WASHINGTON DC – The Department of Energy’s five quantum computing centers, housed at US national laboratories, are funded by a five year, $625 million project bolstered by $340 million worth of help from companies including IBMMicrosoftIntel, Applied Materials and Lockheed Martin.

The funds came from the $1.2 billion allocated by the National Quantum Initiative Act, which President Donald Trump signed in 2018, but the private sector contributions add some new clout.

Artificial intelligence is already broadly used for tasks such as voice recognition and spam filtering, and it’s a top priority at Google, Facebook, Tesla and every other tech giant. Quantum computing is now a hotly competitive subject, and even though it’s very immature, plenty of researcher believe the weird physics of the ultra small will revolutionize the new materials development, financial predictions and delivery services. Although businesses are interested in both areas already, the government programs aim to boost more basic research than what’s already happening.

The idea is to link government, private and university research to accelerate key areas in the US. It’s the same recipe used for earlier US technology triumphs like the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb in World War II, the Apollo program to send humans to the moon and the military-funded effort to establish what became the internet.

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