The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking information on benchmarks to determine the long-term use of quantum computers, according to a broad agency announcement (BAA).

Specifically, the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) at DARPA is soliciting research on the long-term utility of quantum computers that centers around “the creation of application-specific, hardware-agnostic benchmarks for quantum computer utility or hardware resource estimation for quantum computers.”

DSO is excluding “research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice.”

This Quantum Benchmarking program will create new benchmarks that will allow DARPA to quantitatively measure progress towards, specific resources needed to achieve different levels of benchmark performance.

According to the BAA, the program will quantify the long-term utility of quantum computers by solving a series of problems, including:

  • “Compiling a list of specific utility-driven application instances from a variety of application domains;
  • Grouping these application instances according to common core enabling computational capabilities;
  • Developing novel test procedures for quantifying progress towards these core enabling computational capabilities;
  • Using all of the above to create scalable, robust multi-dimensional benchmarks that can act as guidestars for research and development aimed at long-term, real-world utility for a variety of application domains; and
  • Creating tools for estimating the primary quantum hardware resources and ancillary classical hardware resources needed to achieve a specific level of benchmark performance.”

A virtual Quantum Benchmarking Proposers Day will be held on April 20, 2021 and all interested parties should submit a one-page profile to DARPA no later than 12:00 p.m. on April 26.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.