Technology Assessment: Quantum Computing and Communications, Status and Prospects, Report to Congressional Addressees [open pdf - 5MB]
From the Highlights: "Quantum information technologies could dramatically increase capabilities beyond what is possible with classical technologies. Future quantum computers could have high-value applications in security, cryptography, drug development, and energy. Future quantum communications could allow for secure communications by making information challenging to intercept without the eavesdropper being detected. GAO [Government Accountability Office] conducted a technology assessment on (1) the availability of quantum computing and communications technologies and how they work, (2) potential future applications of such technologies and benefits and drawbacks from their development and use, and (3) factors that could affect technology development and policy options available to help address those factors, enhance benefits, or mitigate drawbacks. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed key reports and scientific literature; interviewed government, industry, academic representatives, and potential end users; and convened a meeting of experts in collaboration with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. GAO is identifying policy options in this report. [...] Quantum information technologies aim to use the properties of nature at atomic scales to accomplish tasks that are not achievable with existing technologies. These technologies rely on 'qubits', the quantum equivalent of classical computer bits. Scientists are creating qubits from particles, such as atoms or particles of light, or objects that mimic them, such as superconducting circuits. [...] However, quantum information cannot be copied, is fragile, and can be irreversibly lost, resulting in errors that are challenging to correct. [...] GAO identified four factors that affect quantum technology development and use: (1) collaboration, (2) workforce size and skill, (3) investment, and (4) the supply chain."
Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/