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Quantum City Challenge Inspires Quantum Community to Solve Real-World Energy Challenges

Quantum City Challenge

Insider Brief

  • Quantum City Challenge is a global competition that aims to apply quantum computing solutions to real-world problems in the energy sector.
  • The Challenge is hosted by Quantum City, facilitated by AWS, and supported by the Government of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
  • Critical Quote: “This unique global opportunity isn’t just about solving problems; it’s about shaping the future of energy solutions, especially here in Canada. Your brilliance is the key to unlocking quantum breakthroughs that will redefine the landscape of the energy industry…” — Dr. Megan Lee, Managing Director of Quantum City
  • Image: Megan Lee, Managing Director of Quantum City; JohnPaul Portelli, Lead, Technology and Innovation, Canadian Natural Resources; Andrea Klaiber-Langen, Vice President Transformation, ATCO and Gili Rosenberg, Senior Applied Scientist, Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The recent qConnect 2023 offered a chance for quantum creators and users to connect, and shine a spotlight on the University of Calgary and the province of Alberta’s dedication to quantum adoption and commercialization.

This symposium of ideas in quantum also saw the launch of the Quantum City Challenge, a global competition that aims to apply quantum computing solutions to real-world problems in the energy sector.

The Challenge, hosted by Quantum City, facilitated by AWS, and supported by the Government of Alberta and the University of Calgary, reflects the quest of the Canadian quantum ecosystem to use its talent, knowledge, and innovation to unlock the potential of quantum technology.

At the November event, the Prime Minister joined in to help inspire the quantum community.

“This is a fast-growing field, and if we want Canada to remain well positioned within it, we need to continue to support the work you do,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the quantum experts, industry representatives, students, and public servants gathered at the event.

The Quantum City Challenge: A Global Endeavour For A Transformative Technology

For many quantum experts, the key term in Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement is “support” because these experts believe that the workforce does not have to wait for the quantum future – the initial phase of this technological era has already started. Quantum technology seeks to predict and explain the behaviour of atoms and molecules and involves the manipulation and control of systems at the atomic and subatomic levels. This technology has already led to transformative inventions like lasers and MRI machines. The upcoming second wave of quantum technologies promises even more groundbreaking developments in various fields, from personalized healthcare and highly efficient batteries to financial optimization and even ultra-sensitive sensors.

The Quantum City Challenge recognizes the potential of quantum technologies to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems and seize some of its biggest opportunities. The organizers set the stage for this global competition, harnessing the curiosity and ingenuity of the international quantum community to explore more use cases. Quantum City believes taking the next critical steps to deliver quantum’s real-world benefits, in this case, the energy industry.

Partnering with Alberta’s energy leaders ATCO and Canadian Natural Resources Limited, the Quantum City Challenge poses three problem statements for quantum computing experts and enthusiasts across the globe. These challenges include smart optimization of electric vehicle (EV) charging, improving tailings treatment, and enhancing the viscosity of bitumen for transportation efficiency.


“Open until March 2024, this challenge is a litmus test for the readiness of quantum technologies in Alberta’s industry. It is an opportunity to showcase how these advanced technologies can tackle real-world challenges, particularly in the energy sector.”


Open until March 2024, this challenge is a litmus test for the readiness of quantum technologies in Alberta’s industry. It is an opportunity to showcase how these advanced technologies can tackle real-world challenges, particularly in the energy sector.

“The Quantum City Challenge is a dynamic example of change in the realm of quantum innovation,” said Dr. Megan Lee, Managing Director of Quantum City.  “This unique global opportunity isn’t just about solving problems; it’s about shaping the future of energy solutions, especially here in Canada. Your brilliance is the key to unlocking quantum breakthroughs that will redefine the landscape of the energy industry. By participating, you not only contribute to solving critical problems but also position yourself for unparalleled rewards – prestigious speaking opportunities, support from AWS in credits, mentorship and more as well as the chance to further engage with the leading energy company your solution supports. The world is watching, and your innovation can make all the difference.”

“As part of our commitment to delivering inspired solutions for a better world, ATCO is increasing its fluency in and use of the technologies of the future,” said Andrea Klaiber-Langen, Vice President, Transformation at ATCO. “Partnering with Quantum City on the Quantum City Challenge allows us an exciting opportunity to explore the current capabilities of quantum computing, to gain insight into its future potential, and to be at the forefront of this promising field. Our hypothetical problem statement offers a realistic scenario through which quantum algorithms may be refined, driving them to their next level of maturity.”

Building on Pioneering Quantum Work

The University of Calgary has long been a leader in quantum research, steadily growing into a hub of scientific innovation. With its strategic focus on quantum technology commercialization, the university has the ability to take a significant leap forward.

Dr. Robert Thompson, UCalgary’s Associate Vice-President (Research), highlights the Quantum City Challenge as a bridge between quantum theory and practical applications, showcasing the university’s pivotal role in shaping the future of quantum technology. “Quantum City represents a strategic leap towards transforming ground-breaking ideas into tangible advancements,” Thompson said.

Alberta is actively investing in technological innovations, particularly in the field of quantum technology through the support of Quantum City. With a strategic focus on advancing research, development, and commercialization in quantum technologies, the province is positioning itself as a leader in this cutting-edge domain. By allocating significant resources and fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government, Alberta aims to not only stay at the forefront of global innovation but also drive economic diversification and sustainable growth in the digital era.

The Future of Materials Discovery: Reducing R&D Costs significantly with GenMat’s AI and Machine Learning Tools

When: July 13, 2023 at 11:30am

What: GenMat Webinar

Jake Vikoren

Jake Vikoren

Company Speaker

Deep Prasad

Deep Prasad

Company Speaker

Araceli Venegas

Araceli Venegas

Company Speaker

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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The Future of Materials Discovery: Reducing R&D Costs significantly with GenMat’s AI and Machine Learning Tools

When: July 13, 2023 at 11:30am

What: GenMat Webinar

Jake Vikoren

Jake Vikoren

Company Speaker

Deep Prasad

Deep Prasad

Company Speaker

Araceli Venegas

Araceli Venegas

Company Speaker

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