Quantum lag: Experts fret that the U.S. risks falling behind in computing power The promise, and threat, of quantum computing is still years away. Quantum computing works by replacing the binary zeros and ones of conventional computing with multivariable quantum bits, radically increasing the speed of calculations and potentially threatening to make current computing and cryptography obsolete. To frame the potential power of quantum technology, Ezell said, quantum computers "are potentially millions of times faster and more powerful than current computers." The House passed the National Quantum Initiative Act on Sept. 13 to begin to address a national strategy towards quantum. The measure would tap the expertise at the Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Science Foundation in a $1.2 billion effort to jumpstart quantum research.