U.S. Announces $1 Billion Research Push for A.I. and Quantum Computing

 

The U.S. government is announcing $1 billion in new funding for multidisciplinary A.I. and quantum computing research hubs today, according to multiple reports. A total of 12 hubs will be funded, each embedded within different agencies of the federal government. Their work will span a diverse range of topics, from using machine learning for atmospheric and ocean science, to speeding up high-energy physics simulations with quantum systems.

The investment is part of a slow push from the White House to fund emerging technologies. Many policy advisors have worried that America is falling behind in A.I. and quantum research compared to rivals like China and warn that these technologies are instrumental not only for economic development but also for national security. 

It’s challenging to make a fair comparison of U.S. and Chinese spend on technology like A.I. as funding and research in this area is diffuse. Although China announced ambitious plans to become the world leader in A.I. by 2030, America still outspends the country in military funding (which increasingly includes A.I. research), while U.S. tech companies like Google and Microsoft remain world leaders in artificial intelligence.

Some $625 million of today’s funding will go to research involving quantum information sciences in five centers linked to the Department of Energy (DOE). A further $140 million will be invested in seven A.I. initiatives, two overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and five by the National Science Foundation (NSF). According to the Wall Street Journal, private tech companies, including IBM and Microsoft, are contributing $300 million in the form of “technology-services donations,” likely meaning access to cloud computing resources.

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