Bipartisan Legislation Seeks to Develop a ‘Quantum Sandbox’

MF3d/Getty Images

A new House bill wants to further spur research and development within the U.S. quantum technology field.

Bipartisan legislation aims to further allocate federal resources to developing quantum information technologies within the U.S.

Introduced by Rep. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., the Quantum Sandbox for Near-Term Applications Act prioritizes public-private sector collaboration to further innovate quantum technologies and systems. It specifically asks that the secretary of the Department of Commerce and director of its subagency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, set up a “quantum sandbox” program focused on fostering commercial tech development. 

“Quantum information science is a foundational technology that is transforming the economy of the 21st century,” the bill reads. “Robust leadership in quantum research and near-term development will have a great impact on the economic security of the United States.”

Under the bill’s provisions, the new quantum sandbox program will also work with the Quantum Economic Development Consortium and the National Laboratories on federally-funded research.

“Quantum computing is a game-changing advancement in technology. It will dramatically increase the speed at which computers can run algorithms and solve problems, enabling new opportunities to improve our supply chains, transportation networks, electrical grid and our communication resilience,” said Obernolte. 

Rep. Haley Stevens, R-Mich., has co-authored the bill, and Reps. Randy Weber, R-Texas, and Richard Hudson, R-N.C. have co-sponsored it.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have shown continued interest in advancing quantum research in the U.S. as multiple nations––most notably Russia and China––allocate more state resources to fostering a competitive QIST sector.

“Quantum computing has the potential to completely reshape our scientific landscape,” said Weber. “With China and Russia focusing their efforts on quantum encryption, which could allow for 100% secure communications, it is imperative that the U.S. maintain its leadership in this field. Quantum technology has the potential to improve every aspect of our lives thanks to its enhanced computing power and security.”