NIST Launches Research Committee, Focuses On National Security Applications of Quantum Science

NIST’s Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QEDC) recently launched a new research committee focused on the national security applications of quantum science. The committee will focus on identifying specific uses, standards and enabling technologies – along with other applications such as sensing, position, navigation and timing (PNT), and locating underground facilities.

Quantum information science combines information theory and quantum mechanics. Potential advances in the field could lead to new sensors, new approaches to drug design and materials science, and processors that enable computation beyond the capabilities of current technology. Researchers are also developing cryptography to protect information systems against quantum attacks.

The QEDC was launched under NIST in 2018 with the mandate to identify the future measurement, standards, cybersecurity, and other needs that will support the development of a quantum information science and technology industry. The consortium includes almost 200 members – including all of DoE’s national laboratories and 32 universities from across the country. Its steering committee includes Boeing, ColdQuanta, Google, IBM, QC Warem and Zapata Computing, along with NIST and the Department of Energy.

“This consortium will help build the supply chain for an industry that doesn’t yet exist,” said under secretary of commerce for standards and technology and NIST director Walter G. Copan. “To fully realize the benefits of quantum science and technologies, we will need to make advances similar to those made with computers. What started as room-sized devices are now small enough to fit in our pockets and are far more powerful. QED-C will have an important role to play in helping the country realize similar advances in quantum technologies.”

Information about joining QED-C can be found on the consortium’s website.