In a significant visit to JILA, a joint institute established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado Boulder, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper discussed the transformative potential of quantum computing on Colorado's economy, job industry, and educational sector. The visit underscored the state's growing prominence in the quantum technology landscape.
To understand the research and innovation happening within JILA, Senator Hickenlooper was given a brief tour of the institute, meeting with several instrument makers in the instrument shop to see equipment purchased with congressionally directed spending championed by the Senator, and graduate students within JILA and NIST fellow Jun Ye’s laboratory.
Senator Hickenlooper then engaged in a comprehensive roundtable discussion with influential figures from the Colorado region in the quantum computing industry and academic sectors. This included Ben Bloom, Founder and CTO of Atom Computing; Dan Caruso, Founder and Managing Director of Caruso Ventures; Scott Davis, CEO and Founder of Vescent; Scott Faris, CEO of Infleqtion; Joe Garcia, Chancellor of the Colorado Community College System; Ilyas Khan, Cofounder and Chief Product Officer at Quantinuum; Zach Newman, Founder and CEO of Octave; Corban Tillemann-Dick, Founder and CEO of Maybell; and Zach Yerushalmi, Cofounder and CEO of Elevate Quantum.
The visit also featured significant CU attendees, such as Russell Moore, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Massimo Ruzzene, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation; and esteemed JILA Fellows like Konrad Lehnert, Jun Ye, and Margaret Murnane. These interactions focused on exploring collaborative opportunities and strategies to make quantum education more sustainable and inclusive to students of all backgrounds.
A distinct roundtable topic was Colorado's ongoing competition for the coveted Tech Hub designation from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which comes with substantial funding. This designation is a key driver for technological innovation and economic growth, positioning the state as a leading hub for cutting-edge technology. Colorado was recently designated as one of 31 inaugural Tech Hubs and is now competing for additional investment in the next phase of the program. The Tech Hubs program was authorized by lawmakers, including Senator Hickenlooper, last Congress as part of the CHIPS and Science Act.
Senator Hickenlooper mentioned the importance of harnessing quantum computing for economic development, job creation, and educational advancement. He highlighted the need for investments in quantum research and its applications to ensure Colorado remains at the forefront of this technological revolution.
This visit, organized by the CU System Office of Government Relations, marks a significant step towards integrating quantum computing into Colorado's economic and educational frameworks, promising a future of innovation and growth.
Written by Kenna Hughes-Castleberry, JILA Science Communicator