Emerging Tech

Senate passes plan to invest $1.2 billion in quantum research

quantum computing 

The Senate cleared the way for the president to approve implementation of a 10-year plan to accelerate quantum computing research and development.

The National Quantum Initiative Act, introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, passed the Senate Dec. 14 by unanimous consent.

The House version of the bill was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) with 36 cosponsors and passed by voice vote in September.

The bill would inject $1.2 billion in funding over 10 years into quantum research, tapping the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation to jumpstart the effort.

It also directs the White House to implement the plan, and authorizes a National Quantum Coordination Office and an interagency subcommittee on quantum information science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"Establishing a national quantum program is essential to maintaining our position as global leaders in science and technology," said Thune, adding the bill "should make it to the President's desk before year's end."

While a fully functional quantum computer may not arrive in the near future, quantum experts point to certain fields and applications that show promise and say that the U.S. should not neglect significant investment in the science's research and technologies.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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