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Congress Should Fund $500M in Near-Term Quantum Computing Applications, Establish a National Quantum Research Cloud, New Report Argues

By IQT News posted 27 Apr 2021

(HPC.Wire) A new report released today by the Center for Data Innovation urges U.S. policymakers to ensure the United States remains a leader in the field by investing in these near-term applications. Doing so would bolster the development of longer-term use cases, according to the Center, which would help cement U.S. economic competitiveness and protect national security.
“The current enthusiasm for quantum computing could lead to a virtuous cycle of progress, as the semiconductor industry has seen, but only if we invest in near-term applications for the quantum computing technologies to ensure they are successful,” said Hodan Omaar, policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation and author of the report. “The U.S. government can best support the scaling up of current quantum technologies by fostering a commercial market for them in the near-term.”
The Center’s new report details how current quantum devices can already solve problems in an array of application areas, such as health care, manufacturing, transportation, and the environment. Researchers have identified several other potential application areas, but these findings remain in the research space. Even so, many nations, including China, have begun to target quantum technologies as a key industry, announcing large research initiatives and programs to further develop these technologies and advance their position in the field.
To ensure the United States remains a leader in the field, the Center calls on Congress to provide $500 million over five years to support academic research projects that have near-term applications. Ideally, this program would encourage and support research projects that align with regional economic development goals by fostering collaboration and partnerships between universities, local businesses, and state and local governments.
The Center recommends that Congress establish a National Quantum Research Cloud to provide academic researchers with affordable access and training for high-end quantum computing resources in a secure cloud environment. In addition, the Center urges the U.S. government itself to play a role in exploring quantum applications, not only to better solve agency-specific problems but also to signal the benefits of doing so to the private sector. Lastly, even though the development of a large-scale quantum computer capable of breaking cryptographic protocols is at least a decade away, the Center recommends that Congress consider incentivizing post-quantum cryptography transition in the public and private sectors.
“Quantum computing brings substantial national security implications, as well as the potential to transcend the current computational boundaries,” said Omaar. “Being a leader in this technology is of strategic economic and social importance to the United States. Policymakers should act now to start a virtuous cycle for quantum computing by supporting near-term quantum applications.”

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