Advances in critical and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, and quantum information science and technology (QIST) are essential for the United States. innovation ecosystem. Quantum computing, in particular, symbolizes a major challenge and opportunity. Building a working quantum computer is one of the most important tasks in science and technology and represents the next step in computing progress. Sensing, communications and computing all provide a unique opportunity for QIST. Yet there are obstacles to achieving maximum benefit: increasing scale and improving real-world reliability, reproducibility and deployability remain elusive.
However, recent legislation does not give the same priority to emerging technologies: the focus on AI threatens to divert limited resources from QIST-related activities. AI and quantum can compete for limited resources, especially in terms of manufacturing facilities fleas. The AI wave could also absorb the majority of Talent and resources for the next decade, which we desperately need. As generative AI grabs headlines, the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQI) is in danger of expiring and is further complicated by political unrest and government funding uncertainty. Congress must reaffirm America’s commitment to QIST and recognize its critical importance to U.S. competitiveness and national security.
THE CHIPS and Science Act (FLEAS) seeded an important foundation for a new era of American QIST. Since the enactment of the NQI in December 2018, CHIPS has augmented previous efforts by injecting resources for quantum computing through federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE ) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For example, the DOE established an advanced computing program for fundamental research and NSF finance a federal e-scholarship-for-service program for students pursuing QIS-related degrees.
Quantum computing holds immense potential to overcome the limits of classical computing. Unlike the linear growth in performance achieved with classical systems, the power of quantum computers increases exponentially with additional qubits. Experts have demonstrated its applicability in various fields, such as machine learning and cryptography. Often referred to as “solving the problem of resolution itself,” this transformative field has the potential to redefine the technology landscape. Although classical and quantum computing each have their own merits and limitations, quantum computing is undoubtedly indispensable to our future.
QIST, like AI, is increasingly linked to geopolitics. Chinese investments in QIST represent half of the global total, intensifying competition between the United States and China in areas such as intellectual property and technology transfer. The potential of the Chinese Communist Party breakthrough Fault-tolerant quantum computing would revolutionize the field of encryption, providing them with unparalleled capabilities to decipher encrypted information. The public disclosures primarily present conceptual evidence for scientific purposes, but they imply that China may hold an advantage over the United States and the West.
On the other hand, these threats require fortified defenses. Quantum advancements could establish an impenetrable Internet channel and vastly improve U.S. codebreaking techniques. Post-quantum protection must become a priority for US institutions such as banks, telecommunications companies and government agencies. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency demonstrates direction in this domain. Ultimately, all nations aim to improve their quantum capabilities to prevent adversaries from gaining dominance and competitive advantage.
The looming potential loss in the pursuit of quantum computing has forced the Biden administration to issue directive. The White House assumed direct authority over the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee and directed government agencies to emphasize quantum computing while addressing the potential security risks posed by the technology to cryptographic systems.
Recent developments bring us to this inflection point. THE Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Readiness Act was signed into law in December 2022, and similar initiatives are vital. A QIST approach, similar to the methods implemented by the NSF Technology, innovation and partnerships, can be justified to maximize the societal benefits of this technology. What role should the government play in QIST and how should it invest in and prioritize QIST in the future?
This moment provides a timely opportunity to elevate American QIST to the next level. Much of our current scientific knowledge is based on decades of experimental research in fundamental physics. A new generation of research efforts must be further applied. Programming should expand to incorporate collaboration with end users, fund use-inspired engineering, and design focused on practical application. It must bridge the gap between demonstrating potential and solving real-world problems. Quantum doesn’t necessarily need an “AI moment,” but it certainly deserves our attention. attention.
The 118th Congress can consolidate America’s enduring federal position investment and monitoring of QIST R&D. To ensure the success of QIST, Congress must reauthorize and expand R&D activities under the NQI Act, while addressing national security, workforce, and supply chain concerns. Historically key to legislative efforts associated with AI, the Home The Committee on Science, Space and Technology could express interest in QIST just as the Senate emphasizes AI as their current priority. As the United States stands on the precipice of revolutionary technological advancements, it is crucial that Congress collectively champion the cause of QIST, ultimately shaping a future defined by innovation, security, and global competitiveness.
Joseph B. KellerPhD., is a cognitive scientist and visiting foreign policy scholar at the Brookings Institution.
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