University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Steven R. Angle joined EPB and key partners in Washington, D.C., for the announcement of the nation’s first industry-led, commercially available quantum network, which will be based in Chattanooga and include a node on the UTC campus.
EPB is launching the network with partner Qubitekk, a global leader in designing, building and integrating quantum network components. The Wednesday, Nov. 30 announcement was made by EPB President and CEO David Wade, a UTC alumnus. Qubitekk was represented by its president, Dr. Duncan Earl. In addition to Angle, the launch event featured EPB Board Chair Vicky Gregg, former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly and Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp.
The event took place in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, in conjunction with the 2022 Quantum World Congress.
Angle, a longtime advocate for Chattanooga economic development, praised EPB for its leadership and expressed his enthusiasm for the role UTC will play as the network matures: “We are going to work very hard with EPB and our other partners to help build a quantum ecosystem in our community.”
The EPB Quantum NetworkSM is described by the utility company as designed for use by private companies, government and university researchers in running “quantum equipment and applications in an established fiber optic environment.”
EPB said its fiber optic infrastructure integrates the latest foundational quantum equipment and software to accelerate technologists’ processes for bringing quantum technologies to market.
Wade said the new venture leverages the community’s prior investments in technology infrastructure. “The EPB Quantum Network is our step in opening up new vistas of possibility.”
According to a summary description EPB provided for news media, “Quantum-based communications reproduce a naturally occurring phenomenon in which a pair of light particles (photons) can be linked or “entangled” such that any change in one of the photons is instantaneously mirrored by its twin even when they are separated by great distances.
“Quantum technologies represent a new frontier to exponentially advance cybersecurity, sensing and next generation computing. This holds the promise for revolutionary benefits in protecting people from cyberthreats, launching a next generation internet and developing new advancements in healthcare, finance and other industries.”
Angle highlighted the impact UTC’s role in the new network will have on campus. “We’re adding to our quantum physics faculty and building a curriculum to prepare a workforce for quantum companies. UTC will also serve as a gateway for building partnerships with other universities across the nation.”
Merely the promise of a quantum network accessible in Chattanooga—and the expectation of a network node on campus—has already proved to be a magnet for UTC, with the hire of a new physics faculty member.
“We anticipate the EPB Quantum Network will prove to be a recruiting advantage in the future,” Angle said.
The dynamic impact of UTC’s Center for Urban Informatics and Progress—built on EPB’s groundbreaking high-speed internet and critical to Chattanooga’s involvement in Smart Cities innovation—is a model Angle said he hopes to replicate as an EPB Quantum Network partner.
“That is what we need to do with quantum, and we’re going to use that as a model as we look to foster collaboration and attract partners in seeking solutions to problems and enhancing quality of life,” he said. “I think the quantum network is going to be a magnet for entrepreneurship, partnerships and talent for Chattanooga.”
Read the complete EPB news release on its Quantum Network announcement here.
To learn more about UTC engagement in the region’s gig infrastructure, contact Dr. Reinhold Mann, deputy vice chancellor for research.