(TheDiplomat) The United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a new program that would allow concrete measurement of progress toward building usable quantum computers. In a recent announcement, DARPA noted that its new “Quantum Benchmarking” program would “re-invent key quantum computing metrics, make those metrics testable, and estimate the required quantum and classical resources needed to reach critical performance thresholds.”
As the DARPA statement explains, one of the key problems plaguing the development of large-scale fault-tolerant quantum computers is the absence of standard benchmarks against which claimed breakthroughs in quantum computing could be measured and compared. As of now, several private players are pursuing quantum computers – including Google and IBM – but absent commonly agreed standards, it is hard to accurate value progress even as money pours into these initiatives.
“Companies and government researchers are poised to make large quantum computing investments in the coming decades, but we don’t want to sprint ahead to build something and then try to figure out afterward if it will be useful for anything,” Altepeter explained in the DARPA news release.