Distributive policy

Policy adviser says workforce gains another year or more from federal quantum center efforts

Written by Dave Nyczepir

National quantum information science research centers won’t see substantial manpower gains for several years as people are still being trained from the initial federal investments, according to a senior policy adviser at the National Bureau of Science. quantum coordination.

Speaking to ATARC members on Wednesday, Corey Stambaugh said it would take another year or two to move talent through the pipeline, given that the five NQISRCs were only created in the last two years.

A McKinsey & Co. report found there were 851 quantum tech job openings nationwide in December, compared to 290 master’s-level graduates in the field each year, and demand could reach around 10,000. workers by 2025. Seeking to close the gap, the Department of Energy leveraged the $625 million it received through the National Quantum Initiative Act to leverage $340 million in funding industry and academia counterpart for NQISRCs, and already their ecosystem includes researchers from around 70 institutions.

“We’re going to see more people come into the pipeline just from this initial investment,” said Stambaugh, whose office resides in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

NQISRCs prioritize a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce through traditional degree programs, refresher certificate programs, and industry training partnerships.

The Quantum Science Center (QSC) and the Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage (C2QA) host quantum summer schools, while the Open Quantum Initiative of Next Generation Quantum Science and Engineering (Q-NEXT) has created a scholarship undergraduate course for minority quantum scientists.

“The centers have taken a multi-pronged approach to training the next generation of QIS scientists and researchers and to creating new pipelines for underrepresented groups,” said Irfan Siddiqi, director of the Quantum Systems Accelerator (QSA), in a statement. “We are all making special efforts to support a diverse quantum workforce in a growing field.”

The OSTP aims to translate QIS from agency labs and industry to the marketplace, which goes beyond developing computers and quantum sensors with agencies, Stambaugh said.

NQISRCs study quantum materials beyond silicon, quantum simulators, quantum entanglement distribution, quantum networking via testbeds, and quantum error correction.

“Apps are really going to be what make or break the pitch,” Stambaugh said. “So we find the real applications that will benefit society and continue to justify the investment.”

The National Security Memorandum-10 released in May represented the Biden administration’s first public policy statement on quantum computing. The memo acknowledged the risks posed by quantum computers while emphasizing cryptographic agility – the need for agencies to establish timely technology transition and protection plans.

At the same time, the White House has warned against transitioning agencies before the National Institute of Standards and Technology has finished publishing a post-quantum cryptography standard. Stambaugh went further, saying agencies may even have to wait for NIST standards to be internationally recognized by standards-developing organizations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The National Quantum Initiative plans to release its third supplement to the President’s Budget Proposal soon.

“We need a whole-of-government and societal strategy to harness the economic, security and scientific benefits. We need to invest in R&D,” Stambaugh said. “We must continue to nurture this next generation of scientists and engineers into the workforce, and national and international partnerships will be key in this regard.”

-In this story-

ATARC, Corey Stambaugh, Department of Energy (DOE), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National QIS Research Centers, National Quantum Coordination Office, National Quantum Initiative, National Quantum Initiative Act, Office of Science and Technology Policy, post- quantum cryptography, quantum computing