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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.

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2020 - Science

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Trust in science

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The American public's divided trust in science is a foundational crisis that Joe Biden will have to address in order to tackle the other crises awaiting him on Day 1, including a raging pandemic and climate change.

Why it matters: Partisan divides, eroded confidence and an exodus of experts from the federal government could hinder responses to both COVID-19 and climate change.

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

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