DOE awards $11M to ORNL for quantum tech research

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Three researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will participate in collaborative research projects aimed at harnessing the power of quantum mechanics to advance a range of technologies including computing, fiber optics and network communication.

The application of quantum mechanics to computing and the processing of information holds enormous potential for scientific discovery and innovation.

While still in its early stages, quantum technology is being harnessed to develop computers that will be exponentially more powerful than today’s leading systems. Quantum information science, particularly in the form of quantum networks, also shows great promise to advance a vast array of research domains, from encryption to artificial intelligence to cosmology.

Quantum technologies use units known as qubits to greatly increase the threshold at which information can be transmitted and processed. Whereas traditional “bits” have a value of either 0 or 1, qubits are encoded with values of both 0 and 1, or any combination thereof, at the same time, allowing for a vast number of possibilities for storing data.

DOE’s Office of Science made available more than $60 million to 10 universities, nine national laboratories, and one nonprofit via its Advanced Scientific Computing Research program.

Researchers Pavel Lougovski and Travis Humble received more than $8 million of the $47 million allocated to accelerating progress in quantum computing.

Nick Peters, the laboratory’s Quantum Information Science group leader and senior staff scientist, will lead a team that received more than $3 million of the remaining $13.7 million to determine the architectural foundations for future transparent, all-optical networks based on quantum repeaters.

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