Inauguration of HKU-Oxford Partnership in Quantum Information and Computation

Initiated by the Quantum Information and Computation Initiative (QICI) of the Computer Science Department, HKU Faculty of Engineering, the quantum groups at the Computer Science Departments of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the University of Oxford recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU consolidates a long-standing collaboration between the Oxford Quantum Group and the Quantum Information, Foundations, and Technologies Group at HKU to establish an “HKU-Oxford Joint Lab for Quantum Information and Computation”. In addition, the collaboration will include the exchange of mutual research visits, joint participation in grant applications, and joint supervision of PhD students in order to facilitate the exchange of talents between the two partner groups and the training of young researchers in the growing area of quantum information and computation.

An MoU signing ceremony was held on January 15, 2020 at HKU. It was attended by HKU Acting- Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Alfonso Ngan, HKU Dean of Engineering Professor Christopher Chao, Joint Head of the Quantum Group at the University of Oxford Professor Bob Coecke, HKU Head of Department of Computer Science Professor Lam Tak-Wah, Director of HKU Quantum Information and Computation Initiative (QICI) Professor Giulio Chiribella and members of the HKU and Oxford groups. Professor Alfonso Ngan and Professor Bob Coecke introduced the background and motivation of the HKU-Oxford partnership at the ceremony. Professor Ngan also expressed the strong support of HKU to this collaboration.

Professor Christopher Chao, Dean of HKU Engineering, said: “The establishment of the MoU with the University of Oxford is an important step for the research and development of quantum information and computation within the Faculty of Engineering of HKU. We have high expectations for the collaboration with the Oxford Quantum Group, and for the establishment of a Joint Lab for Quantum Information and Computation. It will push forward the boundaries of our knowledge of quantum information, and will lead to potentially disruptive new technologies.”

Under the MoU, members of the Joint Lab will have opportunities to spend extended visits and conduct research on the broad spectrum of topics covered by the quantum groups at the two universities. Hlér Kristjánsson, PhD Student at the University of Oxford, said: “The HKU-Oxford collaboration provides a unique opportunity for students at both universities to be immersed in the vibrant academic community and traditions in the University of Oxford, whilst also experiencing the innovative research and cosmopolitan city life in Hong Kong.”

Furthermore, the HKU and Oxford quantum groups have recently been awarded a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, which provides them with funding to hire joint postdoctoral fellows. With the support of the grant, a workshop on the intersection between quantum information and quantum gravity was held in the week of January 13 to 17, 2020 in Hong Kong.

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