White House Gathers Google, IBM, Lockheed Martin To Discuss Quantum Computing

White House
White House gathered the big players in the tech and financial industries for a meeting aimed at discussing the nation’s strategy towards winning the race in quantum computing technology. (Photo: Pixabay)

The White House Office Of Science and Technology Policy invited Google, IBM Corp., Intel, JPMorgan Chase, and Co., for a meeting on Sept. 24. The agenda is to discuss government's efforts in pushing the nation's quantum information science capabilities.

Other big firms included in the meeting were Honeywell International Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., AT&T Inc., and Northop Grumman Corp.

On the government side, officials from Pentagon, the National Security Agency, NASA, and the White House National Security Council attended the assembly. Key officers from the departments of energy, homeland security, agriculture, and interior were also called to attend the gathering.

The meeting happened weeks after the House of Representatives approved the National Quantum Initiative Act, a legislation that will create a unified national quantum strategy, Reuters reported. The legislation would permit $1.3 billion federal funding through 2023.

The Associated Press said one reason why Congress passed the legislation is the fear of emergent competition from China. The U.S. officials were concerned that the United States will be overtaken by other nations if Washington continues to be reluctant to push a unified quantum computing strategy.

Lamar Smith, who chairs the House science, space, and technology committee, said China has vocally expressed its desire to supersede Washington in the next decade. With the National Quantum Initiative Act, Washington can sustain its dominance in the scientific world, Smith highlighted. He added that the Senate will pass an accompanying bill before 2018 ends.

Nevertheless, the U.S. government is attracted to the promising economic benefits if its leads the quantum computing race according to the Associated Press.

Prineha Narang, a Harvard University assistant professor of computational materials science, said financial support from the federal government will ensure that more scientists and engineers can develop quantum computers and explore potential commercial benefits from the technology.

Quantum computer has the ability to operate millions of times faster than the most advanced supercomputers the world has today. Reuters noted that the technology is still in its infancy level at present but once it achieved its full development it could speed up the processing of healthcare, financial procedures, communications, transportation, weather forecasting, and artificial intelligence.

IBM currently has a prototype of the technology and is aiming to produce more qubits. Google and Rigetti Computing are also at this time developing more qubits onto their prototypes.

In China, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have joined the race to be the first company to launch a full developed quantum technology. 

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