US mobilizing funding for Quantum AI to match China in multi-billion race

The White House released a National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science that outlines its plan for advancing the field. The Department of Energy and National Science Foundation also announced grant awards totaling $218 million and $31 million.

The Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research is awarding $81 million to develop computing hardware and software, including two new quantum computing testbeds at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories that will operate similarly to DOE’s other national user facilities. The Offices of Basic Energy Sciences and High Energy Physics are awarding $106 million and $31 million, respectively, to advance R&D on a wide range of topics, from quantum materials synthesis techniques to quantum-based sensors capable of detecting dark matter particles.

This push in Quantum Information Science funding follows the DARPA $2 billion over 5 years for Artificial Intelligence. DARPA’s multi-year strategy seeks contextual reasoning in AI systems to create more trusting, collaborative partnerships between humans and machines.

China had announced $10 billion for Quantum research a new facility opening in 2020. Alibaba and other chinese companies will commit over $15 billion for AI and quantum computing research.

China has demonstrated rapid advances and genuine innovation in a range of hi-tech disciplines that have potentially transformative implications for its strategic competition with the US and other actors in the Indo-Pacific.

The US government is increasingly concerned that China’s ability to marshal and direct the resources of its hi-tech sector in support of development goals represents a strategic advantage.

Choosing a science-first approach to QIS

* Strengthen Federally-funded core research programs and use approaches ranging from
distributed small grants to centers and consortia where appropriate, to support long-term QIS
research
* Foster dialogue and collaboration between quantum-focused researchers across disciplines,
and engage the broader scientific community to highlight and share relevant scientific
advances, and grow and coordinate the quantum research community
* Establish and utilize a formal coordination body, such as the National Science and Technology
Council Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science (SCQIS)
* Focus on Grand Challenges as a mechanism for driving advancements in the science and
technology of QIS, and encourage Federal agencies to identify, prioritize, and coordinate
investment in both fundamental and applied challenges

Creating a quantum-smart workforce for tomorrow

* Encourage industry and academia to create convergent, trans-sector approaches for diverse
workforce development to meet the Nation’s QIS needs
* Use and enhance existing programs to increase the size of the QIS-ready workforce
* Encourage academia to consider quantum science and engineering as its own discipline, with
needs for new faculty, programs, and initiatives at all levels
* Address education in the area of quantum science at an early stage, including elementary,
middle and high school levels
* Reach out to broader audiences by working with involved agencies and industry to highlight
their investments, along with novel or unconventional approaches like utilizing art, media,
and engagement with cultural institutions
* Encourage the QIS community to track and estimate the future workforce needs of quantum
industry

Deepening engagement with quantum industry
Providing critical infrastructure
Maintaining national security and economic growth
Advancing international cooperation

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