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May 21, 2022

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Richland lab part of $1 billion Trump administration investment in cutting-edge science

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KENNEWICK — Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will play a role in a recently announced initiative of the Trump administration that is investing $1 billion to ensure American leadership in industries of the future, including quantum information science.

Quantum information science applies the best understanding of the sub-atomic world — quantum theory — to generate new knowledge and technologies.

The Department of Energy national lab in Richland will participate in the Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage led by Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York state and contribute to two other national lab quantum science centers.

PNNL scientist will apply their expertise to the quest to build a reliable quantum computer and to use it to solve the most pressing problems in science and energy, said Steven Ashby, PNNL director.

Quantum computers take a radically different approach to processing information, overcoming the limitations of the classical computers used for eight decades. It could open the door to solving problems that are beyond the reach of any classical supercomputer, according to PNNL.

PNNL’s contribution to the Brookhaven center will range from developing new materials that will form the backbone of a quantum computer to writing the computer programs that will allow it to operate.

PNNL has expertise in probing the structure of materials at the atomic level that can be used to match materials to their quantum properties.

It also has experience with high purity materials to reduce unwanted magnetic interference.

“This investment by the federal government is a commitment to ensuring the United States remains first in the development of quantum information science, and the expertise of the scientists, researches and engineers at PNNL will go a long way toward advancing that goal,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., who supported the initiative.

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