Biden Announces 2 Presidential Directives Advancing Quantum Technologies

President Joe Biden has signed two Presidential directives that will advance national initiatives in quantum information science (QIS).

Together, the two directives lay the groundwork for continued American leadership in an enormously promising field of science and technology, while mitigating the risks that quantum computers pose to America’s national and economic security.

Biden signed an Executive Order establishing the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee, the Federal Government’s principal independent expert advisory body for quantum information science and technology. The EO places the advisory committee directly under the authority of the White House, ensuring that the President, Congress, Federal departments and agencies, and the public receive the most current, accurate, and relevant information on quantum information science and technology to drive forward U.S. policymaking and advance our technological edge.

The President also signed a National Security Memorandum outlining the Administration’s plan to address the risks posed by quantum computers to U.S. cybersecurity. Research shows that at some point in the not-too-distant future, when quantum computers reach a sufficient size and level of sophistication, they will be capable of breaking much of the cryptography that currently secures digital communications on the Internet.

To address this risk, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will publish new quantum-resistant cryptographic standards that can protect against possible future attacks.

The National Security Memorandum lays out a plan to update U.S. IT infrastructure to protect against future quantum computing threats.

Quantum computers, one of the many promising applications of QIS, are not a replacement to traditional computers. Rather, they are a fundamentally different kind of computer, with the ability to analyze information in ways that traditional computers cannot. Breakthroughs in QIS are poised to generate entirely new industries, good-paying jobs, and economic opportunities for all Americans, the White House says.

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