Feb 10, 2020 - Technology

Trump wants to double quantum, AI R&D budgets

Photo: Getty Images

The Trump administration wants to double federal spending on R&D for artificial intelligence and quantum computing over the next two years.

Why it matters: AI and quantum computing have the potential to upend everything from labor markets to civil liberties to encryption, and some policymakers and industry players say American leadership is needed on both fronts to stave off economic and technological threats from other countries, particularly China.

Details: The White House on Monday released its AI and quantum R&D funding targets in connection with its budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2021, which begins Oct. 1.

  • President Trump is asking for a ramp-up in nondefense AI research funding across the Energy and Agriculture departments, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation. The White House wants the total to hit or exceed $2 billion by fiscal 2022, up from an ask of $1 billion for fiscal 2020.
  • Trump is also asking for $860 million by fiscal 2022 in quantum R&D funding, primarily for the Energy Department and National Science Foundation, part of which would go toward working to develop a new "quantum internet." That's double the fiscal 2020 request.

'What they're saying:

  • An aggressive federal funding increase would make the U.S. "more prosperous, resilient, healthy and also safe," Kelvin Droegemeier, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, said on a press call Monday.
  • "If we don't, others will do it," Paul Dabbar, the Energy Department's undersecretary for science, said on the same call. "The United States is faced with fierce international competition in quantum information science."

Yes, but: White House budgets are just wish lists, and it's not clear if Congress will have the appetite to ramp up this spending at a time when Republicans are looking to trim budgets.

  • It's not even clear if Congress has matched the administration's past requests on AI and quantum spending. Until recently, the government wasn't tracking how the dollars appropriated to various relevant agencies translate to direct spending on R&D in those areas.
  • The White House should have its tabulations of actual enacted quantum and AI budget numbers available by this summer, U.S. CTO Michael Kratsios said on the call.

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. Axios on HBO: Science fiction writers tell us how they see the coronavirus pandemic.
  8. 🏃‍♀️Sports: Boston Marathon canceled after initial postponement, asks runners to go virtual.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

2 hours ago - World

The eye of the COVID-19 storm shifts to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved from China to Europe to the United States and now to Latin America.

Why it matters: Up until now, the pandemic has struck hardest in relatively affluent countries. But it's now spreading fastest in countries where it will be even harder to track, treat and contain.

Minnesota activates National Guard amid fallout from George Floyd death

A portrait of George Floyd hangs on a street light pole in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd, 46, moved to Minnesota to improve his life and become his "best self," but instead, he is dead because of Minneapolis police.

The latest: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and activated the state's National Guard in response to violent clashes over the past two days between police and protesters in the Twin Cities.