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Tech firms set to attend White House forum on quantum technology

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Tech firms such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft Corp are expected to join a Biden administration conference that will focus on quantum technologies. It comes as the US Government works to intercept hacking threats and corner a burgeoning growth industry.

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is hosting the event to discuss critical applications of quantum computing, which is expected to operate millions of times faster than today’s advanced supercomputers.

Companies such as Boeing, Honeywell, IBM, Intel and Northrop Grumman are also expected to attend.

“There’s a lot of excitement about quantum computers and quantum sensors, and there’s some hype associated with that,” said Charlie Tahan, assistant director for quantum information science at OSTP. “But what we really want to get down to is what are the applications that a future quantum computer could run that could really benefit our society.”

Experts have said the technology, which is based on core principles of physics, is still in its infancy, but it has become a darling of investors aspiring to revolutionise healthcare, finance, artificial intelligence (AI), weather forecasting and other areas.

President Joe Biden’s administration is especially focused on the national security implications of quantum technology, which promises the ability to crack encryption standards in use today, OSTP said.

China, which Washington regards as its chief rival abroad, has also made significant efforts to develop the technology.

According to Tahan, the Biden administration is also hoping to encourage more students to enter the field and to increase cyber security around private research and development to prevent snooping.

The US Congress has already funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars into the industry, including quantum research laboratories, and bills currently under consideration now could add billions more.

The White House meeting will also include the organisations ColdQuanta, D-Wave, IonQ, QC Ware, Quantum Economic Development-Consortium, Rigetti Computing, Vector Atomic and Zapata.

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