Quantum computing leverages principles from quantum mechanics (a branch of physics), notably the unique behaviors of subatomic particles such as electrons and photons, to enable new, extremely powerful computing architectures.
“It does seem like it’s a fairly good initiative overall,” said Elsa Kania, adjunct fellow of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for New American Security, or CNAS, and co-author of a report released the same day calling for greater focus on the quantum race against China. “It generally hits a lot of the right points.” But Kania also argued that the U.S. needs more specific guidance from Congress.
Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and development. Among other things it would establish a National Quantum Coordination Office within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to oversee a “whole-of-government” effort.
The promise, and threat, of quantum computing is still years away. But quantum experts fear a lack of government emphasis and coordination on research strategy could upend U.S. digital and national security.
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made a $60 million award to fund the largest and most powerful supercomputer the agency has ever supported to serve the nation's science and engineering (S&E) research community. The new high-performance computing (HPC) system, to be called Frontera, will be located at the University of Texas at Austin's (UT Austin) Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).
These are interesting times we are living in. Gone are the days that children play outside for hours on end and are told to be home before the street lights come on. The days are also gone when children would rather play outside because they did not own any technology devices to occupy their time.
China is building a 1 billion yuan (US$145.4 million) “superconducting computer” - an unprecedented machine capable of developing new weapons, breaking codes, analysing intelligence and - according to official information and researchers involved in the project - helping stave off surging energy demand.
Quantum computing has the potential to tackle problems conventional computers can’t handle, such as discovering how diseases develop and creating more effective drugs to treat them. It exploits fundamental laws of physics to solve complex computing problems in new ways that are not well served by classical computers. The potential of its massive, parallel-computing power has driven academia, government and private companies alike in a race to invent it.
From codebreaking to aircraft design, complex problems in a wide range of fields exist that even today's best computers cannot solve. To accelerate the development of a practical quantum computer that will one day answer currently unsolvable research questions, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $15 million over five years to the multi-institution Software-Tailored Architecture for Quantum co-design (STAQ) project.