In a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO) in association with the National Security Agency (NSA) are soliciting proposals to research efficient and practical protocols and techniques that allow Quantum Characterization, Verification, and Validation (QCVV) of larger systems with direct relevance to Fault Tolerant Quantum Computing (FTQC), and to demonstrate these protocols on intermediate-scale systems 10-20 qubits in size. Much of the previous work performed to characterize quantum qubits has been performed using one and two qubit measurements such as the qubit fidelity measurements that we show on our Qubit Quality page. However, as systems get larger with an eye towards building fault tolerant machines the number of measurements to fully characterize a system using these previous approaches would grow exponentially.  It would be helpful to develop ways of evaluating these machines by selectively characterizing only the subset of information relevant to FTQC.  The purpose of this program will be to research proposals and techniques to achieve this.

The BAA is requesting proposals in two categories.  The first is for integrating theoretical and experimental research to identify and address the challenges of QCVV for intermediate-scale quantum systems. The second is for theoretical research that may significantly advance QCVV through novel approaches.  The agencies expect to make multiple awards with a maximum of $1.5M per year for each Category 1 awards, $700K per year for each Category 2 awards and $400K per year for each Category 2 awards that are theory only. The program and awards are expected to run for a four year period.

The BAA is available for Institutions of higher education (foreign and domestic), nonprofit organizations, and for-profit concerns (large and small businesses). Those interested in applying are encouraged to submit white papers by January 28, 2020 with a final proposal due by March 17, 2020.

For those interested in reading the full BAA, you can find a summary along with a link to download the full PDF file on the government’s contract opportunity site here.

December 20, 2019