The United States Government understands that the next technology race would be fought on quantum computing. Forget artificial intelligence, virtual reality and yes blockchain; the most important enabler which will decide the technological competitiveness of nations will be anchored on quantum computers.
As I have noted, the first person that gets it can technically mine all the available Bitcoin overnight; the fact that has not happened means that no one has a (production-ready) working quantum computer yet. Yes, when all the Bitcoins are mined overnight, you would know they have built one.
Quantum computing would be powerful and would redesign many sectors, from healthcare to digital security. That explains why U.S. is not messing around: “On Wednesday, Congress passed a bill, which the president is expected to sign, laying out a 10-year development plan complete with grants for researchers and a dedicated presidential advisory committee”, notes Fortune newsletter. That is how you predict the future by creating it.
Visions of an American quantum computing initiative are close to becoming a practical reality. The House of Representatives has passed its version of a bill that would establish a National Quantum Initiative Program and speed up the development of next-generation computing technology. Provided the President signs it into law (it cleared the Senate last week), the bill would set out a 10-year plan and launch several initiatives. These would include a presidential advisory committee, a National Science and Technology Council subcommittee, grants from the National Science Foundation and research at organizations ranging from the Energy Department to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The program is ultimately an attempt at technological oneupmanship. China and other countries are pursuing their own quantum computing research, and there’s a concern that the US could fall behind if the government doesn’t devote more attention to development. The added power could provide an economic edge in areas like health care and manufacturing. It might also be vital to national security, for that matter. Quantum computing could be useful for both defeating encryption and creating ultra-secure networks (just inspecting quantum data can ruin it), and beating rivals to the punch could both safeguard American intelligence data while making it possible to intercept others’ communications.