Quantum News Briefs, June 15, 2022: US & UK governments move to protect & grow quantum technology, Classiq Coding Competition Awards & More
In Quantum News Briefs today, we open with an initiative by US Senators who are working to develop a Global Competition office for technologies–with quantum computing being one of the areas of most concern. This is followed by a report from the UK government on its national Digital Strategy to develop a tech skilled workforce and high performance computing/quantum computing. The future beckons aspiring quantum tech professionals with news of LANL’s “Beginner;s Guide to Quantum Programming” and with the Classique awards for its first “Classique Coding Competition”.
Senators Wary of China’s Tech Prowess Seek Global Competition Office
A bipartisan group of senators including the head of the Intelligence Committee, is pressing to create a government office dedicated to ensuring the US keep its competitive edge in key technologies such as quantum computing and AI.
“To compete with countries like China, we have to secure US leadership in critical emerging technologies,” said Senator Michael Bennett, a Colorado Democrat who is sponsoring the bill along with Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia and Republican Ben Sasse of Nebraska, “Today, we have no idea where the United States stands in these growing sectors compared to our competitors and adversaries.
A bill being introduced calls for an office of Global Competition Analysis that would combine intelligence and commercial data to gauge where the US is falling behind, come up with strategies to keep up with developments and protect areas where it has competitive advantages.
UK Unveils New Digital Strategy to Tackle Digital Skills & Large-Scale Computer Capacity
The UK Government is reviewing its Digital Strategy to support the tech sector, which has outperformed the wider economy for years. Now updated for the first time in five years, the new Strategy focuses on six key areas deemed ‘essential’ for growth, one of those being “Ideas and Intellectual Property” for future tech like AI and Quantum.
Two areas were specifically named last week at London Tech Week: digital skills and compute.
The tech sector has been in the middle of a skills crisis for years, exacerbated by Brexit and (to a much lesser extent) coronavirus. However, more than 80% of all UK jobs now require some form of digital skills. Government estimates suggest this digital gap costs the UK economy as much as £63 billion a year in potential GDP.
The ‘compute” focus area is the UK’s large-scale compute capacity, which covers high-performance areas like HPC and quantum computing. The Government is launching an external review to ensure the UK has the capacity it needs in the near future, led by Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, VP of research at Google and professor of information engineering at the University of Cambridge.
The Government is also set to publish the UK’s first Quantum Strategy, a Semiconductor Strategy and a whitepaper on AI governance later this year.
LANL Publishes Beginner’s Guide to Quantum Computer Programming
A new beginner’s guide from LANL for would-be quantum programmers, Quantum Algorithm Implementations for Beginners, from LANL provides a thorough introduction to quantum algorithms and their implementation on existing hardware.
In succinct, stand-alone sections, the guide surveys 20 quantum algorithms—including famous, foundational quantum algorithms, such as Grover’s Algorithm for database searching and much more, and Shor’s Algorithm for factoring integers. Making the real-world connection, the guide then walks programmers through implementing the algorithms on IBM’s publicly available 5-qubit IBMQX4 quantum computer and others. In each case, the authors discuss the results of the implementation and explain differences between the simulator and the actual hardware runs.
Extensive references at the end of the guide will help interested readers go deeper in their explorations of quantum algorithms.
Andrey Y. Lokhov, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author of the recently published guide in ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing. “Our guide helps quantum programmers get started in the field, which is bound to grow as more and more quantum computers with more and more qubits become commonplace.”
Classiq Coding Competition Introduced at Spring IQT San Diego Announces Winners of $25K Challenge
Classiq has announced the winners of the Classiq Coding Competition, the first competition focused on quantum efficiency. Quantum computers have limited resources, so building compact, optimized solutions that can make maximum use of those resources is critical. a $25K Challenge to Encourage Innovation and Build the World’s Best Quantum Circuits.
The Classiq Coding Competition awarded $3,000 for the best solution to each of the four problems, with runner-up prizes for second, and third-place winners. Additionally, special prizes are given for the most innovative solution to each problem, as well as in an ’18 and under’ category that received more than 150 solutions from all over the world. “The community commitment, level of engagement, and creativity were truly amazing” reported Classique.
Click here to see the list of winners and honorable mentions with photos.
Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990. She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.