Sundown Drinks: Firing up the Quantum Future | SGInnovate


32 Carpenter Street
Singapore 059911

Sundown Drinks: Firing up the Quantum Future

Presented by SGInnovate
Partnered with Centre for Quantum Technologies

At this quantum tech event, we have Prof Michael J Biercuk, CEO & Founder of Q-CTRL and one of the world's leading authorities on quantum physics and technology, present a keynote on 'Starting Up the Quantum Future'.

Quantum technology, harnessing quantum physics as a resource, promises to be as transformational in the 21st century as harnessing electricity was in the 19th century. In this presentation, Michael will introduce the emerging field of quantum tech and describe how he and colleagues around the world are working to build a greenfield industry. Beginning with an intuitive picture of how quantum technology expands on the technological state-of-the-art, this presentation will inform about the potential and promise of exploiting quantum physics in computing and sensing. Michael will also introduce Q-CTRL, a global quantum tech startup headquartered in Australia, focused on making quantum technologies useful through quantum control engineering. This presentation will conclude with lessons for the deep tech founder seeking to transition from fundamental research to entrepreneurship.

Following his presentation, Michael will join a panel discussion on an overview of the global quantum economy and the future of quantum software, as well as why the focus on quantum software when quantum computers are not yet ready.

Date: 12 February 2020, Wednesday
Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Venue: 32 Carpenter Street, Singapore 059911


  • Prof Michael J Biercuk, CEO & Founder, Q-CTRL
  • Dr Mattia Fiorentini, Head of Machine Learning and Quantum Algorithms, Cambridge Quantum Computing
  • Dr Joe Fitzsimons, CEO & Founder, Horizon Quantum Computing
  • Dr Ng Hui Khoon, Associate Professor, Yale-NUS College and the Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore

Moderator: Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate

Programme Details:
4:00pm – 4:30pm: Registration
4:30pm – 4:50pm: Keynote Presentation on ‘Starting Up the Quantum Future’ by Prof Michael J Biercuk, CEO & Founder, Q-CTRL
4:50pm – 5:40pm: Panel Discussion and Q&A
5:40pm – 6:00pm: Networking

Speaker’s Profile:

Prof Michael J Biercuk, CEO & Founder, Q-CTRL

Prof Michael J Biercuk is a Professor of Quantum Physics and Quantum Technology at The University of Sydney. He leads a team working to develop advanced technology powered by quantum physics. He is also Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems. Out of his academic research, Michael saw a gap in the market for a company which made his team’s specialist knowledge and capabilities available outside of the lab; he founded Q-CTRL in 2017 with venture capital backing from some of the world’s leading investors.

Michael completed his Master’s and PhD at Harvard University and his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. After university, he held a research fellowship in the Ion Storage Group at NIST Boulder under the supervision of 2012 Nobel Laureate in Physics Dr David Wineland. He has also worked as a consultant to the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), helping steer government investments in quantum information and next-generation computer architectures.

As one of the world’s leading authorities on quantum physics and technology, Michael is a regular contributor to both the technical literature and the popular press. He is a TEDx and South by Southwest (SXSW) speaking alumnus and winner of the 2015 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher.

Dr Mattia Fiorentini, Head of Machine Learning and Quantum Algorithms, Cambridge Quantum Computing

Dr Mattia Fiorentini heads the Machine Learning and Quantum Algorithms group at Cambridge Quantum Computing. He supervises the research on quantum algorithms for machine learning and optimisation, and their implementation on the noisy, intermediate-scale quantum hardware that is available right now. With his team, he focuses on quantum algorithms that apply to operational research and finance.

Previously, he earned a PhD in Theory and Simulation of Condensed Matter from King’s College London, focusing on the simulation of first-principles electronic transport through high-performance computing.

Dr Joe Fitzsimons, CEO & Founder, Horizon Quantum Computing

Dr Joe Fitzsimons is currently Chief Executive Officer at Horizon Quantum Computing, a company he founded to build tools for quantum software development and secure delegation to quantum computers. Joe received an Undergraduate Degree in Theoretical Physics from the University College Dublin, Ireland and a Doctorate from the University of Oxford, UK. Before founding Horizon, Joe was a tenured Associate Professor at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore. He is a former National Research Foundation fellow and a former fellow of Merton College, Oxford.

Dr Ng Hui Khoon, Associate Professor, Yale-NUS College and the Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore

Dr Ng Hui Khoon did her undergraduate in Cornell University, and then completed her PhD (2009) in the group of John Preskill at the California Institute of Technology, on the subject of theoretical quantum information and computation. Upon graduation, she returned to Singapore as a postdoctoral researcher at the DSO National Laboratories of Singapore, spending part of her time at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), within the group of Berge Englert.

In 2013, she joined, as an Assistant Professor, the newly founded Yale-NUS College in Singapore, a joint liberal arts and sciences college set up by Yale University and NUS. She has maintained a joint position in CQT, becoming a CQT Fellow in 2019. Her research focuses on theoretical aspects of quantum computation, particularly on noise control, quantum error correction, and fault tolerance. Another productive area of research is in quantum tomography, and lately, noise tomography, drawing on both areas of her expertise. She is currently leading the quantum information and computation efforts within MajuLab, a French CNRS lab situated in Singapore, and maintains collaborations with well-known researchers around the world.

Moderator’s Profile:

Steve Leonard, Founding CEO, SGInnovate

Steve Leonard is a technology-industry leader with a wide range of experience, having played key roles in building several global companies in areas such as Software, Hardware and Services. Although born in the US, Steve considers himself a member of the larger global community, having lived and worked outside the US for more than 25 years.

In his current role as the Founding Chief Executive Officer of SGInnovate – a private limited company wholly owned by the Singapore Government – Steve has been chartered to lead an organisation that builds ‘deep-tech’ companies. Capitalising on the science and technology research for which Singapore has gained a global reputation, Steve’s team works with local and international partners, including universities, venture capitalists, and major corporations to help technical founders imagine, start and scale globally-relevant early-stage technology companies from Singapore.

Prior to his role as the CEO of SGInnovate, Steve served three years as the Executive Deputy Chairman of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), a government statutory board under the purview of Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information. In that role, he had executive responsibility at the national level for various aspects of the information technology and telecommunications industries in Singapore.

Steve serves on the advisory boards of a range of universities and organisations in Singapore. He also serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director at Singapore Post Ltd (SingPost), a global leader in e-commerce logistics; and AsiaSat, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed commercial operator of communication spacecraft.

Topics: Quantum Technologies

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