The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Wednesday, spending $625 million for five new quantum information research hubs. It is in line with the department’s goal of being ahead of other nations like China over the next five years in terms of emerging technology. The funding is part of White House’s $1.2 billion investment into two of technology’s promising frontiers, quantum computing and artificial intelligence (A.I.).
According to DOE’s press release, a $340 million investment will also be contributed by academic institutions and private sectors, which brings the overall investment close to $1 billion. The money is planned to be allocated for establishing several research institutions focusing on A.I.s and quantum computing.
According to researchers, quantum computers could perform a million times better than today’s supercomputers. This promising advancement may make potential tasks into reality, including chemical reactions, molecular structures, and even boosting A.I. power.
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios said in a press announcement that the U.S. must continue to be the leader in quantum and A.I. technology around the world. Aside from the research funding for quantum information, Kratsios announced another $100 million-plus investment for research for the National Science Foundation for A.I. technology.
Katsios also added that the research institutes would serve as world-class hubs for expanding American innovation and creating the foundation for the American workforce of the 21st century. Every year, the U.S. invests a hefty amount of more than $500 million in A.I. research. It is still doubling that effort to push on “American competitiveness,” said by the director of National Science Foundation, Sethuraman Panchanathan.
In early January, an official from Google warned that China could easily use its “enormous resources” into building supercomputers with advanced quantum technology. China may find its way into leading the technological race to the future. That is why U.S. scientists and officials began laying down the framework in July for a safer “virtually unhackable” internet using quantum computing technology.
The five quantum research hubs are each led by U.S. DOE’s Brookhaven, Argonne, Fermi, Oak Ridge, and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories. Each research hub comprises competent universities, other top national labs, and tech giant companies in quantum computing space. Some of these companies include International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Intel Corp (INTC.O), and quantum computer startups Rigetti & Co and ColdQuanta Inc. Moreover, a Canadian University and an Italian research lab are also interested in taking part in these tech research hubs.