to-all interacting Fermions”.

“As a young researcher, presenting my work at the Swiss Quantum Days gave me the opportunity to expose my research to a broad public, as well as to catch up with the ongoing collaborations and to explore new ones.”

The scientific committee selected talks and invited speakers that ensured the conference was accessible and interesting to the entire broad audience. The five invited speakers were Kirsten Moselund (EPFL School of Engineering and PSI), Alberto Morpurgo (UniGe), Renato Renner (ETHZ), Stefan Willitsch (UniBas), and James Wootton (IBM Research Zurich).

Kirsten Moselund © 2024 EPFL / QSE Center - CC-BY-SA 4.0

The keynote lecture was given by Mikhail Lukin of Harvard University, who produced a major breakthrough in experimental quantum computing in 2023 with the first demonstration of large-scale quantum error correction on a neutral-atom quantum processor.

“The sudden emergence of a new quantum computing platform, with performance competing with the established trapped-ion and superconducting-circuit technologies, teaches us a lesson: the cross-fertilization among different parts of the quantum ecosystem is key to the progress in the field, and broad-spectrum events like the Swiss Quantum Days are the ideal setting for these kinds of fruitful scientific exchanges,” says Vincenzo Savona, academic director of the QSE Center.

A strong network of centers

Following up on the success of the first Swiss Quantum Days in 2023, the Swiss Quantum Comission demonstrated their support of this event through a generous sponsorship, and by enabling a strategic discussion between their leadership and the centers’ representatives that took place during the conference. The Swiss Quantum Commission is supporting quantum centers as the ideal intermediaries and links between large funding and coordinating bodies, and the quantum community of researchers, students, and innovators. In this regard, the Swiss Quantum Days is held in high regard by the Swiss quantum industry as the natural academic research complement to the industry-led Quantum Industry Day in Switzerland (QIDiS), as witnessed by the strong support and sponsoring of CSEM, Quantum Basel, Quantum Machines, Swisscom, and Zurich Instruments.

Conferences like these show the importance of centers like the QSE Center for bringing communities together at EPFL and across Switzerland, and for connecting further with industry and government partners.

“This event demonstrates the importance of the relationships between quantum centers across Switzerland, as the whole is more than the sum of its parts, particularly for planning events like the Swiss Quantum Days, along with sharing information, joint initiatives, coordination, educational programming, and more,” says Caroff.

The event organization has built trust and excellent communication pathways among all the centers’ representatives, effectively establishing a network of centers that has since led to more events, such as the QIDiS in October 2023, a hackathon, and future educational opportunities with the University of Geneva in quantum.

“We are still a young community,” Caroff says, “so events and collaborations such as Swiss Quantum Days shows how centers like the QSE Center and its like-minded partners can help structure the landscape of the quantum field.”

Author: Stephanie Parker

Source: School of Engineering | STI

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