Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A Quantum State

Illinois' most famous citizen working on a quantum computer

The governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker, unveiled his budget last week including $500 million for quantum computing research. Is this the best way to spend my tax dollars?

As long-time readers know, I have strong doubts about the real-world applications of quantum computing and the hype for the field. But the article does not suggest any applications of quantum computing, rather

Pritzker says he's optimistic that the Illinois state legislature will embrace his proposal as a catalyst for job creation and investment attraction.

That does make sense. Investing in quantum may very well bring in extra federal and corporate investment into quantum in Chicago. At the least it will bring in smart people to Illinois to fill research roles. And it's not if this money would go to any other scientific endeavor if we don't put it into quantum.

So it makes sense financially and scientifically even if these machines don't actually solve any real-world problems. Quantum winter will eventually come but might as well take advantage of the hype while it's still there. Or should we?

A physicist colleague strongly supports Illinois spending half a billion on quantum. He lives in Indiana. 


  1. Georgios Stamoulis3:48 PM, February 28, 2024

    Hi Lance,

    I do not think there is anything wrong with pouring money using the Quantum hype as a vehicle for (1) investing in general in an area that might have an investment problem (I am not in US so I cannot judge) and (2) getting as a byproduct a lot of interesting tech like superconducting material/technology which is (at the moment) much more crucial and needed.
    Netherlands tried to do something similar recently with 615 million Euros which for EU standards is pretty insane. (
    I am not sure that the goals of the Dutch government align with the more "pragmatic" (to be seen of course) approach of Illinois.

  2. Given such a ridiculous "investment" and statement, surely quantum winter must be just around the corner.