White House cyber chief: US beats China in race for quantum supremacy

Written by Suzanne Smalley

A senior White House cybersecurity official said on Monday that the United States was ahead of China in the race to achieve quantum supremacy thanks to the “tremendous competitive advantage” conferred by the collaborative nature of science and technology. American industry.

Quantum computing is a talking point in the annals of power, as quantum computers might be able to break encryption, including that which protects highly sensitive government data. The first country to produce working quantum computers will claim a major strategic advantage in various fields including defense and cybersecurity, experts say.

The United States is in a “generally favorable position vis-à-vis China” in the race to win quantum computing, according to Jonah Force Hill, director of cyber policy and emerging technologies at the Security Council national, who made the remarks at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“China, they don’t have the same type of broad coalition working together that we do,” Hill said. “The freedom to engage in scientific activities in the United States is truly unprecedented. Our universities are second to none and I think we’re going to continue to maintain an edge as long as we continue to invest in the kinds of things that we need to invest in, both in R&D but also in basic science that can really drive new innovations in this technology.

Gilman Louie, who co-founded and led CIA venture capital fund In-Q-Tel and is now the CEO of a nonprofit designed to spur investment in deep technologies like quantum computing, said he thought the picture was more mixed.

“It’s debatable, it’s true, because no one can see inside China what they’re doing specifically on the classified side,” Louie said. “What we’re seeing is a lot of progress from tech companies like IBM, Google and Microsoft, who are spending billions of dollars trying to achieve quantum supremacy. But I wouldn’t take for granted what’s happening. goes abroad.

Hill said White House officials fear the Chinese are stealing American intellectual property and using it to outpace America in the race for quantum supremacy. He said a recent presidential national security memorandum focused on quantum computing directed law enforcement to educate industry about the dangers of such theft.

“This is an area of ​​technology prone to abuse, manipulation and theft,” Hill said. “We’re going to try to build those relationships now so that over time those companies can build their resilience and their ability to defend themselves.”

The commercial department blacklisted a dozen Chinese companies in November prevent emerging technologies created in the United States from being used for Chinese quantum computing efforts.

China has reportedly spent $11 billion on a national quantum information science lab, among other investments intended to advance it in the race for quantum supremacy.

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