In the wake of last week’s cancellation of the APS March Meeting, the world’s largest physics show, due to coronavirus concerns, the American Physical Society (APS) has formally endorsed the Virtual APS March Meeting site created by show participants as a digital alternative for knowledge sharing between presenters and attendees.
Led by the team at Q-CTRL, a quantum computing startup that was set to participate at APS, the Virtual March Meeting site was quickly created and went live within two days following notice of the show’s cancellation on March 7. As word spread among physicists on social media, the free site attracted attention from the thousands of scientists and students set to attend the March Meeting. To date, the site now has more than 120 presentations uploaded, most with video narration by presenters, over 7,000 users, and more than 41,000 page views.
Following is a statement on the APS web page regarding research sharing on the Virtual March Meeting site:
“We are pleased to partner with Q-CTRL to deliver the Virtual APS March Meeting website. There users can host or participate in live webinars hosted by Google, link to presentation materials or recordings, join technical discussions, and browse shared material.”
Site visitors can browse all of the originally scheduled sessions or find presentations by the date and time they would have been presented at the APS show.
The idea for the site was inspired by hearing from so many disappointed show attendees and presenters, according to Q-CTRL founder & CEO Professor Michael J. Biercuk.
“The March Meeting is an essential part of the annual scientific calendar, especially for the many thousands of students and junior researchers presenting scientific talks,” Biercuk said. “We knew we had to take urgent action and saw an opportunity to put our team’s skills in software development to work in support of the community. The site was literally built overnight and was live before the second day of the original schedule.”
Several other quantum technology startups and researchers collaborated to conceive the solution and provide critical early endorsement on social media, Biercuk said.
“We were very proud to collaborate with colleagues across quantum computing to bring this site to reality – it’s a great way to show how the private sector can give back to support the broader research community,” he added.
The Q-CTRL team hopes that the technology behind the site can be developed and expanded to support future meetings going online, both in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and as a mitigation mechanism for emissions-intensive international travel.
Q-CTRL was set to present technical talks and host a booth at the APS trade show. The team planned to use the APS meeting as a launch pad for the Beta release of its professional-grade BOULDER OPAL software tools for stabilizing and reducing errors in quantum hardware – the critical challenge of quantum computing. The company is now planning to hold a series of webinars with live demonstrations of the product starting in April 2020.
The American Physical Society (APS) is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Q-CTRL was founded in November 2017 and is a venture-capital-backed company that provides control-engineering software solutions to help customers harness the power of quantum physics in next-generation technologies.
Q-CTRL is built on Professor Michael J. Biercuk’s research leading the Quantum Control Lab at the University of Sydney, where he is a Professor of Quantum Physics and Quantum Technology. Q-CTRL has assembled the world’s foremost team of expert quantum-control engineers, providing solutions to many of the most advanced quantum computing teams globally.
The team’s expertise led Q-CTRL to be selected as an inaugural member of the IBM Q startup network in 2018. Q-CTRL is funded by SquarePeg Capital, Sierra Ventures, Sequoia Capital China, Data Collective, Horizons Ventures, and Main Sequence Ventures. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, the company recently opened its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles.