Science and ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho gives a presentation at the conference on strategy for quantum technology and science held at DDP in Seoul on June 27. [Photo by Yonhap]
South Korea will inject more than 3 trillion won ($2.33 billion) into quantum science and technology by 2035, aiming to become a global powerhouse in the sector.
The country plans to increase the number of quantum researchers by seven folds 2,500 by 2035.
The strategy was set out by the Science and ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho on Tuesday, who attended a conference on strategy for quantum technology and science.
In the process, South Korea will develop a quantum computer using its own technology and the most advanced quantum sensors at a level equivalent to up to 85 percent of that of global powerhouses by 2035. The government has set a goal to raise its market share in global quantum technology to 10 percent by 2035.
“This year marks the first year of a leap for South Korea in quantum science,” said Minister Lee.
According to the announcement by the minister, the strategy reflects the details discussed between South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and quantum scholars at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in January and serves as the first national strategy that contains a mid-to-long-term vision for quantum science and technology.
To make the strategy successful, the government will take a mission-oriented approach that involves the tasks and timelines defined based on roadmaps.
For instance, the authority will strive to secure its own technology with the aim of developing a general-purpose quantum computer based on qubit (quantum bit) class superconductivity by 2031.
In the quantum communications and quantum sensors sectors, a 100-kilometer quantum network will be developed to promote intercity demonstrations, GPS-free navigation, and quantum radar by combining original technologies.
Under the strategy, South Korea will seek to increase the number of professional quantum researchers to 2,500 by 2035 from the current 384 by expanding educational programs and facilities. It will also dispatch 500 local experts overseas, including the U.S. and European Union.
In terms of quantum infrastructure, the government plans to build quantum fabs dedicated to quantum researchers by 2027, a public-sector quantum foundry by 2031, and a private-sector quantum foundry by 2035.
With state financing, the government also aims to increase the number of startups in quantum technology to 100 by 2025 while creating a special district eligible for support from the government and local municipalities. The government will work on new legislation to create a sustainable support initiative.
Meanwhile, the government strengthened cooperation with industries and research institutions.
The Ministry of Science and ICT has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and quantum computing firm IonQ Inc. to foster quantum experts to ensure that local doctoral students and industrial workers can receive training from global quantum companies.
IBM plans to send its 15 quantum researchers abroad in the second half, while IonQ will dispatch personnel for group training in South Korea.
“Though South Korea has been a latecomer in the development of quantum science and technology, the sector still has huge potential for further industrialization,” said Lee. “For Korea to be a powerhouse in quantum technology by 2035, the industry, academic institutions, and the government must join hands to go the extra mile.”
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