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Illinois Governor Requests $500 Million For Quantum

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Insider Brief

  • Illinois governor Governor J.B. Pritzker earmarked $500 million for quantum in his latest budget proposal.
  • The proposal includes $300 million for a cryogenic facility.
  • It’s part of a broader strategy to position Illinois as a central hub for semiconductors, quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

Illinois governor Governor J.B. Pritzker is making a half-billion dollar bet on quantum in his latest budget proposal, several media outlets are reporting.

It’s an ambitious move at a time when government budgets are getting close scrutiny, but state officials say this is a decision that could significantly alter the state’s economic and technological landscape. The potential payoff, in other words, outweighs the risk.

The initiative is part of a broader strategy to position Illinois as a central hub for semiconductors, quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

As reported by Chicago Business, Pritzker’s budget proposal seeks $500 million for quantum technology advancements, with a substantial portion allocated towards the development of a new campus featuring a cryogenics facility crucial for the operation of early quantum computers.

Kristin Richards, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, emphasized the transformative potential of quantum technology.

“Quantum is a generational opportunity, and it’s something we need to go after,” Richards told Chicago Business.

About $300 million of the funding would go toward building a campus that would include a cryogenics facility — some early quantum computers operate at extremely cold temperatures.

This financial commitment is not merely an investment in technology but a strategic maneuver aimed at leveraging the billions in federal funding available for various sectors, including electric vehicles and semiconductors, according to officials.

Pritzker’s vision is bolstered by Illinois’ track record of attracting federal grants and private investments in quantum technology from global corporations, following initial investments in the state’s universities.

As an example, the officials point to the $200 million investment in quantum technology efforts at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois have paid off with large federal grants and commitments by private companies, such as Google and IBM.

“We have heard from companies who have been in discussions with the state of Illinois about a location in North America and have said to us: ‘If we want to be co-located somewhere, you would be attractive for all of your existing tech assets. How can you help us source the location?’ ” Richards told the news site. “It’s about building out a campus and a cryogenics facility.”

Governor Pritzker expressed confidence in Illinois’ burgeoning role as a leader in quantum development, viewing this investment as a critical step in advancing the state’s technological capabilities.

We already were establishing ourselves as a leading hub for quantum development — now we have the opportunity to take it a big step further,” Pritzker told Axios.

The proposal also aligns with Illinois’ efforts to secure the headquarters of the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), as part of the CHIPS Act. This ambition is supported by the state’s robust ecosystem of national labs, universities, and private enterprises, creating a compelling case for its bid.

Industry leaders and national security experts have highlighted the strategic importance of quantum computing and semiconductors in the global technological race, particularly against competitors like China. The investment in quantum computing is seen not only as a means to foster economic growth and job creation but also as a pivotal move to ensure the U.S.’s leadership in critical future technologies.

Pritzker’s optimism about the state legislature’s support for his proposal reflects a broader confidence in the transformative impact of these capital investments on Illinois’ economic and technological future.

Two executives from leading quantum computing companies weighed in on the proposal.

Nick Farina, CEO of quantum computing startup EeroQ, told Axios that Chicago is a great place to start and run a quantum company.

We truly could have gone anywhere,” Farina told Axios.

Josh Richman, SVP of corporate development at PsiQuantum, a member of the Chicago Quantum Exchange, told Axios the move is meant to signal the government’s commitment to leading the development of quantum.

“It’s really the governor putting a marker out there and saying he wants Illinois to be a leader and the United States to be a leader in this burgeoning field,” Richman said.

If you found this article to be informative, you can explore more current quantum news here, exclusives, interviews, and podcasts.

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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