27 Dec 2018
Bipartisan legislation creates national policy to encourage quantum research and technology development.
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics and publisher of optics.org, has welcomed the passage of the US National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act, (ref. H.R. 6227), a bipartisan bill which provides "for a coordinated Federal program to accelerate quantum research and development for the economic and national security of the United States."
The legislation includes a provision to promote access to existing quantum computing and communication systems for users, an addition called for by the National Photonics Initiative, a partnership which has been working on this legislation since 2017, and of which SPIE is a founding member.
The legislation establishes the National Quantum Initiative Program to speed quantum research and development over the next ten years; creates interagency coordination by authorizing a National Quantum Coordination Office and an interagency Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Furthermore,the NQI Act provides substantial, five-year funding authorization for collaborative centers of quantum research, bringing together university and industry partners at the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy; and increases funding authorization, also over five years, for National Institute for Standards and Technology quantum research and activities including the Quantum Economic Development Consortium.
“The passage of this landmark bill delivers the exciting promise of a future-focused, technology-smart world," said SPIE CEO Kent Rochford. "It's very welcome news, not just for the organizations involved in the National Photonics Initiative, but for the next generation of researchers, scientists, and consumers. As quantum technologies shift from the research stage to development and engineering, they are creating entirely new industries and opportunities for innovation.
“The bill establishes the collaborative framework that is needed to produce research breakthroughs that will ultimately lead to fully enabled quantum applications. The multi-year authorized funding provided in the bill makes clear the commitment the United States has to being a leader quantum information science and technology. SPIE stands ready to assist with implementation at the agencies involved, and to work with appropriators to fully fund this initiative."
SPIE will host the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) for a panel discussion on the photonic technologies that will enable the emerging quantum industry and how companies can support and participate in the National Quantum Initiative on 6 February, at Photonics West 2019 in San Francisco.