Are we going to live in a quantum future?

Yes, most probably! It is, therefore, so interesting to follow how the U.S aims to boost funding and workforce development for quantum tech. Sooner than we may realize, new technologies will take advantage of quantum properties to create...

Yes, most probably! It is, therefore, so interesting to follow how the U.S aims to boost funding and workforce development for quantum tech.

Sooner than we may realize, new technologies will take advantage of quantum properties to create powerful and faster computers, secure communications, new sensors and sophisticated industrial materials. These opportunities, based on novel quantum discoveries, will most likely improve well-being and health of individuals globally, stimulate economic growth and impact national security.

The leap to a quantum world will obviously take time. Look at the digital revolution that took place after the World War II. It took decades for discoveries to create the digital technologies that became affordable and used in daily life situations; computers etc. Today we are at the rim of a similar revolution – with an expectation of innovative applications to emerge with a steady pace over the next few decades.

Many countries are in the research and development phase of theory and applications related to quantum. By tradition, the U.S with its innovative tech industry and research program is now taking the next step in federal quantum funding to boost the research community. What we have seen is that industrial investment has increased considerably in recent years. Still the field is at an embryonic position with a need of substantial support in dealing with the challenges of building this emerging technology. Therefore, the U.S. administration has in 2018 created the National Quantum Initiative Act to establish the goals and priorities for a 10-year plan.

Deepening engagement with quantum industry: The revolutionary discoveries has already led to substantial industry attention on research and development. This includes small startups and large companies that are heavily investing in quantum and supporting technologies. The U.S. subcommittee on Quantum Information has also declared in a National Strategy Overview for Quantum Information Science that joint research centers – partnerships between academia, industry and Government – can accelerate pre-competetive quantum research. Therefore, the White House (Office of Science and Technology Policy), National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy recently announced a 1-billion-dollar initiative, over the next five years, to create twelve quantum and AI institutes around the nation that will work according to the following model:

The Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) is another initaitive of stakeholders that aims to enable and grow the U.S. quantum industry. QED-C was established with support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as part of the Federal strategy for advancing quantum information science.

The quantum investments also coincides with the digital battle between superpowers. The U.S. Chief Technology Officer (Michael Kratsios) recently said in an articleIt is absolutely imperative the United States continues to lead the world in AI and quantum. The future of American economic prosperity and national security will be shaped by how we invest, research, develop and deploy these cutting edge technologies today.

National Security: The potential of the rise of quantum technology should obviously be viewed in the light of challenges it brings to national security. Touching things from extremely secure communications to faster code breaking possibilities, which will require the development of new encryption methods, as most of the existing techniques will be vulnerable to algorithms run on quantum computers.

How do U.S. get ready for a post-quantum world? One recent initiative is the National Q-12 Education Partnership.  It is a new partnership between the Federal government, industry, professional societies and the education community that will expand access to K-12 quantum learning tools and inspire the next generation of quantum leaders. An interesting workforce development initiative that should inspire other countries.

Swedish and European research: The fields of quantum technology and AI is getting a considerable injection in Sweden thanks to a major investment by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The aim is to support the development of new and emerging technologies capable of contributing to Sweden’s long-term development as a knowledge nation. The quantum technology initiative is named: Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology. The participating institutions are: KTH, Chalmers and Lund University, contribute with resources together with Swedish companies, with a total budget of SEK 1 billion.

The Center will build up expertise within four sub-fields of quantum technology: quantum computers, quantum simulators, quantum communication and quantum sensors. A goal is to build a Swedish quantum computer capable of solving complex problems that current computers can’t manage.

A super-efficient quantum computer. Picture: Johan Bodell (Chalmers)

If you are interested in a quantum research positions in Sweden, please look at the following link for open positions.

In Europe, The Quantum Technologies Flagship aims to place Europe at the forefront of the quantum revolution, bringing transformative advances to science, industry and society. Since 1998, the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme has provided around EUR 550 million of funding for quantum research. The Flagship will run for ten years, with an expected budget of EUR 1 billion. In its initial phase, it will provide funding for 20 Projects.

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Henric Johnson