Aug 26, 2020 - Technology

New federal centers announced for AI and quantum computing

Illustration of a computer floating above a space/time grid

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The White House this morning announced over $1 billion to establish 12 new federal research centers dedicated to AI and quantum sciences.

Why it matters: The two fields are among the most important in emerging technology, and the new initiative will help the U.S. assert its international leadership in an increasingly competitive field that will impact everything from national security to climate change.

Details: The Department of Energy will move up to $625 million over the next five years to five existing national laboratories to create research centers dedicated to quantum science and computing, with an additional $300 million coming from the private sector and academia.

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) will lead the establishment of seven AI research centers at universities around the country, focused on areas like precision agriculture and forecasting prediction.

What they're saying: "The future of American prosperity and national security will be shaped by how we invest, research, develop and deploy these cutting-edge technologies today," said U.S. chief technology officer Michael Kratsios.

Of note: The new initiative comes on the heels of the establishment last month of three NSF centers dedicated to quantum information science.

  • While AI is better known — and more active in the world today — quantum computing is just as important, promising huge leaps forward in processing power.
  • "This is the most exciting time in computing since the advent of the first computers," says Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, which is among the companies involved in the new quantum science centers.
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