The government of Australia and the state of Queensland to invest AU$940 million (US$620m) in a quantum computer.

Set to be built by California-based startup PsiQuantum, the system will be housed at a site near Brisbane Airport.

Both governments have contributed A$470m ($307m) through share purchases, grants, and loans.

Silicon Photonic Wafer
A PsiQuantum silicon photonic wafer – PsiQuantum

The fault-tolerant quantum computer is expected to be operational by the end of 2027 and will be used to support a number of industries, including renewable energy, minerals and metals, healthcare, and transportation.

In return for the investment, PsiQuantum has agreed to set up a regional headquarters in the state of Queensland and operate its computers from there.

The system has fusion-based architecture and uses photonics, meaning qubits are encoded into particles of light. The startup said the "utility-scale system" will be in the regime of one million physical qubits and cryogenically cooled.

“A utility-scale quantum computer represents an opportunity to construct a new, practical foundation of computational infrastructure and in so doing ignite the next industrial revolution,” said Professor Jeremy O’Brien, PsiQuantum CEO.

“This platform will help solve today’s impossible problems and will serve as [a] tool to design the solutions we so desperately need to safeguard our future. We’re thrilled to partner with the Australian and Queensland governments as our team at PsiQuantum takes a massive step forward in our mission to help deliver on the promise of quantum computing.”

Founded in 2016, PsiQuantum says its mission is to “build and deploy the world’s first useful quantum computer.” The company, which counts Australia's Jeremy O’Brien and Terry Rudolph amongst its co-founders, claims to have a “fast and feasible path to large-scale fault-tolerant systems” by using existing technologies, such as high-power cryogenic systems.

The Australian government first floated the idea of investing in a PsiQuantum-made system in late 2023 but received criticism at the time for favoring a US-based company over quantum computing organizations already located in Australia.

A report from the Information Age at the time of the announcement also cited an anonymous industry source who questioned why there wasn’t an open tender process that would have allowed Australian companies to apply and the potential perception impact on the country’s quantum sector on the international stage.

According to Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), the domestic quantum computing market has an estimated annual revenue of AU$2.5 billion ($1.6bn), with the potential to create 10,000 new jobs in Australia by 2040.

In February 2024, Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre in Perth announced it would deploy Nvidia’s CUDA Quantum simulation computing platform at its National Supercomputing and Quantum Computing Innovation Hub.

In early 2022, Pawsey installed a room-temperature diamond-based quantum computer developed by Quantum Brilliance.