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New Quantum Capabilities for Naval Warfare Centers

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and all 14 Naval Warfare Centers signed a memorandum of understanding Dec. 2 with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Information Directorate to establish a conduit for exchange of technical expertise and the exploration of co-projects with a focus on creating useful quantum computing capabilities for the Department of Defense.

The agreement gives Navy scientists and engineers access to AFRL’s IBM’s Quantum Hub (IBM-Q) processor, providing the ability to explore Navy-relevant problem sets focused on operations research, quantum machine learning, quantum simulation, classical simulation and crypto-analysis.

“As we reimagine Naval Power, we know that quantum technologies are critical to the future battlespace,” said Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, Chief of Naval Research. “This collaboration will help ensure our warfighters have the tools they need for mission success.”

Quantum computers offer the potential for faster and more efficient calculations, many of which fall under the realm of combinatorial optimization, machine learning, risk analysis, and chemistry, which are all areas highly pertinent to the development of technology critical for military use.

To manage access to the IBM-Q Hub and facilitate advancements in quantum computing, NRL stood up a Naval Quantum Computing Program Office (QCPO) with Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific serving as the co-lead, and with other representation from Naval Warfare Center quantum subject matter experts.

Collaboration among Naval QCPO members will accelerate advancement in quantum research by creating a structure for shared resources, information sharing and the publication of joint findings.

NIWC Pacific’s mission is to conduct research, development, engineering, and support of integrated command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, and space systems across all warfighting domains, and to rapidly prototype, conduct test and evaluation, and provide acquisition, installation, and in-service engineering support.”

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