U.S. Department of Energy Joins Intel, IBM, Google, and Microsoft in the Quest to Develop a Quantum Computer

The agency charged with ensuring America’s “security and prosperity” by “addressing its energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions” has taken a big interest in quantum computing. I, for one, think this is amazing! This is the brainchild of Stephen Binkley, acting director of DOE’s $5.4 billion Office of Science in Washington, D.C. He wrote an open letter to researchers back in November, 2017, urging them to submit quantum computing-related proposals.

It’s not like DOE has been sitting on its hands (or its budget). In September, DOE awarded Berkeley scientists a $3 million per year grant to build a quantum computer. The grant also covered something very near and dear to me: the software needed to operate said machine.

“A Major Scientific Tool to Transform Our Understanding of Nature”

So again, this is nothing new for the DOE or Mr. Binkley. On October 24, 2017, Binkley gave testimony to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Specifically his statement was about “American Leadership In Quantum Technology.”

In it he stated:

Quantum information science clearly represents an emerging field with cross-cutting importance in most of the program offices of DOE-SC. Both its fundamental and more applied aspects bear directly on the Office of Science mission: the delivery of scientific discoveries and major scientific tools to transform our understanding of nature and to advance the energy, economic, and national security of the United States.

Given all the nations (e.g., China, Sweden) in the “arms race” for quantum supremacy, I am very happy to see DOE pushing a quantum agenda. Let’s face it, with their potential to impact encryption, create next-gen AI, and generally change the world, quantum computers are important to everyone. Especially those charged with our national security. Hats off to DOE for taking the lead in supporting researchers working in quantum information systems and quantum computing.