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Southern California: A Growing Quantum Technology Powerhouse – Part 1

Silicon Beach. Silicon Alley. Silicon Prairie.

For years throughout the U.S. various regions have tried to replicate the success (and even the name) of the Silicon Valley technology ecosystem and its potent mix of top-flight schools, world-class talent and oodles of venture capital. Business and academic leaders continue to look to the Bay Area’s achievements with considerable ‘Silicon Envy.’

While it’s true Silicon Valley-based companies mostly owned the personal computer, internet and smartphone eras, there is a new technology hotshot on the block and there’s a good chance the Valley won’t be the center of innovation and commerce of this next era. Southern California will likely rule the fascinating and limitless world of quantum technology.

Mark Gyure, the executive director of UCLA’s Center for Quantum Science and Engineering, had this to say recently:

“We sit at the heart of one of the most dynamic cities in the world and in an area where the local industry could very well dominate the quantum technology landscape for many years to come.”

How could that be? What’s different about quantum technology?

Just like the Bay Area’s success, it all starts with a thriving academic research community. Fortunately, there is ground-breaking quantum technology research going on at a half-dozen universities here in Southern California. In addition to UCLA, there is Caltech in Pasadena, USC, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Chapman University and recent entrant UC Riverside.

There’s also a ton of private industry research into quantum technology going on around Southern California featuring such names as Google, Microsoft, IBM, JPL, Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin. In addition, there’s HRL Laboratories, a research center jointly owned by GM and Boeing, and the non-profit The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo conducting research on quantum-based satellite communications.

Of course, many of these companies maintain a symbiotic relationship with the local academic institutions, collaborating on various research while students trained by the universities often move on to work at these firms as well.

As a quantum-focused PR and marketing communications group located in the center of Southern California, HKA has had a front-row seat to the burgeoning quantum technology ecosystem.

In our next post, we discuss the early quantum startups here and what the region’s near-term future in the quantum world looks like. Here’s a bit of a teaser – what we’ve seen so far is only the beginning. How much do we expect to see, and when do we expect to see it? Tune in next time and find out.

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