The University of New Mexico launches The Quantum New Mexico Institute

January 22, 2024 - Marissa Lucero


UNM and Sandia National Laboratories seek to establish New Mexico as a national Quantum hub

New Mexico scientists played a pioneering role in the development of Quantum Informational Science; now The University of New Mexico (UNM) is partnering with Sandia National Laboratories to launch the University’s newest research center, the Quantum New Mexico Institute (QNM-I).

“New Mexico’s role in the development of Quantum Information Science (QIS) will be vital to the technology of tomorrow,” said Ivan Deutsch, UNM distinguished professor and QNM-I founding director.

The first quantum revolution impacts our daily lives. It is at the heart of the digital world and underlies everything we use, like our smartphones and GPS navigation; the second quantum revolution will turbocharge information technologies.

“Our scientists helped launch the second quantum revolution, through activities at UNM and the national laboratories, and I believe the QNM-I will build on this foundation, putting New Mexico in the national spotlight for its strong quantum science and engineering activities,” Deutsch said.

UNM has graduated more than 40 doctorates in physics who are now QIS leaders in academia, national labs, and industry across the nation, ultimately strengthening collaboration opportunities with partners all over the world. Within the last 10 years, the partnership between UNM and Sandia Labs has cultivated an atmosphere of teamwork with the participation of faculty, postdoc, and student researchers involved in the UNM Grand Challenges program and a variety of collaborative research projects. In 2021, UNM Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs James Holloway and Sandia Deputy Chief Research Officer Basil Hassan launched a “road map” of large collaborative partnerships for the two institutions, and the QNM-I was developed through this initiative with the additional goals of workforce and economic development, thereby strengthening New Mexico’s ability to capitalize on the quantum information businesses that are now forming.

“Our vision is to make New Mexico a destination for quantum companies and scientists across the world,” said Setso Metodi, QNM-I co-director and Sandia Labs manager of quantum computer science.

The institute’s interdisciplinary foundation will include several departments across the University including Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Computer Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mathematics & Statistics, and Physics & Astronomy.

“We are extremely pleased to build off UNM’s rich history in QIS and create the QNM-I as a truly interdisciplinary and multi-institutional endeavor housed under the auspices of the UNM Office of the Vice President for Research,” said Ellen Fisher, professor and UNM vice president for research. “The establishment of the QNM-I will undoubtedly solidify UNM’s place as a leader in the second quantum revolution, provide extraordinary experiences for students and postdocs, and create an unparalleled regional ecosystem for QIS.”

In the U.S., the National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act of 2018 seeks to do the following at universities across the nation:

  1. Expand the number of researchers, educators, and students with training in quantum information science and technology to develop a workforce pipeline.
  2. Promote the development and inclusion of multidisciplinary curriculum and research opportunities for QIS at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral level.
  3. To address basic research knowledge gaps, including computational research gaps.
  4. Promote the further development of facilities and centers available for quantum information science and technology research, testing and education. 

The Center for Quantum Information and Control (CQuIC), which will be part on the new QNM-I, participates in two of the NQI Centers. CQuIC is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Focused Research Hub in Theoretical Physics, which hosts a prize postdoctoral fellowship program. QNM-I leadership hope to expand this momentum with new fellowship opportunities including the Sandia Gil Herrera Fellowship in Quantum Information Science. UNM students will also have expanded opportunities to participate in collaborative research between UNM and the national labs.

“QIS is a global endeavor, and New Mexico is a major player,” Deutsch said. “The UNM-Sandia Labs partnership will raise our national profile to attract some of the world’s best and most diverse talent to New Mexico, and the powerhouse combination will allow us to tackle large, sponsored projects with our student and faculty researchers at the forefront of it all.”


View the original article written by Marissa Lucero. It was published on Jan 22, 2024 at the UNM Newsroom.