U.S.-based Rigetti Computing, a smaller company competing with the likes of Google and IBM to construct usable quantum computers, has been hired by the United Kingdom to build that country’s first quantum computer. The deal, a £10 million investment, will help cement the U.K.’s role as a quantum leader in Europe and will give the U.K.’s businesses access to quantum processing power. The purchase of this quantum computer is only one facet in the U.K.’s plan for a quantum economy: the government is also investing £93 million into a National Quantum Computing Centre.
The United Kingdom’s investment may have been spurred by an announcement on the other side of the Atlantic—on August 26, the White House promised over a billion dollars of investment in AI and quantum information science research, with the majority of the funds going to establish Quantum Information Science centers at Argonne, Brookhaven, Fermi, Oak Ridge, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories.
There are two main takeaways from these initiatives. First, other countries are looking to American companies to lead the way in the quantum revolution, and second, governments around the world are waking up to the potential of quantum computing. The U.K. expects quantum computing to be providing billions of pounds of value as early as 2024, and perhaps even this is an underestimate.
Quantum computing is the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform computation.