SD Lawmakers talk on Quantum Computing

South Dakota lawmakers are considering whether to invest $6 million to start a multi-university program to establish the state as a leader in the emerging field of quantum computers.

Quantum Computing could be used in agriculture, medicine, materials development and national security and the military.

The proposed $6 million funding would establish the Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology at Dakota State University in Madison, already a national leader in cyber technology. It also includes quantum research and education at South Dakota State University, the University of South Dakota and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

The Board of Regents proposed a bill to establish the quantum center and Gov. Kristi Noem promoted it in her annual budget address. The money would go mostly to add faculty and graduate student slots at the four universities and not for a building or an actual quantum computer, which can cost $15 million.

State educators say establishing the quantum center before the computers become widely available would establish South Dakota as a recognized leader in the quantum field and lead to wide industry and government investment but also fuel job opportunities for college graduates.

The Senate bill that would allocate the funding was set for consideration by the Senate Education Committee today.