US government to create 12 centres for AI and quantum research

26 Aug 2020

Image: © Vacclav/

The White House is set to announce more than $1bn in funding to create 12 research centres focused on AI and quantum computing research.

The US government is putting significant funding towards deep-tech projects in its bid to stay technologically competitive against rivals in China and Europe. According to The Wall Street Journal, US federal agencies and private sector partners are set to announce more than $1bn in funding to further AI and quantum computing research.

This funding will be spread over five years and will create 12 research centres focused on these sciences. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) and other agencies – including the US Department of Agriculture – will spend $140m on seven of these institutes focused on AI.

The country’s Energy Department will oversee an investment of $625m in five institutes focused on quantum information sciences, which includes quantum computing. This investment will be backed by $300m in private funding from some of the country’s tech giants, such as IBM and Microsoft.

US president Donald Trump recently announced plans for a 30pc boost in next year’s non-defence budget for AI and quantum information science.

Strong message

The country’s chief technology officer Michael Kratsios commented: “It is absolutely imperative the US continues to lead the world in AI and quantum.

“The future of American economic prosperity and national security will be shaped by how we invest, research, develop and deploy these cutting-edge technologies today.”

The new centres are expected to conduct early research into areas that private companies would be hesitant to spend substantial sums of money in. This, the Wall Street Journal said, includes one of the AI centres developing tools that could lead to the discovery of new bioactive compounds.

NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan said the funding will establish “a network that we hope expands to involve not only every state, but every segment of our society”.

Major advancements in quantum science have been announced the past month, including the University of Chicago discovery of how a simple modification allows quantum systems to stay operational – or ‘coherent’ – for 10,000 times longer than before.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic