22 Jul 2019

US Air Force to research quantum information technology

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is developing quantum information technology to advance Air Force Capabilities.

The AFRL is partnering with industry, academia, and the DOD to advance quantum information science to serve Air Force concerns. The research is aiming to pioneer hardware that has a ‘quantum advantage’ over standard computing.

AFRL has formally joined the IBM Q Network, the first-ever partnership of its kind in the DoD. This alliance will provide AFRL and its collaborators with access to commercial quantum systems to explore practical applications relevant to the Air Force.

AFRL Information Directorate Director Colonel Timothy Lawrence said: “We are conducting development and testing of many of the new high-performance computing architectures, including neuromorphic computing, so we want to be certain we’re also positioning ourselves to lead quantum idea generation and capability development for the Air Force.”

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist at AFRL to understand that getting behind in quantum could lead to serious concerns, so that’s not a position we are willing to accept. ”

The Air Force is also partnering with the State University of New York (SUNY) as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Naval Research Laboratory and the Army Research Laboratory. The AFRL Quantum Hub will be used to investigate quantum applications in algorithms, machine learning, neural network training, risk/decision analysis, quantum simulation of molecular and strongly correlated systems, photonic phenomena and specific biological systems.

One aim of the quantum hub is to form a network of researchers developing gate-based computers and to monitor and test advancements in quantum information technology. Early research proposals include speed-up of machine algorithms, optimisation issues, and quantum chemistry simulations.

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