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Amazon is Primed for Quantum Computing

amazon logo quantum computing
amazon logo quantum computing

Amazon, the Seattle e-commerce giant, announced three quantum computing initiatives at its AWS re:Invent event today.

Those initiatives include:

  • Amazon Braket (in preview today) is a new, fully managed AWS service that enables scientists, researchers, and developers to begin experimenting with computers from quantum hardware providers (including D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti) in a single place.
  • AWS Center for Quantum Computing will bring together quantum computing experts from Amazon, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and other top academic research institutions to collaborate on the research and development of new quantum computing technologies.
  • Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab is a program that connects customers with quantum computing experts from Amazon and its technology and consulting partners to develop internal expertise aimed at identifying practical uses of quantum computing, and accelerating the development of quantum applications with meaningful impact.

The company said in a news release that quantum computing has the potential to solve computational problems that are beyond the reach of classical computers. It promises to transform areas such as energy storage, chemical engineering, material science, drug discovery, process optimization, and machine learning. However, the application of quantum computing to date has been limited mainly to proof of concept studies with limited practical use. To help accelerate the development of this potentially disruptive technology, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is establishing the AWS Center for Quantum Computing, where quantum experts from Amazon and academia will collaborate on the research and development of new quantum computing technologies and applications with the goal of solving real-world problems.

The company added that some customers are ready to begin exploring quantum computing and gain experience now. But, it’s hard for customers to engage with quantum computers, particularly if they want to evaluate different early stage technologies, each with their own development, simulation, and test environments. Without the opportunity to develop the necessary skills, it’s difficult for customers to identify when quantum computing will provide benefit, and learn how they can design algorithms and discover new applications. To help customers overcome these challenges, AWS is launching the Amazon Braket service and the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab so that customers can begin learning and experimenting with quantum computing today.

“With quantum engineering starting to make more meaningful progress, customers are asking for ways to experiment with quantum computers and explore the technology’s potential,” said Charlie Bell, Senior Vice President, Utility Computing Services, AWS. “We believe that quantum computing will be a cloud-first technology and that the cloud will be the main way customers access the hardware. With our Amazon Braket service and Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab, we’re making it easier for customers to gain experience using quantum computers and to work with experts from AWS and our partners to figure out how they can benefit from the technology. And with our AWS Center for Quantum Computing and academic partnerships, we join the effort across the scientific and industrial communities to help accelerate the promise of quantum computing.”

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D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti tech in one place

Amazon Braket is a fully managed service that makes it possible for customers to get started on quantum computing by providing a single development environment to build quantum algorithms, test them on simulated quantum computers, and try them on a range of different quantum hardware architectures. Amazon Braket lets customers get started quickly, using familiar tools like Jupyter notebooks, and providing the same, consistent AWS experience they know today, without having to engage multiple vendors or risk being locked into a single technology.

Amazon Braket can be used by organizations just beginning to explore the possibilities of quantum computing, as well as by those that are already familiar with the technology and are ready to use it as a research tool. With Amazon Braket, customers can assess the present and future capabilities of a variety of different quantum technologies that initially include quantum annealing from D-Wave, ion trap devices from IonQ, and superconducting chips from Rigetti, with more to be added in the coming months. Independent of their chosen quantum technologies, customers and partners can design quantum algorithms using the Amazon Braket developer toolkit. This gives customers the choice of executing either low-level quantum circuits or fully-managed hybrid algorithms, and makes it easy to select between a range of software simulators and their choice of quantum hardware.

One of AWS’s quantum customers might be Boeing. The world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, believes quantum is the next big thing.

“Boeing believes in the potential for quantum computing to help solve some of the aerospace industry’s toughest challenges, from fundamental materials science research, to complex system optimization, to secure communications,” said Charles Toups, Vice President and General Manager, Disruptive Computing and Networks, at Boeing. “Boeing is investigating how disruptive quantum computing, sensing, and networking technologies can enhance products and services for our customers around the globe. We look forward to collaborating with AWS as Boeing accelerates its own developments in quantum technologies.”

AWS Center for Quantum Computing seeks to advance the use of quantum technology

Building sufficiently large quantum computers that can be transformative is a major challenge requiring scientific and technological breakthroughs. Quantum computing is rapidly evolving, but the limited scale of the quantum hardware available today, fragmented development tools, and general shortage of quantum expertise, make it difficult to build near-term quantum applications. To overcome these challenges, it is necessary to assemble experts to focus on solving problems using today’s current hardware, as well as stimulate the innovation necessary to build larger, general purpose machines that will have a greater impact. The AWS Center for Quantum Computing is being established at Caltech, a pioneer in the fields of quantum computation and quantum information. The AWS Center for Quantum Computing will bring together researchers and engineers from Amazon with leading academic institutions in quantum computing, to develop more powerful quantum computing hardware and identify novel quantum applications with the goal of boosting innovation in science and industry.

Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world’s brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges. “We are delighted to join with our colleagues at AWS and our academic partners to address the fundamental challenges that must be overcome if quantum computing is to reach its full potential,” said David Tirrell, the Ross McCollum-William H. Corcoran Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Provost, and holder of the Carl and Shirley Larson Provostial Chair at Caltech. “Caltech has made substantial investments in both experimental and theoretical quantum science and technology over the years, and the new Center will provide an extraordinary opportunity to maximize the impact of those investments.”

Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab will help customers get quantum ready

The Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab connects customers with quantum computing experts from Amazon and its technology and consulting partners to help discover new applications and find ways to apply quantum computing inside their organizations. As the technology eventually reaches the point of commercial viability, AWS and its partners will collaborate on experiments with customers and guide them to incorporate quantum solutions into their business. Lab programs will combine hands-on educational workshops with brainstorming sessions to help customers “work backwards” from business challenges, and then go step-by-step through the process of using quantum computers effectively. In combination with customer access to Amazon Braket, and by integrating with familiar software tools for optimization, quantum simulation, computational material science, and quantum chemistry, the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab will help customers to determine where existing high performance computing can currently meet their needs, begin to develop their own strategy for quantum computing, build internal expertise, and eventually deploy quantum applications. Amazon Partner Network (APN) partners participating in the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab include: 1Qbit, Rahko, Rigetti, QCWare, QSimulate, Xanadu, and Zapata.

From Amazon News

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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