Inaugural US-Switzerland Quantum Symposium sparks international cooperation on critical technologies

Leaders in quantum science from the United States and Switzerland gathered in the Swiss town of Arlesheim for the first-ever Quantum Symposium. The two-day event featured several presentations by faculty from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) and other prominent institutions, aiming to spark new partnerships for developing quantum technologies.

The symposium was organized by the Swiss-based group QuantumBasel in collaboration with Pritzker Molecular Engineering Professor David Awschalom and University of Basel Professor Daniel Loss. Future meetings will be expanded to include seven countries, including the USA, Japan, Israel, and the Netherlands.

“Quantum technology is one of the most powerful innovation drivers. Good international cooperation is of great interest to science and industry,” said Damir Bogdan, the host of the Quantum Symposium and CEO of uptownBasel Infinity. The event also brought together researchers from other institutions, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, ETH Zurich, and EPFL Lausanne, along with industry representatives.

Four PME faculty presented at the event, including David Awschalom, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering, senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, and director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange; Giulia Galli, Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering and chemistry; Supratik Guha, professor of molecular engineering and senior advisor at Argonne National Laboratory; and Peter Maurer, assistant professor of molecular engineering.

The STAGE Lab, a full-scale laboratory embedded within PME dedicated to exploring the intersection of art and science, also had a significant presence at the Quantum Symposium, offering the public a pre-symposium event with their Quantum Casino. The Quantum Casino is a suite of card and digital games, and a Quantum Photo Booth, that introduces quantum principles to players in a way that’s engaging and accessible. The games drew hundreds of attendees from the symposium and from the nearby city of Basel, with the crowds spanning ages from elementary school students to retirees.

Global investment in quantum science has proliferated in recent years, including in the U.S. Chicago itself is home to some of the nation’s foremost institutions studying quantum science and engineering. The University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, the first school in the nation dedicated to molecular engineering, claims several internationally recognized experts on quantum and operates one of the nation’s first PhD programs focused specifically on quantum science and engineering.

The Chicago Quantum Exchange, a consortium headquartered at UChicago's Pritzker Molecular Engineering, is a global leader in quantum science, convening leading academic researchers, top scientific facilities, and innovative industry partners to advance the science and engineering of quantum information, train the next generation of quantum scientists and engineers, and drive the quantum economy.

QuantumBasel, the Center of Competence for Quantum and Artificial Intelligence, has the first commercially usable quantum computer hub in Switzerland. It is operated by uptownBasel Infinity Corp in cooperation with IBM, D-Wave Systems and further national and international technology partners. Its goal is the promotion and further development of quantum technology in Switzerland and internationally through the campus in uptownBasel in Switzerland.