(TexasStandard) If Congress agrees to it, quantum computing will receive a 50% boost over last year’s budget, doubling in 2022, to $860 million. The administration says these two fields of research are important to U.S. national security, in part because China also invests heavily in these fields.
Though fully functional quantum computers don’t yet exist, scientists at academic institutions, as well as at IBM, Google and other companies, are working to build such systems.
Scott Aaronson is a professor of computer science and the founding director of the Quantum Information Center at the University of Texas at Austin, says “We do not yet know how to build a fully scalable quantum computer. The quantum version of the transistor, if you like, has not been invented yet.”
Aaronson believes the government’s role is to support basic scientific research – the kind needed to build and perfect quantum computers. “The way I put it is that we’re now entering the very, very early, vacuum-tube era of quantum computers,” Aaron says.