Although quantum information science and technology (QIST) is based on fundamental physical tenets familiar to many in the academic world, it remains alien to much of the industrial and engineering workforce that will actually build reliable quantum devices. Industrial investment in QIST has grown considerably in recent years, but the field is at an embryonic stage, and formidable technical challenges to building quantum technologies remain. This confluence of opportunity, need, and challenge suggests that governments will have a substantial role in developing QIST and its ecosystem and in translating the corresponding science and technology for the benefit of society. We outline one such initiative, the U.S. National Quantum Initiative (NQI), and discuss how it can play a vital role in advancing QIST.
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