On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a $115 million dollar grant to Berkely Lab to develop a research center called the ‘Quantum Systems Accelerator’, or QSA for short. The center is will be led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory personnel.
According to Laurel Kellner, a Berkeley Lab spokesperson, the research center will include many scientists from 15 organizations spread throughout North America. Their goal is to increase the maturity-level of quantum technologies. A Berkeley Lab press release states that the grant will see QSA receive $23 million dollars a year for 5 years.
Kellner elaborated that, ‘The goal is to deliver prototype quantum systems that are optimized for major advances in scientific computing, discoveries in fundamental physics, and breakthroughs in materials and chemistry.’
Conventional computer technology uses bits to store and process data. In a conventional computer, data is stored in bits as one of two states at any given moment. A bit is either a 1 or a 0. An on or an off. A yes or a no. A true or a false. 2 states. In contrast, quantum bits, or ‘qubits’ can exist in many different states at once. If harnessed, this use of quantum mechanics will give humanity the ability to create computers that perform far higher than all of the top 500 supercomputers on earth combined.
Quantum computers will be able to perform extremely complex calculations at rates that could feasibly cure disease, revolutionize machine learning, and drastically increase the efficiency of the items we produce.
QSA will create new standards and is in partnership with several states, workforce boards, and location academic institutions to create learning materials that will train the future quantum workforce. QED (Quantum Economic Development Consortium) will work with QSA to achieve these goals. QED is an association interested in the growth of quantum industries within the United States.
QSA aims to be a catalist for the growth of quantum science. Through research and experiment, QSA intends to accelerate commercialization of quantum technologies.
QSA plans to increase the maturity of qubit technologies and processing techniquies that are already established. These include but are not limited to superconducting circuits and neutral atom arrays.
Berkeley Lab wasn’t the only organization to get a grant for quantum research. The Department of Energy also issued grants to 4 other laboratories that will do their own independent quantum information research.