The Energy Department is Investing $30 Million in Quantum Research


Is quantum computing the next big thing? Energy thinks it may be.

The Energy Department on Wednesday announced its plans to invest up to $30 million into building the groundwork for the next generation of supercomputers.

The funds, divvied up over three years, will support research into quantum information science, a sprawling field that forms the basis of quantum computing and other yet unrealized technologies.

Each of the agency’s five Nanoscale Science Research Centers—housed within national laboratories across the country—can apply for three-year grants ranging from $500,000 to $2 million annually.

“Quantum information science represents the future in a wide range of fields from computing to physics to materials science, and it will play a major role in shaping the technologies of tomorrow,” said Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “It’s vital that American science and American scientists lead the way into this new era, and these planned investments in our DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers are an important first step.”

Moore’s Law predicts microchip processing power will double every 18 months as engineers squeeze more transistors onto each chip. But technologists believe traditional computers might be approaching their physical speed limits. As such, scientists have begun exploring the subatomic world for innovative ways to process and store information.

Through the QIS initiative, the department aims to develop “new, exotic materials with unprecedented properties” that would enable researchers to dive deeper into quantum technologies.

The NSRCs, which collectively support more than 3,000 researchers, must apply to the program by July 18.