The invention of the computer drove an explosion of technological innovation like the world has never seen. Now scientists are closing in on creating a new type of computer — the quantum computer.
But according to Michael Raymer, a professor of physics at the UO, the United States is lagging behind China and many European countries in the amount of money invested in this new technology, something he sees as a huge mistake. He recently wrote about the problem in The Register-Guard.
A quantum computer is a new kind of computer that could theoretically do things that modern-day computers would be stumped by, such as design new industrial materials or find the ideal molecular structure for a new medicine.
“It would be nice if we could leave it up to the private sector to create the first quantum computer, but there are limits to what industry can achieve on its own,” he said. “It’s easy to say that taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for science and engineering, but in many cases, these investments provide exponential returns to the people who pay for them.”
He compares this to the Human Genome Project, where scientists were tasked with mapping every bit of human DNA, which led to countless medical breakthroughs.
For more, see his op-ed piece in The Register-Guard, “U.S. playing catch-up in quantum computing.”
Raymer has been at the UO since 1988. He served as the founding director of the Oregon Center for Optics. His research looks at the quantum mechanics of light and its interaction with atoms and molecules.