The Trump administration's 2021 budget request contains $237 million in funding to build a quantum internet.
- The Trump administration’s 2021 budget request contains $237 million in funding to support quantum information research.
- Quantum information science harnesses the behavior of particles to make calculations in fundamentally new ways.
- Prototype networks exist in New York and Chicago, and researchers are developing the new technologies needed to create longer links.
The Trump administration’s 2021 budget request — currently under consideration by Congress — proposes slashing the overall funding for scientific research by nearly 10% but boosts spending on quantum information science by about 20%, to $237 million. Of that, the DOE has requested $25 million to accelerate the development of a quantum internet. Such a network would leverage the counterintuitive behavior of nature’s particles to manipulate and share information in entirely new ways, with the potential to reinvent fields including cybersecurity and material science.
While the traditional internet for general use isn’t going anywhere, a quantum network would offer decisive advantages for certain applications: Researchers could use it to develop drugs and materials by simulating atomic behavior on networked quantum computers, for instance, and financial institutions and governments would benefit from next-level cybersecurity. Many countries are pursuing quantum research programs, and with the 2021 budget proposal, the Trump administration seeks to ramp up that effort.