SPIE Applauds U.S. House Science Committee for National Quantum Initiative Legislation

The legislation aims to accelerate U.S. quantum research and development

13 June 2018

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA - The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and its chairman, Lamar Smith (R-TX), yesterday released an outline of the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018. The legislation is expected to be formally introduced and considered in the Science Committee this month.

The National Quantum Initiative Act, predicated on the conviction that Quantum Information Science is crucial to the United States' economic and national security, establishes a federal program to accelerate quantum research and development, as well as aiming to ensure that the United States maintains a leadership position in science and technology. Quantum initiatives have already been established in a number of countries including Australia and Canada. The European Union (EU) Quantum Flagship program was funded at $1.3 billion over ten years and the UK's Quantum Hub Network was funded at $150 million over ten years.

Quantum Information Science utilizes aspects of quantum physics for valuable, real-world technologies. These technologies can handle computationally complex problems, provide communication security, and enhance navigation, imaging and other sensing technologies in ways that are impossible using conventional hardware.

The National Quantum Initiative Act will create a 10-year program to advance quantum development and technology applications. The legislation will:

• Establish a federal-government approach to moving Quantum Information Science to the next level of research and development
• Establish a National Quantum Coordination Office within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
• Support basic Quantum Information Science research and standards development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
• Encourage U.S. companies which are investing in quantum research - as well as a wave of quantum technology start-ups - to contribute their knowledge and resources on a national level
• Address fundamental research gaps, create a stronger workforce pipeline, and take the lead in developing quantum standards and measures for global use

The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of the impact of photonics on everyday lives and of which SPIE and The Optical Society are founding sponsors, has been actively working with lawmakers to lay the ground work for this critical legislation. Last year, the NPI developed a white paper entitled A Call for a National Quantum Initiative. In April 2018, the NPI unveiled the National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Action Plan and presented it to lawmakers during NPI Capitol Hill Day that same month.

"A coordinated federal effort is needed to accelerate the quantum research being done today and to enable the technologists and engineers who can create the supporting systems and new applications that will unleash innovation," said SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. "The advances in quantum technologies made by our community over the next five to ten years will have the potential to support development of new materials, enhance sensors, identify new medicines, streamline supply chains, increase transaction security, and enable efficient transportation of goods and people. I want to thank Chairman Smith for his forward-looking vision in recognizing that advances in quantum science and technologies will provide wide-ranging benefit to society. "

The operational goals of the National Quantum Initiative Act are to produce a world-leading industrial quantum technology workforce; engineer, industrialize and automate quantum technology; provide access to the emerging quantum computer systems; develop conventional technology and intellectual property; produce quantum software and new applications; and continue the research needed to support these goals.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2017, SPIE provided more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org.

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