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Darryll Pines on Competing in the Next Economy

Dr. Darryll Pines

President, University of Maryland

Members of the Council on Competitiveness Board and Executive Committee, and Commissioners and Advisors from the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers came together this summer at Gallup World Headquarters to take stock of the Council’s work and explore the challenges and opportunities driving Phase 2 of the National Commission’s work.

During the meeting, Dr. Darryll Pines, President, University of Maryland, shared more with the community about the advanced computing ecosystem that has emerged at the University of Maryland. Dr. Pines shared that in 2006, Nobel laureate Dr. William Phillips accepted an appointment at the University of Maryland while still working at MIT. He started the Joint Quantum Institute, a collaboration between NIST and the University of Maryland at College Park. This initial partnership was born out of NIST's mission of developing and enhancing measurement science. There was no agenda for quantum other than measurement science.

The Joint Quantum Institute led to the world’s first pure play quantum computing startup, IonQ — here in the United States in College Park. The institute has trained more than 2,000 postdocs, who are at some of the leading universities in our nation working in quantum science and technology. Also, the university’s faculty members and physics department in conjunction with NIST were instrumental in advancing development of the policy that established the National Quantum Initiative.

Growing a quantum ecosystem. Building on its unique collaboration with the University of Maryland, the Joint Quantum Institute has created a robust quantum ecosystem that involves 118 organizations around the DC-Maryland-Virginia region, including universities, government laboratories, businesses, and startups. More than $3 billion has been invested in what we can now call the Capital of Quantum. This fall, a new National Quantum User Facility will be announced, open to researchers around the world. Partnerships with multiple countries have already been established.

This all started with a simple MOU about measurement science, researchers having joint appointments, and scholarly collaboration, but led to translational activities and, now, a national user facility that will allow researchers to work on the next generation of computational breakthroughs that can be run on world class quantum computers.

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