There's a worldwide race to dominate quantum computing, and two new pieces of legislation might help the US claim the lead. Senator Kamala Harris has introduced the first, the Quantum Computing Research Act, to provide a "competitive edge" in development. It would create a Quantum Computing Research Consortium in the Department of Defense to coordinate progress, offer grants and oversee initiatives. The measure would boost the economy, create jobs and bolster national security, if you ask Harris. Gizmodo, meanwhile, has seen a second draft bill that would start a decade-long National Quantum Initiative Program to set priorities for developing the technology, including investments and partnerships.
The US Congress is expected to give final approval to a bill that would further the development of quantum computing technology which would be used to improve the country's cybersecurity. The bill was approved by the Senate last week and once it is signed by the House, it is expected to be signed by President Trump whose administration has made the emerging technology a top priority. The US is currently trying to keep up with China in the race to develop quantum computing technology which could have huge implications for both national security and the cybersecurity community. "Establishing a national quantum program is essential to maintaining our position as global leaders in science and technology." Quantum computing's potential for cracking current encryption methods and developing more powerful ways of encrypting data in the future, have made it a priority not just for the US but for other countries as well.
IBM has announced a milestone in its race against Google and other big tech firms to build a powerful quantum computer. Dario Gil, who leads IBM's quantum computing and artificial intelligence research division, said Friday that the company's scientists have successfully built and measured a processor prototype with 50 quantum bits, known as qubits. Gil says it's the first time any company has built a quantum computer at this scale. IBM scientists have successfully built and measured a processor prototype with 50 quantum bits, known as qubits, the first time any company has built a quantum computer at this scale. The heart of modern computing is binary code, which has served computers for decades.
Quantum computing is an increasingly hot area for research and investment, with corporations like IBM, Google, Alibaba, Intel, and Lockheed Martin launching quantum computing projects aimed at bringing the technology -- meant to speed up the process of solving complex equations -- to commercial viability. In tandem with company investments, the European Union, US, and Chinese governments, among others, are also backing projects aimed at building commercial quantum computers. In the US, NASA, the NSA, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory are all involved in quantum computing projects. And in August this year, China launched the world's first quantum satellite in the quest for more secure communications. However, there are only a small number of private companies in the industry that have been able to raise over $1M, which suggests that commercial application of quantum computers -- for both hardware and software -- is nascent at this point, despite the hype.
Quantum computing is one of the most important of a range of trendy technologies in which policy makers are seeking to accelerate U.S. efforts to stay ahead of ambitious global rivals, particularly China. China has been making strides in quantum computing research recently, according to experts, and is set to open a major quantum laboratory in 2020. "Establishing a national quantum program is essential to maintaining our position as global leaders in science and technology," Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.), the Commerce Committee chairman, said following Senate passage of the bill. A recent administration paper predicted that quantum computing could "provide solutions to some of the nation's most pressing national security concerns," while also holding out the promise of "substantial economic growth potential through…new industries and products." Quantum computers harness subatomic particles to do calculations.