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Second Round of Call for Applicants for MITOU Target Program Start in Field of Quantum Computers

August 9, 2018

In FY2018, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA) launched a MITOU Target Program under the theme of “next-generation calculators,” aiming to foster human resources engaging in efforts in new technical fields.

From August 9 (Thur.) to September 11 (Tue.), 2018, METI and the IPA will conduct a second call for applicants for the program under the subject of “gate-type quantum computers.”

1. Program

The IPA has been working on the MITOU program (official title: Exploratory IT Human Resources Project) for 18 years since FY2000, and has fostered about 1,700 talented people called “MITOU human resources”, i.e., graduates of the program. MITOU human resources have made contributions to many fields in Japan and 250 or more of them have started their own businesses or commercialized their own inventions.

Meanwhile, in recent years, research and development for new technologies have been dramatically advancing in the field of IT. To address this trend, METI and the IPA launched a new program called “MITOU Target” in FY2018. The program aims to foster human resources based on specific subjects in cutting-edge fields so that graduates of the program are able to take on new challenging technical fields. In this program, METI and the IPA will choose specific subjects from those in cutting-edge fields in which R&D activities are advancing worldwide, will call for applicants as human resources that intend to tackle these subjects, and will foster and support selected human resources receiving assistance from collaborating companies and universities.

As an effort in the FY2018 program, METI and the IPA conducted the first call for human resources that intend to build new software in which an annealing machine, a technology domestic companies are developing in particular, is utilized. At the second call for applicants, they will uphold a subject titled “gate-type quantum computers,” a technical field expected to be applied to mechanical learning and chemical calculation, and will support selected human resources (individuals or teams) that will be committed to development of middleware and other software for quantum computers, e.g., applications, interfaces (APIs), compilers, debuggers and countermeasures against errors in which gate-type quantum computers are utilized. METI and the IPA will call for applicants offering projects in which selected human resources will utilize their own ideas and technical skills to the maximum extent possible and will lead their achievements to contributions to future economic development.

2. Support system

Successful applicants will be entitled to receive expert coaching and instruction from the following two project managers (PMs) of the MITOU program who will also serve as mentors of these applicants.

(1) Mr. Naoki Yamamoto, Chair, Quantum Computing Center, Keio University / Associate Professor, Department of Applied Physics and Physico-informatics, Keio University

(2) Mr. Keisuke Fujii, Program-Specific Assistant Professor, Division of Physics and Astronomy, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University.

These PMs will foster human resources taking advantage of: the IBM Q Network Hub, an environment established at the Quantum Computing Center, Keio University; and emulators for quantum computers. In addition to these PMs, researchers, companies and other entities involved in quantum information technology and other related fields will collaborate with METI and the IPA to offer advice and coaching to selected applicants, thereby achieving human resource development in new fields under industry-academia-government collaboration.

3. Period of the call

Starting date: August 9 (Thur.), 2018
Closing date: 23:59, September 11 (Tue.), 2018

4. Explanatory meeting for the call

METI and the IPA will hold an explanatory meeting, the outline of which is shown below. If you wish to file an application for the call, please attend the meeting. For details on how to apply for the meeting and other information, visit the websites shown in Item 5 “Details of the call” below and find more information.

Date and time: 14:00, August 17 (Fri.), 2018
Venue: IPA Meeting Room C, 13th floor, Bunkyo Green Court Office (2-8-28 Honkomagome, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo)

5. Details of the call

For details of the call, including information on application guidance and application forms, visit the following IPA websites.

Reference 1: MITOU program

Reference 2: Gate-type quantum computers

Quantum computers are computers operated based on superposition of multiple states and other quantum mechanical effects, and they are currently expected to be effective in solving intractable problems. Some experts have proposed two types of the computers: the annealing type and the gate type. In particular, it was demonstrated that the gate type computers, which are general-purpose, versatile quantum computers, are able to calculate specific problems, for e.g., database search, prime factorization, linear systems and semidefinite programming, much faster than conventional computers. Moreover, small- and mid-scale quantum computers, which will be realized in the near future, are expected to be applied to a wide variety of fields, for e.g., mechanical learning and chemical calculation.

Reference 3: IBM Q Network Hub, Keio University

Keio University has established the IBM Q Network Hub as a research base for cutting-edge quantum computers at Yagami Campus of the Faculty of Science and Technology. The IBM Q is a general-purpose quantum computer developed by IBM, and Keio University is the only hub in Asia where researchers are able to access the IBM Q through a cloud computing system (as of August 2018).

Division in Charge

IT Innovation Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau