The government’s interest in quantum technologies dates back at least to the mid-1990s, when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Defense (DOD), and National Science Foundation (NSF) held their first workshops on the topic.1 NSF described the field of quantum information science in a 1999 workshop as “a new field of science and technology, combining and drawing on the disciplines of physical science, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. Its aim is to understand how certain fundamental laws of physics discovered earlier in this century can be harnessed to dramatically improve the acquisition, transmission, and processing of information.”2 In the nearly 25 years since NSF’s first workshop, quantum information science has advanced and its potential to drive major advances in computing power, secure communication, and scientific discovery have become more apparent. The U.S. government has rightly recognized that it needs to play an active role in ensuring the nation remains competitive in this critical field.
This report also makes 10 recommendations across these policy areas to Congress:
- Reauthorize the NQIA and appropriate at least $525 million per year (in addition to the CHIPS funding) for FY 2024 to FY 2028.
- Fully fund the quantum user expansion for science and technology (QUEST) program authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act to improve researcher accessibility to U.S. quantum computing resources.
- Establish a quantum infrastructure program within DOE to help meet the equipment needs of researchers as part of the reauthorization of the NQIA.
- Fully fund the NSF Quantum Education Pilot Program authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act, which would allocate $32 million over the next five years to support the education of K-12 students and the training of teachers in the fundamental principles of QIS.
- Direct NSF to collaborate with NIST to conduct a systematic study of quantum workforce needs, trends, and education capacity.
- Authorize and fund a DOE-led training program that partners students studying toward bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degrees with DOE national labs for hands-on QIS experience.
- Direct the Department of Commerce to work with the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C) to review the quantum supply chain and identify risks.
- Direct and fund the recently established Directorate for TIP within NSF to establish quantum testbeds for use-inspired research.
- Direct DOE to establish and lead a program that invites allied nations to co-invest in quantum moonshots.
- Direct NIST to prioritize promoting U.S. participation, particularly from U.S. industry stakeholders, in international standards fora in the reauthorization of the NQIA.