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US Government Boosts Non-Defense R&D For AI & Quantum Computing


In a recent announcement, the US government has committed to double R&D spending in nondefense artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum information science (QIS) by 2022. Beyond R&D, the FY 2021 Budget includes investments in education and job training that will help create a diverse and highly skilled American workforce to support the Industries of the Future. At the National Science Foundation, an additional $50 million will go toward AI and QIS workforce development, with a focus on community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority Serving Institutions.

The President’s FY 2021 Budget includes a significant increase in nondefense AI R&D compared to the FY 2020 Budget and is on a path to double nondefense AI R&D by 2022. This increase brings spending for AI R&D and interdisciplinary research institutes at the National Science Foundation to more than $830 million, which represents a more than 70 percent increase over the FY 2020 budget. In regards to Defense AI R&D, DARPA is investing $459 million in AI R&D, an increase of $50 million from FY 2020, and the Department of Defense’s Joint AI Center is increasing its budget from $242 million in FY 2020 to $290 million in FY 2021.


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President Trump launched the American AI Initiative, the United States national strategy for AI leadership, in February 2019. The American AI Initiative directed Federal agencies to prioritize artificial intelligence in their annual budget requests. The FY 2021 budget delivers on this request.

The Initiative also called for the development of the first ever agency-by-agency report of nondefense AI R&D spending. This report identified $1 billion in nondefense R&D for FY 2020, establishing a benchmark for measuring nondefense AI R&D budgets in the future.

In December 2018, President Trump also signed into law the bipartisan National Quantum Initiative Act, which greatly accelerated QIS R&D investment and coordination. The FY 2020 Budget jumpstarted the R&D spending called for by the legislation with at least half a billion dollars for QIS R&D across the Federal Government.

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Vishal Chawla
Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.

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