A bill that would boost the United States' quantum computing technology is stuck in committee in the Senate, creating uncertainty about whether the legislation will make it to President Donald Trump's desk anytime soon.
The National Quantum Initiative Act passed the House unanimously in September. It would provide $1.3 billion, subject to annual appropriations, to the Departments of Energy and Commerce and the National Science Foundation over the next 10 years for research and development. It also aims to enhance cooperation between government and industry.
"With competition from abroad, America must increase and accelerate efforts to secure leadership in the quantum sector for our national security and economic prosperity," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement when the bill made it through the House.
Traditional computers use electrical signals to process bits in the form of 1s and 0s. Quantum computers, on the other hand, use physical photons known as "qubits" to process information, which could make them thousands of times faster than today's supercomputers, according to experts.
Such a capability would have major implications for the military, intelligence agencies and other organizations, especially when it comes to encrypting and decrypting critical information, said Arthur Herman, a senior fellow and quantum computing expert with the Hudson Institute. That's why it's...