Quantum Computing Research Gets Boost from Federal Government

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The federal government is directing millions of research dollars into quantum computing; AI is expected to speed development.

By AI Trends Staff

The US federal government is investing heavily in research on quantum computing, and AI is helping to boost the development.

The White House is pushing to add an additional billion dollars to fund AI research that would increase AI R&D funding research to nearly $2 billion and quantum computing research to about $860 million over the next two years, according to an account in TechCrunch on Feb. 7.

This is in addition to the $625 million investment in National Quantum Information Science Research Centers announced by the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Office of Science in January, following from the National quantum Initiative Act, according to an account in MeriTalk.

“The purpose of these centers will be to push the current state-of-the-art science and technology toward realizing the full potential of quantum-based applications, from computing, to communication, to sensing,” the announcement stated.

The centers are expected to work across multiple technical areas of interest, including quantum communication, computing, devices, applications, and foundries. The centers are expected to collaborate, maintain science and technology innovation chains, have an effective management structure and needed facilities.

The department expects awards to range from $10 million to $25 million per year for each center. The goal is to accelerate the research and development of quantum computing. The department is looking for at least two multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary teams to engage in the five-year project. Applications are being accepted through April 10.

Russian Researchers Searching for Quantum Advantage

In other quantum computing developments, Russian researchers are being credited with finding a way to use AI to mimic the work of quantum “walk experts,” who search for advantages quantum computing might have over analog computing. By replacing the experts with AI, the Russians try to identify if a given network will deliver a quantum advantage. If so, they are good candidates for building a quantum computer, according to an account in SciTechDaily based on findings reported in the New Journal of Physics.

The researchers are the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), the Valiev Institute of Physics and Technology, and ITMO University.

Problems in modern science solved through quantum mechanical calculations are expected to be better-suited to quantum computing. Examples include research into chemical reactions and the search for stable molecular structures for medicine and pharmaceutics. The Russian researchers used a neural network geared toward image recognition to return a prediction of whether the classical or the quantum walk between identified nodes would be faster.

“It was not obvious this approach would work, but it did. We have been quite successful in training the computer to make autonomous predictions of whether a complex network has a quantum advantage,” stated Associate Professor Leonid Fedichkin of the theoretical physics department at MIPT.

Associate Professor Leonid Fedichkin, Associate Professor of theoretical physics department at MIPT

MIPT graduate and ITMO University researcher Alexey Melnikov stated, “The line between quantum and classical behaviors is often blurred. The distinctive feature of our study is the resulting special-purpose computer vision, capable of discerning this fine line in the network space.”

With their co-author Alexander Alodjants, the researchers created a tool that simplifies the development of computational circuits based on quantum algorithms.

Google, Amazon Supporting Quantum Computer Research

Finally, Google and Amazon have recently made moves to support research into quantum computing. In October, Google announced a quantum computer outfitted with its Sycamore quantum processor completed a test computation in 200 seconds that would have taken 10,000 years to match by the fastest supercomputer.

And Amazon in December announced the availability of Amazon Braket,a new managed service that allows researchers and developers experimenting with computers from multiple quantum hardware providers in a single place. Amazon also announced the AWS Center for Quantum Computing adjacent to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to bring together quantum computing researchers and engineers together to accelerate development in hardware and software.

Tristan Morel L’Horset, the North America intelligent cloud and infrastructure growth lead for Accenture Technology Services

“We don’t know what problems quantum will solve because quantum will solve problems we haven’t thought of yet,” stated Tristan Morel L’Horset, the North America intelligent cloud and infrastructure growth lead for Accenture Technology Services, at an Amazon event in December, according to an account in Information Week.

This is the first opportunity for customers to directly experiment with quantum computing, which is “ incredibly expensive to build and operate.” It may help answer some questions. “A lot of companies have wondered how they would actually use it,” L’Horset stated.

Read the source articles in TechCrunch, MeriTalk, SciTechDaily and Information Week.