19 December 2018

The Optical Society Commends the U.S. Congress for Passage of National Quantum Legislation


WASHINGTON– The Optical Society (OSA) congratulates the U.S. Congress for final passage of the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018 (S. 3143). With approval from the U.S. House of Representatives, the legislation, aimed at creating a coordinated national effort to advance significantly quantum research and technology, will be sent to U.S. President Donald Trump to sign into law.


“Congressional approval of the National Quantum Initiative Act demonstrates a recognition of U.S. government leaders of the growing importance of quantum science and technology,” said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society. “As a co-founding partner of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), OSA will work with our government, academia and industry stakeholders to support the success of this critical investment.”


The NPI played a key role in generating strong bipartisan support in both chambers for the legislation. In the House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), along with Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and 31 original cosponsors, championed the House bill, H.R. 6227. It passed the full House by unanimous voice vote on 13 September.


The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation introduced the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018, which passed the full Senate on 13 December. The lead bipartisan co-sponsors were Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL). Other important champions of the legislation included Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) along with Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

NPI has been working with lawmakers on the issue of quantum technology since 2017. It published a white paper last year, A Call for a National Quantum Initiative, at the request of the House Science Committee. The paper explained the necessity of a new information infrastructure based on quantum technology. In October 2017, Dr. Chris Monroe, chief scientist and founder of IonQ and professor of physics at the University of Maryland, testified before the Science Committee about the benefits of quantum technology and the need for a comprehensive policy. With the guidance of Dr. Monroe and Dr. Michael Raymer, professor of physics at the University of Oregon, NPI unveiled the National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Action Plan in April. It was discussed with lawmakers during the annual NPI Capitol Hill Day that same month. Its goals include producing a world-leading industrial quantum technology workforce, advancing quantum technology, developing quantum software and intellectual property and continuing the research needed to support these goals.


About the NPI
The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among U.S. industry, government, and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive U.S. funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including founding co-sponsors The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, along with *partners* the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, and the Laser Institute of America (LIA). For more information visit www.lightourfuture.org.
About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org

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