Northwest Quantum Nexus Summit 2023 – Backgrounder

The 2023 Northwest Quantum Nexus (NQN) Summit, held on the University of Washington’s (UW) Seattle campus on January 23-24, 2023, gathers Pacific Northwest leaders and experts from across industry, academia, and government to advance the science, workforce development, and economic impact of quantum computing (QC). NQN was co-founded by UW, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Microsoft in 2019, and expanded to include QC manufacturing company IonQ and Washington State University (WSU) in 2021, the University of Oregon (UO) in 2022, and as of 2023, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Boeing. The 2023 Summit marks the first formal gathering of the coalition since the inaugural NQN Summit in March 2019, also held on the UW campus.


UW QuantumX

The UW QuantumX Initiative established the Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies (AQET) program in August 2020 via the first National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Traineeship awarded in quantum information science & engineering (QISE). The cutting-edge AQET curriculum brings together students in chemistry, computer science & engineering (CSE), electrical & computer engineering (ECE), materials science & engineering (MSE), and physics for research in areas such as materials to enable quantum technologies, harnessing quantum in device engineering, and algorithms inspired by or exploiting quantum phenomena. The first AQET cohort was accepted in Autumn 2021, with instruction beginning in Autumn 2022. In Autumn 2022, UW QuantumX also launched the transcriptable Graduate Certificate in QISE, which makes the same AQET courses available to all UW graduate students in quantum-related disciplines. Development of AQET and the Graduate Certificate in QISE was supported by Microsoft’s Krysta Svore and Matthias Troyer; specifically, the strategy of augmenting existing core studies in science and engineering with interdisciplinary, project-based courses in QISE. Microsoft Azure also provides the QC platform for a core AQET course.

Since the 2019 Summit, UW QuantumX has also obtained funding for the Quantum Technologies and Training Testbed (QT3) lab facility, hired a QT3 lab manager and a full-time QuantumX operations manager, and led a UW College of Engineering cluster hire in QISE. The QT3 aims to operate its first quantum processor in 2023, with user access in 2024. The development of QT3 educational modules has been informed by the success of the quantum optics program at the UO Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science (OMQ). New QuantumX faculty as of the 2023 NQN Summit include ECE assistant professors Serena Eley, Sara Mouradian, and Rahul Trivedi, MSE professor Juan Carlos Idrobo, and physics and MSE professor Di Xiao. Later in 2023, Andrea Coladangelo will join the Paul G. Allen School of CSE, and Charles Marcus will join UW from the University of Copenhagen as a professor of physics and MSE. IonQ provided $300,000 to support the hire of Mouradian, while Marcus is poised to leverage the strong UW-PNNL relationship in his QISE research activities.

For more information on UW QuantumX and NQN, contact James Urton.


Microsoft Quantum

Since the 2019 NQN Summit, the Microsoft Quantum program has achieved a historic milestone demonstrating formerly elusive physics needed to build scalable topological Qubits in March 2022. Microsoft has also debuted new curriculum for educators to help students test and learn with their choice of quantum hardware; expanded the Azure Quantum hardware partner ecosystem with updates and made new additions to the Azure Quantum service including IonQ Aria, Rigetti’s QCS and Superconducting QPUs; and recently announced a new resource estimation tool that enables innovators and leaders to prepare now for the scaled quantum computer of the future.

Microsoft Quantum leaders attending the 2023 NQN Summit include Krysta Svore, Distinguished Engineer and VP of Quantum Software (named a 2021 AAAS Fellow), and Matthias Troyer, Technical Fellow in Quantum. Summit work sessions will be led by Microsoft experts including Nathan Baker, who joined Microsoft from PNNL as Sr. Director of Partnerships for Chemistry and Materials, and Wim van Dam. Microsoft would like to invite all leading quantum innovators to hear first-hand the latest from our team with a new community series called: “The Quantum innovator Series: The Path to Quantum at Scale”; learn more and register here.

For more information on Microsoft Quantum and NQN, contact Melissa White.



Quantum computing is expected to revolutionize the ability for science to solve difficult problems that are beyond the scope of today’s computers. Many of these problems are central to PNNL core mission areas in chemistry, materials science, and energy resiliency.

Since the 2019 NQN Summit, PNNL expertise in quantum information sciences has been harnessed by three of the five Department of Energy-sponsored National Quantum Information Science Research Centers: Q-NEXT, the Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage (C2QA), and the Quantum Science Center (QSC). As part of these centers, PNNL researchers have been developing quantum computing algorithms and programming models that demonstrate the power of quantum computing with quantum-accelerated applications in advanced materials and catalysts—PNNL’s traditional areas of strength in energy sciences. Other projects include quieting noise by compressing quantum circuits, developing algorithms to simulate quantum circuits, and mitigating noise with quantum ensembles. Additionally, PNNL-developed NWChem computational chemistry code provided the basis for the NWChemEX project—which includes quantum chemistry codes for use on exascale systems.

PNNL scientists have also been studying the role of chemical and isotopic purity through synthesis, fabrication, and device application, and conducting material characterization to relate structure and purity to device performance. Most recently, researchers unveiled a new superconducting qubit testbed to advance quantum computing.

Beyond research, PNNL is creating a vibrant quantum industry that will contribute to the economic vitality of the region. PNNL is now a partner in the Cascadia Innovation Corridor, a tech corridor between Washington State, British Columbia, and Oregon.

For more information on PNNL and NQN, contact Karyn Hede.



IonQ provides industry-leading quantum computing performance across all three major cloud quantum platforms – Amazon Braket, Google Quantum and Microsoft Azure Quantum. On January 23, 2023, IonQ opened a new 65,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in the suburbs of Seattle, citing proximity to industry leaders and the region’s tech talent pool. In 2022, IonQ and PNNL announced a partnership to manufacture barium-based qubits for IonQ’s core QC system components. IonQ Aria, the company’s state-of-the-art QC, recently achieved 25 #AQ; making it one of the most powerful quantum computers in the world.

At the 2023 NQN Summit, IonQ CEO Peter Chapman will give a talk on “Building the Next Generation of Quantum Computers in the Pacific Northwest”, while IonQ VP of Financial Planning & Analysis Jordan Shapiro will moderate the Quantum Startups & Running a Quantum Company panel.

For more information about IonQ and NQN, contact Stephanie Kirk.


Washington State University Quantum Initiative

The Washington State University Quantum Initiative unites efforts in quantum research and workforce development across the university. Key players include members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, who study fundamental quantum science, and use ultra-cold atoms, non-linear optics, and quantum spins for quantum sensing and quantum computing technologies; members of the School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, who study the classical-quantum interface and cryoelectronics; and others across the university who explore quantum applications in areas such as chemistry, mathematics, and hydrogen energy research.

As a land grant institution, WSU is committed to training the quantum-smart workforce needed to support the current quantum revolution in the Pacific Northwest region. To lead the development of emerging quantum technologies, students need a broad set of skills, including not only the foundation in quantum mechanics provided by our physics program, but a facility with computational and data analysis techniques, and practical hands-on experience with relevant technologies such as electronics, optics, and cryogenics. Supporting these needs, we partner with a new interdisciplinary program called iSciMath, training students to work at the boundaries of traditional academic domains in STEM. The iSciMath program centered at WSU brings together core participants from academia, government, and industry to foster the types of interactions and innovations seen at Bell Labs and Xerox PARC in their heyday, giving students both breadth and depth – as we like to say, a graduate of this program will be a jack of all trades, and a master of some.

For more information about the WSU Quantum Initiative and NQN, contact Karen Hunt.


University of Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science

The University of Oregon Center for Optical, Molecular, and Quantum Science has emphasized student inclusion in research leadership since it was established in 1994 as the Oregon Center for Optics. OMQ students have access to the 3,000-square-foot Shared Laser Facility, a multidisciplinary laser and optics laboratory shared by chemists, materials scientists, optical scientists, and physicists; while the Lorry Lokey Laboratories house ultra-sensitive research tools for nanoscience to neuroscience. OMQ is presently building connections with NQN partners and finding opportunities for UO students to work at the cutting-edge of QISE.



“The future of quantum computing will require collaboration across industry, academia and government,” said Sebastian Hassinger, Principal Specialist of Amazon Braket, in the announcement of NQN’s 2023 expansion. “AWS’s long-standing presence in Seattle, coupled with our alignment of NQN’s values to grow a quantum computing workforce of the future make for a great partnership.”

For more information about AWS and NQN, contact Elizabeth Banta.



“At Boeing, we are committed to understanding how quantum computation can enhance our complex design and manufacturing systems,” said Marna Kagele, Technical Fellow in Systems Engineering and Strategic Foresight at Boeing, in the announcement of NQN’s 2023 expansion. “Results so far show us there is potential in areas from quantum chemistry to optimization and more. We are excited about the future of quantum computing and the opportunities in front of us.”

For more information about Boeing and NQN, contact Mychaela Kekeris.


NQN Student Hackathon

NQN is hosting an in-person student hackathon powered by Azure Quantum and IonQ, focused on exploring and learning quantum programming through project challenges. Hackathon activities will take place from January 17 through 24. While the Hackathon itself is in-person on the University of Washington campus, other activities are virtual. All students from NQN academic members (University of Washington, Washington State, and University of Oregon) are welcome and encouraged to sign up! Form a team or work individually on a cool project and have a chance to win some prizes!