Canada has future tech leadership with quantum computers, AI, nanotechnology, fusion and molten salt

In 2018, Canada is ranked tenth in the world in nominal GDP. It is a rich developed country. Despite having an economy that is 11 times smaller than the USA or 7 times smaller than China, Canada has world competitive or world-leading projects in quantum computing, artificial intelligence, molecular nanotechnology, nuclear fusion and nuclear-molten salt.

If the 9 other top ten countries had the same level of future technology concentration as Canada based on economy there would be thirty times the level of nuclear fusion, quantum computing, AI and molten salt nuclear as Canada. If there was the same level of future technology concentration as Canada based upon developed population there would be one hundred times the level of nuclear fusion, quantum computing, AI and molten salt nuclear as Canada.

Nuclear Fusion

Canada has a leading nuclear fusion project, General Fusion. General Fusion has funding from Jeff Bezos, the Malaysian government and the Canadian government.

General Fusion is raising money for 70% scale fusion plant to be completed around 2023.

The Demo system will cost several hundred million dollars. General fusion is fundraising now. Several existing funders (Jeff Bezos, Canadian and Malaysian government) are likely participants in the next round. However, the fundraising cannot have actual disclosure until it is completed. As of late 2016, General Fusion had received over $100 million in funding from a global syndicate of investors and the Canadian Government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) fund.

All of the individual components have been matured enough to enable integration into a prototype pilot plant.

Over the five years of the demo plant there will be design, construction and a nominal 18 months of testing.

The plasma injector component built so far is a 2-meter plasma injector. It will be a 3-meter injector for the pilot plant.

Titanium fabrication is with GE Additive as a partner.

The current component for has 14 pistons and was not to achieve plasma compression but to work out other engineering issues.

The demo system will have several hundred pistons. Perhaps around 500.

Quantum Computers and AI leadership

D-Wave Systems has been the leader in commercial sales of quantum annealing version of quantum computing. They sold their first $10 million 128 qubit system back in 2010. They are now selling 2048 qubit systems. D-Wave is based in Vancouver, BC.

A leading quantum computer startup company is Rigetti computing. Rigetti Computing is building the world’s most powerful computers to help solve humanity’s greatest problems. Rigetti is the only company deploying full-stack solutions for hybrid classical/quantum computing. They have made their 19-qubit quantum computer available to users online through Forest, the world’s first full-stack hybrid programming and execution environment. Rigetti will have a 128 qubit system in 2019.

Chad Rigetti is the founder and CEO of Rigetti and went to the University of Regina in Canada. The same University that Brian Wang of Nextbigfuture went for his undergraduate.

Canada has an artificial intelligence ecosystem.

Professor Bengio is a Canadian computer scientist, AI pioneer, and part of the “Deep Learning Conspiracy.” Decades ago, when deep learning theories about neural network operations failed to meet practical applications, financial support froze and the research fell into an AI winter. Canadian computer scientists, Geoffrey Hinton, Yann LeCun and Yoshua Bengio, kept working on Deep learning and neural networks. Hinton and LeCun were recruited to work with Google and Facebook, respectively.

Advanced molten salt and fast reactor fission

Terrestrial energy is a leader in developing a molten salt reactor. Terrestrial Energy has a headquarters in Ontario, Canada. There are close ties to Alberta and the oil industry. Canada’s oil and gas industry are very entrepreneurial but also engineering focused. They are open to new energy technologies with strong engineering. Terrestrial Energy is leading with design and other preliminary certifications to get molten salt reactors build in Canada and the USA.

The Moltex molten salt reactor has a deal to develop its prototype reactor in New Brunswick. The reactor module will generate 150 MWe and weight only 18 tons and take up 50 cubic meters. This is three times the power as the Nuscale 50 MWe reactor module and take less than one-eighth of the volume.

Canada has two major molten salt reactor designs and projects. China is the other country with two molten salt reactor projects.

Advanced Reactor Concepts (ARC) is currently working towards development of a safe, 100-megawatt small modular metallic fuel, sodium-cooled, fast reactor. The company uses proprietary PRISM technology from GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and works with support from that company’s engineering and design teams. ARC and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy have a development agreement.

In July 2017, New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation announced Advanced Reactor Concepts would develop this new advanced reactor in New Brunswick Canada.

Atomic memory

Robert Wilkow, University of Alberta, has used machine learning techniques to control scanning tunneling microscopes (STM). they have shown a full alphabet of 8-bit memory and 192 bits of music. They have substantially improved automated hydrogen lithography (HL) on silicon, and transformed state-of-the-art hydrogen repassivation into an efficient, accessible error correction/editing tool relative to existing chemical and mechanical methods.

They have scaled from a more manual control of microscopes for writing and erasing to full automation. The speed has been over a hundred times of the smaller scale writing of a handful of points at time. They are now showing hundreds of atomically written points.

They will now working on further scaling of arrays of scanning tunneling microscopes and making the system robust enough to work at room temperature.

Near-term applications would be to make hundreds of potentially more robust qubits based upon quantum dots.

Working with others on leveraging the existing capabilities for applications in the hundreds to thousands of quantum dots.

Improving the scaling to and artificial intelligence control to thousands of writes and beyond to eventually millions of chips per year.