Trump administration establishes $75 million quantum computing centers

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The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced Tuesday the establishment of three quantum computing centers across the nation, involving an investment of $75 million.

The new Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes will each receive $25 million to address research and development in the quantum computing space, along with helping to develop curriculum for students in the quantum computing field to help expand the workforce in this area. 

The center set to be established at the University of California Berkeley will address present and future quantum computing, while the center at the University of Illinois will focus on hybrid quantum architecture and networks. The third institute, at the University of Colorado, will look into the development of quantum sensors to help with more precise measurements across a variety of fields.

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios said in a statement that the new centers would boost “cutting-edge industries of tomorrow.”

“With the announcement of three new quantum institutes, the Trump Administration is making a bold statement that the United States will remain the global home for QIS research,” Kratsios said. “Our new Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes will advance America’s long history of breakthrough discoveries and generate critical advancements for years to come.”

The establishment of the centers stems from a provision in the National Quantum Initiative Act, which President Trump signed into law in 2018. The law requires the director of the NSF to award funding to universities to help establish between two to five “multidisciplinary centers for quantum research and education.”

NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said in a statement Tuesday that “within five years, we are confident these institutes can make tangible advances to help carry us into a true quantum revolution.”

“Quantum information science has the potential to change the world,” he added. “But to realize that potential, we must first answer some fundamental research questions. Through the Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes, NSF is making targeted investments.” 

The establishment of the centers comes as the Trump administration is attempting to increase funding for quantum initiatives in the 2021 fiscal year, with President Trump proposing a 50 percent increase in the budget for quantum information science research. 

There has been further interest in the issue of quantum computing on Capitol Hill as well, with leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee introducing legislation in January meant to increase investments in artificial intelligence and quantum computing. 

A separate bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in May introduced the Endless Frontiers Act to create a Directorate of Technology at the NSF that would be given $100 billion over five years to invest in American research and technology issues, including quantum computing. 

Tags Charles Schumer Computer science Donald Trump Quantum computing Science and technology University of Colorado
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