The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Penn engineering's new QUIEST center aims to advance Penn’s capabilities in quantum research. Credit: Ipek Obek

Penn announced the launch of its new Center for Quantum Information, Engineering, Science and Technology on June 13. 

Penn QUIEST is the product of a joint initiative between the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Arts and Sciences. Electrical and Systems Engineering professor Lee Bassett will serve as the center’s director, along with an executive committee comprised of faculty from both schools. The center aims to advance Penn’s capabilities in quantum research by facilitating collaboration across several STEM fields.

“This is an exciting moment,” Bassett said in Penn Engineering Today. “As the only center of its kind in the Philadelphia area, Penn QUIEST will advance the near-term objectives of quantum information science, helping to develop quantum computers, quantum networks, and quantum sensors in our city.”

Quantum information science is an emerging field that uses the principles of quantum mechanics to study the processing and transmission of information. By relying on properties of nature at an atomic and subatomic scale, it can bypass the physical limits of information science. 

Penn has long offered programs in quantum-related fields, including physics, biotechnology, and information technology, but had not yet established a hub for quantum science. QUIEST will allow Penn to centralize its pre-existing involvements in related subjects and enhance the impact that researchers at Penn make, Bassett told

“You have quantum physics, you have information science, you have engineering, and then you also have science and technology, because the whole point here is to develop applications that are useful,” he said. “This is, I think, a really big opportunity to leverage a lot of the really strong existing research programs that Penn has, and also more broadly in our Philadelphia region.”

QUIEST aims to offer new possibilities for academic discourse, projects, and experimentation across departments and disciplines. In addition to assembling 30 current faculty members, the center will gain a group of new faculty hires through the Engineering School. 

“This Center will create a cohesive, collaborative community for students and researchers from across Penn to lead the world in advancing the boundaries of quantum science and technology towards meaningful, positive global impact,” SAS Dean Steven Fluharty told Penn Engineering Today.