The Short Report, October 23, 2019: BoosterPacks, quantum supremacy, rare earth metals

Mark Mann
October 23, 2019

CANARIE launched a new free tool called BoosterPacks to help Canadian entrepreneurs adopt new technologies. Each BoosterPack is curated for specific emerging technologies, like Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, and data analytics. The BoosterPacks contain an essential guide to the technology, including documentation of implementation and architecture options; a sample solution that demonstrates the technology; and up to a year's worth of monthly credits from Canadian cloud providers to build, test, and experiment with pre-revenue products and services. - CANARIE

A team of Google researchers published a paper claiming to have achieved "an experimental realization of quantum supremacy... heralding a much-anticipated computing paradigm." The authors say they have shown "that quantum speedup is achievable in a real-world system and is not precluded by any hidden physical laws." CIFAR fellow David Bacon is named on the paper; CIFAR advisor John Preskill coined the term “quantum supremacy.” - Nature

Startup Edmonton will collaborate with Microsoft to help its members access technology, mentorship and business benefits, through tailored events and programming. - Edmonton Journal

The Canadian rare earths’ sector has scaled back its mining ambitions and turned instead to recycling, reports Gabriel Friedman in the Financial Post. Rare earths are used in key technologies for green energy, such as electric vehicles and wind turbines, but also in many other electronics, like smartphones. China dominates the supply chain, so Canadian companies like Geomega are taking a more cautious approach than exploring for deposits; instead, they released plans to build a recycling plant, with an estimated $30 million in annual revenue. - Financial Post

Alternative meat company Lightlife got a competitive boost this month when the American restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s chose their plant-based burgers over larger rival Impossible Foods’ plant-based burgers. Lightlife burgers are made by Greenleaf Foods, a unit of Canadian packaged meat producer Maple Leaf Foods. - Reuters

The Quebec government is launching a $100-million high-speed rural internet fund, projets Régions branchées, that will support digital infrastructure projects to connect 70,000 homes and several thousand businesses to high-speed Internet. - MobileSyrup

A leaked internal email revealed that Alberta post-secondary institutions are anticipating three consecutive years of cuts to public funding. “The post-secondary sector in our province is anticipating major cuts following the release of the Alberta government’s budget on Oct. 24,” wrote Brad Clark, chair of journalism and broadcast media studies at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, in an email to the advisory committee last Wednesday. Departments at the university are planning for a 10 per cent cut the first year, another 10 per cent cut the second year and five per cent the third year. - Edmonton Journal


Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) named Dr. Shawn Marshall from the University of Calgary as its first-ever departmental science adviser. Marshall applied for the ECCC position because he wanted to affect more meaningful change than he felt he could strictly as a researcher. “When it comes to climate change, the questions and challenges to the science aren’t really valid anymore," he said. "It’s very clear what is happening. And I could work another 20 years and publish another 100 papers on this topic, but would it make a difference compared to trying to move the ball forward?” - University of Calgary

Lightspeed founder and CEO Dax Dasilva was named Innovator of the Year by The Globe and Mail's Report on Business. This year, the company launched Lightspeed Loyalty globally and Lightspeed Payments as well as an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange that saw it valued at approximately CAD $1.4 billion—the biggest IPO by a Canadian technology company in nearly nine years. - Newswire

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) named Dr. Claudia Krywiak its new President and CEO. Krywiak has been at OCE since 2011, first as Director, Partnership Development and Corporate Planning, then as Vice President, Corporate Planning, Development and Strategic Initiatives, and most recently as Interim President & CEO, since July. Krywiak is also a board member at the global architecture, planning, engineering and technology firm IBI Group. “It’s an honour to have been chosen to lead OCE given the long and successful history of the organization in driving job creation and economic opportunities in the province while helping Ontario-based SMEs and young entrepreneurs commercialize technologies both at home and in the global marketplace,” said Krywiak in a press release. - Ontario Centres of Excellence

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