President Biden signed two directives aimed at ensuring that the United States maintains its lead in quantum computing while protecting the country from future attacks using this emerging technology.
For some time now, the United States has been a world leader in quantum information science (QIS), which is a broad field of science and engineering, and quantum computers are one of many promising applications of this interdisciplinary field.
Instead of replacing traditional computers, quantum computers have the ability to analyze information in entirely new ways to help drive innovations in the US economy, from energy to medicine.
According to a White House fact sheet, President Biden’s new executive order will further advances in quantum computing by strengthening the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Board which will now report directly to the White House. This way, the President, Congress, and federal departments and agencies will receive the most up-to-date, accurate, and relevant information about quantum computing technology going forward.
Addressing the Risks Posed by Quantum Computers
In addition to supporting the advancement of quantum computing, President Biden also signed a national security memorandum designed to address the risks that quantum computers pose to American cybersecurity.
In the not-too-distant future, quantum computers will be used to break the encryption that protects sensitive government, business, and consumer data as well as the cryptography that secures digital communications over the Internet. To help address this risk, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will release new quantum-resistant cryptographic standards to protect against these future attacks.
However, it will take time to transition the country’s most vulnerable IT systems to these new standards, which is why the United States must begin the long process of updating its IT infrastructure today to protect against tomorrow’s quantum computing threats.
Meanwhile, the new national security memorandum will also direct federal agencies to develop comprehensive plans to protect U.S. intellectual property, research and development, and other sensitive technologies from acquisition by the country’s adversaries. .
We will likely hear more from the Biden administration regarding quantum computing once NIST develops its new quantum-resistant cryptographic standards and federal agencies begin updating their vulnerable computing systems.