The National Quantum Coordination Office (NQCO) in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted a conversation on September 3rd 2021 with the Directors of Centers and Institutes that were recently established under the National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act and the National Defense and Authorization Act. The NQI Program is a whole-of-government effort to accelerate quantum information science and technology (QIST) research and development (R&D) in the United States. QIST R&D catalyzed by the NQI Centers and Institutes has the potential to enable breakthroughs in numerous fields as a result of revolutionary approaches to computing, simulation, communication, and sensing.
The conversation focused on understanding opportunities, concerns and challenges for advancing the nation’s QIST enterprise. The five DOE National QIS Research Centers, five NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes, and three DOD/IC QIST Research Centers collectively represent a network of more than 100 National Laboratories, Federal and Defense Laboratories, Colleges and Universities, and industry partners.
During the discussion, Dr. Charles Tahan, the Director of the NQCO and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Assistant Director for Quantum Information Science (QIS), engaged with NQI Center and Institute Directors about opportunities for coordination, and potential actions that could accelerate U.S. leadership in QIS and its technologies.
Participants discussed approaches for leveraging our existing QIST infrastructure. The need for increased research training and workforce development, even starting at the K-12 level, continuing through post-secondary education, and including retraining and reskilling opportunities. An important theme of these discussions was public-private partnership and engagement with QIST industry to pioneer new applications for quantum technologies, better understand our workforce needs, and develop the necessary supporting technologies.
Finally, the conversation turned to research security and the ongoing efforts to develop technologies that help grow the U.S. economy and provide benefit to all of America. Several participants identified increased international cooperation as an important component to advancing the field, as the talent, technologies and supply chains are global.
To learn more about the Centers and Institutes, what the Biden-Harris administration is doing to advance and grow the QIST ecosystem, and current programs and policies focused on QIS go to https://www.quantum.gov.