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Report: China’s Quantum Tech Research Efforts Spark Concern in US

Jeff Brody

China has outpaced the U.S. in regards to producing patents for quantum technology over the past decade and some scientists say the Trump administration has voiced its concern about the number of Chinese students in the U.S. involved in quantum science studies and other sensitive scientific areas, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

“We’ve always encouraged the best and brightest to come from overseas, and it’s always served our nation well,” said John Preskill, the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. “But there is concern in government about how we are training all these people, and a lot of them are going back to China and competing in technologies that have implications for national security. And we’re talking about what to do about it,” he added.

According to the report, some U.S. agencies have moved to limit collaboration with China. One of the agencies supporting research on quantum science and physics is the Department of Energy, which prohibited its contractors and personnel from responding to China’s Thousand Talents and other talent recruitment initiatives of foreign countries in June.

Driven by China’s strides in the field, Congress passed in 2018 the National Quantum Initiative Act to allocate additional research funds worth $1.2B. DOE is expected to get a large share of the funding and plans to use it to establish research centers focused on quantum science.

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