House members are reaching across the aisle to help accelerate quantum technology development by creating a “quantum sandbox” for that purpose, according to a new bill from  Reps. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., and Haley Stevens, D-Mich.

The Quantum Sandbox for Near-Term Applications Act was introduced last week, and it seeks to deploy a quantum sandbox program where government and industry can come together to develop quantum applications for use in the near-term.

“Quantum computing is a game-changing advancement in technology. It will dramatically increase the speed at which computers can run algorithms and solve problems, enabling new opportunities to improve our supply chains, transportation networks, electrical grid, and our communication resilience,” Rep. Obernolte said in a statement.

“The Quantum Sandbox for Near-Term Applications Act will help to ensure the United States remains a global leader in not only the development but also the implementation of new quantum technologies by providing a cloud-based venue for developers to produce quantum-enabled software tools from a variety of different systems for use in sectors such as telecommunications, financial services, healthcare and defense,” he said.

The bill calls on the Secretary of Commerce to coordinate with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish a quantum sandbox that leverages public-private partnership to accelerate the deployment of quantum tools to less than two years.

Reps. Randy Weber, R-Texas, and Richard Hudson, R-N.C., are co-sponsors on the bill.

“Quantum computing has shown potential to be incredibly powerful and effective, and this legislation is a pivotal step to usher in a quantum-enabled future,” Rep. Hudson said. “From solving complex problems in logistics to further securing our networks to finding long-term efficiency savings, this bill brings together the most qualified folks from private industry, public government, and academia to close the gap between research and real-world application.”

Industry leaders offered praise for the new quantum sandbox bill.

One of those was Alliance for Digital Innovation Executive Director Ross Nodurft, who said, “Cloud access of quantum computing technologies allows for the government to tap into this powerful emerging technology and a Quantum Sandbox program which promotes quantum and quantum-hybrid application development to solve public sector problems will fast-track the implementation of this important technology.”

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.