The CHIPS and Science Act is a bill that provides funding of $52.7 billion for the development and production of semiconductor chips within the United States, $1.5 billion for wireless supply chain innovation, plus an additional $169.9 billion of funds allocated to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Department of Energy (DOE) to fund various aspects of advanced research and innovation. So the question arises, how will this benefit the quantum industry?
We looked closer at the bill and have concluded that the quantum industry will benefit in ways that are both direct and indirect. Let’s start with the direct benefits first. In the second part of the bill, called “Division B – Research and Innovation” there are four programs called out with specific funding amounts for quantum. The first is a program called the “Quantum Network Infrastructure” that will receive $100 million per year for fiscal years 2023 to 2027 for a total of $500 million. This program will conduct research on quantum networking devices and methods, develop a supply chain for quantum networking technologies; conduct basic research in advanced scientific computing, particle and nuclear physics, and material science relevant to quantum networking; develop experimental tools and testbeds; and investigate potential quantum networking applications. An additional $15 million per year for fiscal 2023 to 2027 ($75 million total) was allocated for activities related to standardization of quantum networking, communication, and sensing methods. Although one might assume that this research will only benefit long distance quantum internet’s we would also point out that we expect some of this to be also applicable to quantum computing since several quantum computing manufacturers are anticipating using a mini quantum internet within a single quantum data center to connect and scale up their quantum processors.
The second program is called the “Quantum User Expansion for Science and Technology (QUEST)”. This program will provide researchers based within the United States with access to United States quantum computing resources. This program will provide funding that will help expand usage of quantum computing and help advance the technology through increase use. Funding for the QUEST program is set at $165 million for the five year period from fiscal 2023 to 2027.
The last direct program is called the “Next Generation Quantum Leaders Pilot Program”. This program will educate the next generation of students and teachers in the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics. This program will be funded at a level of $8 million from fiscal 2023 to 2026 for a total of $32 million.
The rest of the “Division B – Research and Innovation” section provides funds to support a wide variety of advanced technologies including advanced energy and industrial efficiency technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, nuclear, environmental, biotechnology, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, 6G communications, advanced materials, as well as quantum information science. The section provides funding for a large variety of items including infrastructure, equipment, and instrumentation; education; basic research; regional technology hubs, a new Directorate at the NSF for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (“TIP”), manufacturing extensions, cybersecurity, and many other activities. Although the exact amounts of this funding being allocated specifically to quantum were not called out, we do expect it will be substantial.
The first part of the bill called “Division A – CHIPS Act of 2022” is not directly related to quantum technology, but we expect there will still be many indirect benefits for quantum that cannot be easily quantified. Although, the main part of this section is to provide manufacturing incentives for companies to build, expand, and modernize semiconductor manufacturing facilities, equipment, and processes in the United States for classical semiconductors, we would point out that quantum processor manufacturers still use many classical semiconductor chips such as FPGA’s, microprocessors, GPU’s, and analog components for their control electronics and simulation platforms. So the government’s assistance to the semiconductor vendors who then sell products to the quantum companies will be helpful. We would also point out that some quantum companies, such as Intel, PsiQuantum, and others have an explicit strategy of designing quantum chip processes that are compatible with classical semiconductor manufacturing facilities. So, to the extent that semiconductor facilities are constructed or upgraded with funding from the CHIPS Act, those quantum companies that are pursuing this compatibility strategy may also benefit. Another way that quantum companies may benefit from investments from the CHIPS Act may lie in the new funding that will be going into semiconductor manufacturing tools. If new tools are developed for semiconductor packaging, lasers, measurements, or other things with an original target of use in the classical semiconductor industry, there will likely be ways that quantum manufacturing can find ways of repurposing these new tools for either the construction of more advanced quantum processors or even the operation of them.
So although it is hard to precisely quantify exactly how much the U.S. quantum industry will benefit as a result of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, we do expect that it will have a substantial positive impact over the next five years. For additional information about this act, you can view a Fact Sheet provided by the White House here, a section-by-section summary of the bill here, and the full text here.
August 9, 2022