Components for IBM’s quantum computer are on display at a science conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for experts to guide the White House and federal agencies through the weird world of quantum information science.

Today’s solicitation seeks nominations to the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee, a panel that gets its mandate from legislation that President Donald Trump signed into law last December.

In addition to calling for the establishment of the advisory committee, the National Quantum Initiative Act sets aside $1.2 billion over five years to support research, development and workforce training relating to quantum information science.

Quantum approaches to information processing are expected to bring dramatic changes to computer science in the years ahead. While classical computers deal exclusively with binary data in the form of ones vs. zeroes, quantum computers could manipulate quantum bits — or qubits — that can hold different values simultaneously until the results are read out.

Computer scientists say the unorthodox approach could solve specific classes of problems, such as simulating chemical reactions or cracking encryption codes, far more quickly than classical computers could.

Microsoft recently convened a summit at the University of Washington to bring together the Pacific Northwest’s experts on quantum information science. Other companies active in the field range from heavyweights such as IBM, Google and Boeing to startups such as D-Wave Systems, which is headquartered near Vancouver, B.C.

In a statement announcing the search for advisory committee members, White House chief technology officer Michael Kratsios noted that the Trump administration “has identified quantum information science as a critical ‘Industry of the Future’ that will grow the economy, enhance national security and benefit the American people.”

Paul Dabbar, under secretary for science at the Energy Department, said it’s a “very exciting time …read more

Source:: GeekWire


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