Quantum technologies are a strategic imperative
QIS investment is a strategic imperative, and Dulny and Kenyon are seeing this race playing out on the world stage. The United States continues to pursue legislative and executive actions to ensure its leadership in QIS. Since its signing in 2018, the National Quantum Initiative Act has driven a coordinated QIS R&D strategy to ensure the United States’ economic and national security in the fast-approaching quantum era. The NQI Supplement to the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget shows that the United States is well on its way to meeting its goal to double its QIS R&D budgets by 2022 from its baseline of $435 million in 2020.
Preparing for quantum technologies
Quantum technologies will not develop as iterative applications that are easy to anticipate. Nothing illustrates this better than the algorithms that have developed ahead of the hardware necessary to run them. Some are known, such as the algorithm expected to break public key encryption. Others are yet to be discovered. While it is easy to allow QIS research to feel like a future problem, it is important to call attention to the real-world impacts that exist today. Further, today’s research is doing more than refining future quantum use cases. As governments and organizations continue to invest in QIS, we learn more about innovative approaches within reach today and transformative applications in sight tomorrow.
Quantum changes the rules of the game
Dulny and Kenyon describe three key QIS technology clusters in detail: computing, sensing and communications.
- Computing: Quantum computers process information differently than today’s computers—also referred to as classical computers—and can significantly accelerate certain types of calculations.
- Sensing: Quantum sensors capitalize on new ways of controlling and exploiting the relationship between particles to improve measurement accuracy and enable new modalities for sensors.
- Communications: Quantum communications leverage quantum mechanical properties to improve information sharing and security.