Forget the Trade War. China Wants to Win the Computing Arms Race
As the U.S. and China threaten to impose tariffs on goods from aluminum to wine, the two nations are waging a separate economic battle that could determine who owns the next wave of computing. Chinese universities and U.S. technology companies such as @International Business Machines Corp. and #Microsoft Corp. are racing to develop #quantumcomputers, a type of processing that’s forecast to be so powerful it can transform how drug-makers, agriculture companies and auto manufacturers discover compounds and materials. Quantum computing uses the movement of subatomic particles to process data in amounts that modern computers can’t handle. Mostly theoretical now, the technology is expected to be able to perform calculations that make today’s computers look akin to an abacus. ￼ While overall spending by China is unknown, its government is building a $10 billion National Laboratory for Quantum Information Sciences in Hefei, Anhui Province, which is slated to open in 2020. U.S.-funded research in quantum is about $200 million a year, according to a July 2016 government report, and some researchers and companies don’t believe that’s enough.