Science – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is joining the quest to develop quantum computers, devices that would exploit quantum mechanics to crack problems that overwhelm conventional computers. The initiative comes as Google and other companies race to build a quantum computer that can demonstrate “quantum supremacy” by beating classical computers on a test problem. But reaching that milestone will not mean practical uses are at hand, and the new $40 million DOE effort is intended to spur the development of useful quantum computing algorithms for its work in chemistry, materials science, nuclear physics, and particle physics.
“We are looking for algorithms that can advance the science,” says Stephen Binkley, acting director of DOE’s $5.4 billion Office of Science in Washington, D.C., who in a 29 November 2017 open letter urged researchers to submit proposals for such work.
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