The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is laying down a bet on Microsoft’s long-running effort to create an industrial-scale quantum computer that takes advantage of the exotic properties of superconducting nanowires.
Microsoft is one of three companies selected to present design concepts as part of a five-year program known as Underexplored Systems for Utility-Scale Quantum Computing, or US2QC. The DARPA program is just the latest example showing how government support is a driving force for advancing the frontiers of quantum computing — at a time when those frontiers are still cloaked in uncertainty.
“Experts disagree on whether a utility-scale quantum computer based on conventional designs is still decades away or could be achieved much sooner,” Joe Altepeter, US2QC program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, said in a news release. “The goal of US2QC is to reduce the danger of strategic surprise from underexplored quantum computing systems.”