Mike Lazaridis is the founder of RIM (Research in Motion), makers of the BlackBerry handheld device. He has made extremely generous donations to the following scientific institutions located in the city of Waterloo, Canada
Pi (Perimeter Institute)
In the Univ. of Waterloo:
According to Wikipedia, Lazaridis has donated about $150 million to PI and about $100 million to IQC/WIN. The government of Canada contributed another $50 million to IQC/WIN in 2009.
These are still pretty young institutions. PI opened in 2001. The IQC/WIN buildings are slated for completion in 2011.
PI currently employs over 100 resident theoretical physicists and many other visiting ones. Even though PI employs only theorists, this certainly will not be the case with IQC/WIN.
As I mentioned in my CHIMPS blog post, so far Perimeter (and IQC/WIN) have not excelled in their experimental QC work. A quick look at the IQC website reveals that they currently specialize in turkey technology like quantum cryptography and NMR quantum computers. But this is likely to change soon, and it’s likely that they will soon begin to make a serious attempt to build a scalable QC. Like I said before, WIN/IQC is still a very young institution; it hasn’t even opened its new building yet. All that money is bound to produce some positive results, even if some of it is wasted in politics and pomp & pageantry. So the future looks very promising for a BlackBerry quantum computer.
It’s certainly refreshing to find rich people who believe in QCs enough to invest in them. At present, trying to get an American venture capitalist or philanthropist to invest in QCs is nearly impossible. I know. I’ve tried.
Let’s hope that the BlackBerry doesn’t continue to lose market share to Android and iPhone, so that Lazaridis can continue to donate to QC research.
China is very rich right now and could easily outspend the Canadian QC program. A Chinese/Canadian QC race would certainly be exciting to watch. America is in a shambles economically right now, but, in my opinion, we are at present winning the QC race, because the QC American Riviera phenomenon started earlier than its Canadian and Chinese counterparts, and it is already bearing fruit. Will the US continue to lead the QC race? …I for one can’t wait to find out.
P.S.: Canada also has D-Wave Systems, which is doing great work, but I haven’t mentioned them because, at least for now, they are the only ones building an adiabatic QC, so they are in that sense sui generis.