Quantum systems engineering: a structured approach to accelerating the development of a quantum technology industry

The exciting possibilities in the field of new quantum technologies extend far beyond the well-reported application of quantum computing. Precision timing, gravity sensors and imagers, cryptography, navigation, metrology, energy harvesting and recovery, biomedical sensors and imagers, and real-time optimisers all indicate the potential for quantum technologies to provide the basis of a technological revolution. From the field of Systems Engineering emerges a focused strategy for the development cycle, enabling the existence of hugely complex products. It is through the adoption of systems thinking that the semiconductor industry has achieved massive industrial and economic impact. Quantum technologies rely on delicate, non-local and/or entangled degrees of freedom — leading to great potential, but also posing new challenges to the development of products and industries. We discuss some of the challenges and opportunities regarding the implementation of Systems Engineering and systems thinking into the quantum technologies space.