Fifty-year-old Michelle Simmons is on a mission to build the world’s first quantum computer in Sydney.
A mother of three, Simmons is leading a team of Australian scientists to build the computer, using standard silicon technology.
They are focusing on making qubits out of single atoms of phosphorus or quantum dots in silicon, which forms the basis for the existing computer and electronics industry.
Know more about her
British-born Simmons established Australia’s first quantum computing company, collectively owned by the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australian telecommunication Telstra, the UNSW and the New South Wales State Government.
The company, Silicon Quantum Computing, was founded in 2017. Its objective is to develop a 10-qubit prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit by 2022. This is the first step towards building the world’s first quantum computer in silicon.
Simmons is also the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology. She believes that in the quantum world, every time a quantum bit (qubit) is added, the amount of information is doubled.
The quantum computing technology could not only help address major global challenges like climate change but also in understanding complex diseases such as cancer
“In placing our phosphorus atoms in the silicon to make a qubit, we have demonstrated that we can use a scanning probe to directly measure the atom’s wave function, which tells us its exact physical location in the chip. We are the only group in the world who can actually see where our qubits are,” said Simmons in a report by the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Her team is also the only one in the world that can manipulate individual atoms to make atomically precise electronic devices.
More women in Science & Tech
According to data from Unesco Institute for Statistics, less than 30% of the entire women population is working in the field of Science and Technology
Suppressed by social reluctance and the gender stereotype concerning the ability of women, this section, comprising 50% of the world’s population, clearly needs more opportunities.
Inspired by the late American physicist Richard Feynman, Simmons says that she is following his strategy of ‘solving the problem that has already been solved’.
Malvika Bansal is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv