U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing to examine the Department of Energy’s (DOE) efforts for quantum information science (QIS) – working with the National Labs, universities, and private industry – which could transform the future of computing. Expert witnesses discussed the challenges and opportunities that currently exist with the technology.
Murkowski opened the hearing by emphasizing the importance of the U.S. staying ahead of the curve by investing in quantum technology.
“Whether mapping the human genome or landing on the moon, we have seen how committed research efforts can change the world,” Murkowski said. “Quantum promises to revolutionize the speed and scale at which we process data, which could allow for breakthroughs in energy, medicine, communications, and almost every other facet of our lives.”
QIS is the wide-ranging area of research that can harness quantum physics phenomena for application in sensing, communications, and computing, which could enable us to go beyond the physical limits of today’s computers to store and process far more data faster than ever thought possible.
One of the hearing witnesses, DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar, spoke about the growing importance of QIS on the international stage, and called attention to our domestic needs.
“Universities and the DOE National Laboratories are poised to generate new insights and approaches to information processing and other technologies. With strategic investments, America can remain on the leading edge of this next frontier of Information Age science and technology,” Dabbar said.
In his testimony, Todd Holmdahl, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of quantum, noted the United States’ opportunity to advance a “quantum economy” by supporting greater investment in quantum computing technology education initiatives.
“By partnering with industry to develop curriculum and provide on-the-job training and by establishing a national program to build a quantum computer, the Department of Energy can ensure our workforce is ready for quantum computing technology,” Holmdahl said.
Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video and testimony from today’s hearing are available on the committee’s website. Click here to view Murkowski’s questions for witnesses.