We reported last year on the U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) “Big Ideas” concept to fund bold long-term research and process ideas, the NSF is setting up the Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes (QLCI) to perform research in the focus areas of quantum technology. Today, the concept has turned into reality with NSF’s announcement in partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy of three Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes.
- NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Enhanced Sensing and Distribution Using Correlated Quantum States led by the University of Colorado. Quantum sensors that can measure everything from radiation levels to the effects of gravity will be more sensitive and accurate than classical sensors. This institute will design, build, and employ quantum sensing technology for a wide variety of applications in precision measurement.
- NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks lead by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Developing more robust quantum processors is a significant challenge in quantum information science and engineering. This institute will build interconnected networks of small-scale quantum processors and test their functionality for practical applications.
- NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Present and Future Quantum Computing led by the University of California, Berkeley. Today’s quantum computing prototypes are rudimentary, error-prone, and small-scale. This institute plans to learn from these to design advanced, large-scale quantum computers, develop efficient algorithms for current and future quantum computing platforms, and ultimately demonstrate that quantum computers outperform even the best conceivable classical computers.
The programs will last for five years for a period starting September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2025 and each institute will receive up to $25 million each. An amount of $7.7 million has been awarded to each institute so far.
The institutes will partner with a community of 16 core academic institutions, 8 national laboratories, and 22 industrial enterprises (including Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, IBM, and Google) to provide resources to fulfill their mission. In addition to their research goals, the institutes will also develop educational programs aimed for students starting with primary schools all the way to the professional levels to help train a quantum-ready U.S. workforce.
For more details, you can view NSF’s press release announcing the formation of these new Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes here.
July 21, 2020