NIST calls for quantum tech experts to join advisory group

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As global agencies are preparing to set standards in quantum technology, NIST is working on forming a U.S. delegation to represent American perspectives.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is in the process of forming a group of experts in quantum information sciences and technology to help craft technological standards for the burgeoning field.

Announced on Feb. 9, NIST officials are inviting all parties to apply to join a new U.S. National Committee on quantum technologies and systems, which will represent U.S. perspectives in the development of international quantum technology standards. 

On Jan. 11, the International Electrotechnical Commission and the International Organization for Standardization’s announced the formation of a Joint Technical Committee on Quantum Technologies — managed by the British Standards Institution and chaired by a representative of the Republic of Korea — to develop standards for the burgeoning field.

In response, NIST was selected by the U.S. standards governing body, the American National Standards Institute, to administer the USNC that will work with the new joint technical committee. 

“NIST is seeking people interested in leading international technical working groups in specific quantum technical areas or potentially serving as technical advisor of the USNC [technical advisory group],” the release reads

Initially, the scope of the USNC will focus on standardizing technological and scientific benchmarks within the quantum information technology field, which includes quantum information technologies — namely quantum computing and quantum simulation —quantum metrology, quantum sources, quantum detectors, quantum communications and fundamental quantum technologies.

Sector-specific applications of technologies and systems based in quantum mechanics will not be the focus of the first meeting. 

The first plenary meeting is set for late May in Seoul, South Korea, with logistics of the JTC and its structure as the main topic of discussion. 

“It is important that the U.S. come to a consensus recommendation of overall structure and priorities, and be prepared to represent this, while also proposing or volunteering for specific leadership opportunities,” NIST said in a press release on the advisory group. 

The call for industry experts is NIST’s latest effort to advance American interests in quantum information technologies and systems –– an emerging technology field with serious implications in fields like cryptography and, by extension, national security.