US White House Summit on Quantum Industry Highlighted Skills Shortage
(EENewsEurope) The quantum summit last week at the White House in the US included a roundtable discussion with representatives of the Executive Office of the President and leaders from quantum information technology companies. The roundtable focused on understanding the applications of quantum information science, the barriers for transitioning quantum R&D concepts into products or services in a global market, and the potential impact of quantum technologies on society.
The urgent need for more STEM education and high-tech internships was a recurring theme, based on the growing demand from industry to fill jobs in this field. Increasing America’s capacity to test quantum technologies was roundly considered a prerequisite for maintaining U.S. leadership. Industry representatives highlighted actions they are taking in this direction and pathways to partner with the US government to enable and support a global market.
Participants included Honeywell, which last month merged its quantum business with Cambridge Quantum Computing in the UK to create a major player in the merging technology. Rigetti Computing has completed building a quantum computing system in Oxford.
Dr. Charles Tahan, Assistant Director for Quantum Information Science and Director of the National Quantum Coordination Office, highlighted the need for accelerating this technology while finding creative solutions and protecting the technology. A report from the White House Subcommittee on Economic and Security Implications of Quantum Science highlighted the vital role foreign talent and international cooperation plays in the US quantum ecosystem.
“Quantum computing is the most profoundly world-changing technology that humans have uncovered to date. . . It was extremely gratifying that at the White House event it was finally being acknowledged by tech giants and the US government that – so far as anyone on this planet knows today – we need a million qubits to do anything useful with a quantum computer,” Dr. Tahan said. “Getting there in time to tackle some of our greatest challenges – including across climate, healthcare and energy – requires the sort of private-government partnerships that were discussed at the White House.”
The meeting also included D-Wave, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Northup Grumman, Vector Atomic and Zapata Computing as well as IonQ which is the first quantum computing startup to go public via a special acquisition vehicle (SPAC). IonQ raised $636m from the transaction to fund growth and accelerate the commercialization of its 32 qubit computer which is available through the cloud on Amazon Braket, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.