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Sunday, March 25, 2018

US falling badly behind in Quantum Computing

US falling badly behind in Quantum Computing while the Chinese spend big and pull ahead. Even the EU is spending much more in this area than the US. The NNSA labs should be doing far more work in this area. Where is the badly needed DOE/NNSA funding to secure our nation's advantage in this highly strategic science?

Hutch Report Excerpt - March 19th, 2018 : 

..... Although the U.S. currently remains at the forefront of quantum information science, their lead is slipping quickly as other nations step up efforts to get there first. China holds the top two positions in the Top 500 list of the world’s fastest computers and the Chinese understand very well the potential power that quantum computing promises. For this reason they have allocated extensive funding towards the goal of producing a functional quantum computer before anyone else. On 37 hectares (nearly 4 million square feet) in Hefei, Anhui Province, China is building a $10 billion research center for quantum applications. This news comes on the heels of the world’s first video call made via quantum-encrypted communications and the completion of a quantum encrypted fiber optic trunk cable.

In comparison, the European Union is committed to invest $1 Billion over the next 10 years into their quantum computing projects while the U.S. government currently allocates about $200 million per year to quantum research (a recent congressional report noted that inconsistent funding has slowed progress). And many of the projects vying for grant money appear to be thinly veiled shams set-up as resellers or consulting firms with not much behind them.


Anonymous said...

What does this have to do with the NNSA labs? If quantum computing is so great than Google or Microsoft would be working on it. LANL had a whole group of quantum information/computing types back in 1990-2005, it had no relevance to the mission and LANL got rid of those people. I have no issue with quantum computing or quantum physics but the NNSA labs are no places for this work. People also go on and on about neutrinos as well but again that is work that should have never been at any NNSA lab. All this type of work i is funded from LDRD which is just a tax on programs and adds nothing to the mission or the funding comes from DOE but this leads to resources still being used up by the and allows certain people to spend some of their time not working on real programs. I would add that many of the quantum or LDRD people are academic types which is something we do not need at the labs. I hope Bechtel wins and cleans up the place. Sandbox science just creates egos and uses up precious resources.

Anonymous said...

Only the Hutchinson Report would claim the US is falling behind Europe when we're actually spending more than they are. Read down to the end, 200 million per year is more than a billion over 10 years, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

March 25, 2018 at 2:36 PM

Well there's still work going on at LLNL...
Breaking the Law: Lawrence Livermore, Department of Energy look to shatter Moore’s Law through quantum computing

The laws of quantum physics impact daily life in rippling undercurrents few people are aware of, from the batteries in our smartphones to the energy generated from solar panels. As the Department of Energy and its national laboratories explore the frontiers of quantum science, such as calculating the energy levels of a single atom or how molecules fit together, more powerful tools are a necessity.

“The problem basically gets worse the larger the physical system gets -- if you get beyond a simple molecule we have no way of resolving those kinds of energy differences,” said Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) physicist Jonathan DuBois, who heads the Lab’s Quantum Coherent Device Physics (QCDP) group. “From a physics perspective, we’re getting more and more amazing, highly controlled physics experiments, and if you tried to simulate what they were doing on a classical computer, it’s almost at the point where it would be kind of impossible.”

LLNL recently brought on line a full capability quantum computing lab and testbed facility under the leadership of quantum coherent device group member Eric Holland. Researchers are performing tests on a prototype quantum device birthed under the Lab's Quantum Computing Strategic Initiative. The initiative, now in its third year, is funded by Laboratory Directed Research & Development (LDRD) and aims to design, fabricate, characterize and build quantum coherent devices. The building and demonstration piece is made possible by DOE's Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), a program managed by DOE’s Office of Science that is actively engaged in exploring if and how quantum computation could be useful for DOE applications.

The science of quantum computing, according to DuBois, is “at a turning point.” Within the three-year timeframe, he said, the team should be able to assess what type of quantum system is worth pursuing as a testbed system. The researchers first want to demonstrate control over a quantum computer and solve specific quantum dynamics problems. Then, they want to set up a user facility or cloud-based system that any user could log into and solve complex quantum physics problems.

“There are multiple competing approaches to quantum computing; trapping ions, semiconducting systems, etc., and all have their quirks -- none of them are really at the point where it's actually a quantum computer,” DuBois said. “The hardware side, which is what this is, the question is, 'what are the first technologies that we can deploy that will help bridge the gap between what actually exists in the lab and how people are thinking of these systems as theoretical objects?'"


Bottom line is what drives Google or Microsoft, they are not funding the basic level research that is currently necessary to understand the viability of QC.

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to the LLNL article on QC

Anonymous said...

How does spending relate to results? Not a strong correlation in any research discipline, I'd guess.

Anonymous said...

Quantum Computing is an extremely important part of national security, for example, cryptography. It is also part of the whole AI push that is giving better data mining results for lots of different fields including those of importance to NNSA. To say it is not related to the work of NNSA shows extreme short-sightedness. To push for a Bechtel engineering-only directed management of the labs as the first poster wishes is actually a bit revolting. The labs have never been exclusively about atomic bombs and it is sad to see others push this narrow agenda. Both LLNL and LANL do important work in various nation security concerns, for example novel sensors to detect and measure nuclear tests.

Unfortunately, it is not just Quantum Computing research which is falling behind in the US due to growing short-sightedness. It's also missile technology. Do the naysayers here also want to include this in the stuff that NNSA should have no interest in, too? :

= Russia, China eclipse US in hypersonic missiles, prompting fears - The Hill, March 27th 2018 =

Russia and China are outpacing the United States in the development of super-fast missile technology, Pentagon officials and key lawmakers are warning.

Russia says it successfully tested a so-called hypersonic missile this month, while China tested a similar system last year expected to enter service soon.

“Right now, we’re helpless,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in advocating for more investment in hypersonics, along with missile defense...

Anonymous said...

"What does this have to do with the NNSA labs? If quantum computing is so great than Google or Microsoft would be working on it." (2:36pm)

And the are. What an uninformed, idiotic post! Google things like "Google D-Wave", "Microsoft quantum computer" and "IBM QC Cloud". My God, I hope you don't actually work as a researcher at one of the NNSA research labs.

Anonymous said...

No spending = no results. That's one way spending relates to results. Other than that, the Huff article is pure bunk.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is what drives Google or Microsoft, they are not funding the basic level research that is currently necessary to understand the viability of QC.

The bottom line drives all innovation. If quantum computing had any value whatsoever than Google, Microsoft, IBM or some other private company would be working this. Only academic places work in this sandbox and waste the taxpayers money. Why does the taxpayer have to use their precious money to fund egos to play. The labs are not academic places in fact they should not even be called labs as it gives the wrong idea. We are a national security facility, not the different from a military base.

Anonymous said...

15 yrs ago, took a 3 to 4 month course (one meeting a week) at LLNL on Quantum Information Technology from a world expert. Fun to review Quantum Mechanics theory and sophisticated mathematical proofs, but other than a few specific uses (like encryption and decryption of signals, etc..., there didn't seem to be any great breakthroughs in computations that would be possible, just because the computer would be using "qbits" (quantum bits) rather than "ebits" (electronic bits). What did we miss ? And any "qbit" system would be exceedingly slow compared to todays multi-GHz multi-core multi-threaded processors.

Anonymous said...

March 27, 2018 at 8:44 PM

You got it, this quantum stuff is fun but not part the NNSA labs. The NNSA labs are widget labs but not widgets that are to be built like quantum computers but to maintain old widgets and make sure they sort of work. Two very different things, if you are going to build new things you need researchers and innovators if you are trying to maintain something that has already been built than you do not need researchers, perhaps you need some technical ability along with compliance and people willing to plod along but not researchers. This has been why the NNSA labs have been such a failure, they need to recognize that they are not research entities, they are not engineering entities, they do not innovate, they do not adapt , they slow decay, or give the perception of a slower decay. The egos that want to do SCIENCE that want to do cutting edge ENGINEERING are poisoning the labs have been poisoning them for the last 30 years. Bechtel is going to fix this.

Anonymous said...

Bechtel is going to fix this."

March 28, 2018 at 2:52

Just in case you haven't noticed, Bechtel is out, out, out, of any serious bidding on the new LANL contract. Your favorite contractor, UC, will be back in charge soon. Go cry somewhere.

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