President Donald Trump today signed legislation to increase research and development in quantum computing.
The National Quantum Initiative (H.R. 6227) grants $ 1.2 billion over five years to federal activities aimed at promoting investment in quantum information science or GIS, and supporting smart quantum workforce.
The Act also provides for the establishment of a national quantitative coordination office, calls for the development of a five-year strategic plan and the establishment of an advisory committee to advise the White House on issues related to quantum computing.
"This great technological revolution has far-reaching implications for job creation, economic growth and national security," said Michael Cratsios, assistant vice president for technology policy, in a White House statement. "We look forward to building on efforts to support the smart workforce in the future, and to deal with government leaders, academics and the private sector in order to develop the quality information system."
The signing of the bill came after unanimous approval by the Senate and a vote of 348 to 11 votes in the House of Representatives.
Quantum computing benefits from exotic subatomic phenomena to provide capabilities beyond classical computers. Classical computing uses electronic bits that represent "either" or "out", one or zero. In contrast, quantum computers manipulate "quibits" that can represent zeros and zeros at one time.
A quantitative approach is particularly appropriate for certain types of tasks, including preliminary analysis of large numbers. This is important, because encryption techniques in modern times depend on primary factors. A quantum computer can be strong enough to penetrate a code that currently protects secure connections and financial transactions.
Earlier this month, a report from the National Academy of Sciences said there is an urgent need to develop "post-quantum" encryption protocols in order to protect trade and national security.
QIS research can also produce new types of quantum processors, sensors, navigation tools and safety systems. Challenges can lead to "new approaches to understanding materials, chemistry and even gravity through quantitative information theory," according to the White House strategy paper issued in September.
Researchers in the United States and allied countries have made much progress in quantum computing over the past two decades. For example, D-Wave Systems in Canada recently reported that the 2,448-kilobyte computer could be used to simulate superconducting alien phenomena. D-Wave, Amazon's billionaire Jeff Bezos among its investors, has been working for years with Google, NASA, Lockheed Martin and other customers on the boundaries of quantum computing.
Microsoft has its own initiative: At the top of GeekWire last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella listed quantum computing, along with artificial intelligence and mixed reality, as the core technology that would shape his company's future.
China and the European Union are investing billions of dollars in quantum computing, and the national quantum initiative, which has been adopted, aims to keep America at the forefront of the technological race.