DOE/ASCR Issue Notice of $45M Funding Opportunity to Develop Quantum Stack

By John Russell

February 7, 2024

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, under the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program, has issued a $45 million funding opportunity announcement for accelerating the development of mathematical foundations, algorithms, and software for quantum computing. “The goal is to progress toward a software stack that is ready to leverage multiple quantum technologies, or will develop mathematical foundations, algorithms, and software tools toward quantum utility demonstration for applications that help advance DOE’s mission,” according to the announcement.

The deadlines for letter of intent is March 13, 2024, and for the applications is May 8, 2024.  The ceiling for awards is $300M per year and the floor is $250K per year. Research proposed in response to this FOA must primarily focus on addressing one of the two topics described (excerpt) below:

“Topic 1 – Modular Software Stack: The diversity of quantum computing architectures and hardware technologies is expected to persist into the foreseeable future; this is an important consideration that guides the advancement of computer science sought in this topic. The development of an integrated computational ecosystem requires a general-purpose quantum software stack that is adaptable to, and takes advantage of, multiple kinds of quantum hardware. We seek basic research in computer science and applied mathematics that:

  • Addresses practical and fundamental bottlenecks that hinder modularity and potential synergy among selected hardware technologies;
  • Pursues general approaches to integration that may remain relevant for future technologies;
  • Devises ways to embed quantum processors in parallel and distributed computing models; and
  • Integrates error management across the software stack.

“Topic 2 – Quantum Utility: This topic aims to advance the research towards achievement and demonstration of quantum utility [1] by developing new algorithms and fine-tuning all levels of the software stack for a selected portfolio of promising problems within the ASCR mission. Applications should:

  • Choose generalizable application-inspired target problems;
  • Develop algorithms for optimized math kernels and math primitives for selected current 
(NISQ) and future quantum systems that significantly advance state-of-the-art performance 
for the selected target problems;
  • Adapt, if needed, any level of the software stack for the specific target problems; and
  • Estimate quantum resources by employing important complementary metrics, including 
energy-to-solution.”

The announcement notes that “Verification protocols and tools are important for both Topic 1 and Topic 2 and should be discussed in the application. 
Applicants must choose and specify Topic 1 or Topic 2 as the focus of their application. In the choice of Topic 1 or 2, proposed research is encouraged to consider multiple metrics, such as qubit count, gate fidelity, and qubit connectivity.”

Link to announcement, https://science.osti.gov/ascr/-/media/grants/pdf/foas/2024/DE-FOA-0003265.pdf

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