(FedScoop) Quantum computing industry experts recently urged US agencies to invest more of their budgets in practical projects that address mission needs while advancing commercial products.
The US government’s ongoing quantum projects tend to focus on esoteric fields and theories like black hole edge conditions at NASA and high-energy physics at the Department of Energy, but that doesn’t help the Department of Commerce address more pressing issues like infrastructure and climate change, Christopher Savoie, CEO of Zapata Computing, recently said.
Moonshot-type projects are great in intention, often leading to unintended breakthrough developments, Savoie said. Lately foreign adversaries like China have been more successful at getting its industrial and academic bases to work on practical projects.
DOE provides researchers access to its testbeds — through the Quantum User Expansion for Science and Technology (QUEST) program — and its National Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers conduct research and development. Generally, the goal is to address a problem that industry can’t, before gracefully bowing out to allow the industry to become viable, said Rima Oueid, commercialization executive at the Office of Technology Transitions within DOE.
Private sector products remain in the early stages, and its important policymakers make targeted investments to ensure small companies can supply industry with quantum-enabling technologies like lasers and cryogenic cooling moving forward, said Celia Merzbacher, executive director of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium.