Cisco Showing Signs That It’s Gearing Up For a Long-term Quantum Future

Cisco mastered the internet era — is it preparing to take on the quantum era?

There’s a buzz building over Cisco’s increasing investments — in both money and talent — in quantum, suggesting quantum technology is growing into its core portfolio. These increasing moves of this networking giant — and arguably the architect of the internet revolution — though restrained, are echoing loudly in the industry because of Cisco’s (CSCONASDAQ) ability to predict and master long-term technological trends.

In one sure sign of Cisco’s faith in quantum technology, the company appears to be staffing up to take a leadership in quantum computing and quantum networking.  Alireza Shabani announced on Twitter that he has started work at Cisco, adding his move to Cisco was inspired, in part by the company’s long-term interest in quantum technology, primarily quantum computing and quantum communication.

Shabani was a senior research scientist at Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab and is a lecturer at UC-Berkeley EECS Department.

“Therefore, it is fundamental to explore how such computers will communicate so that the full potential of quantum computation can be realized.”

Cisco is currently looking to collaborate with quantum researchers at universities and research institutions. The have opened up a recent request for proposals aimed at quantum.

According to the proposal:

“Future large-scale quantum computing systems will be able to accelerate conventionally hard problems resolution, bringing computing power we have never seen before. From molecular simulations for pharmaceutical and materials discovery to artificial intelligence applications, cybersecurity improvements or financial modeling, quantum computers and algorithms will have broad applicability. Therefore, it is fundamental to explore how such computers will communicate so that the full potential of quantum computation can be realized.”

Research areas include but are not limited to the following.

  • Distributed/modular quantum computing architectures
  • Hybrid-classical quantum architectures
  • Quantum transducers
  • Quantum memory
  • Quantum network end-to-end transport integrity & improved reliability
  • Operation models for quantum networks
  • Quantum networks management & operations
  • Optimized protocols for quantum communications
  • Quantum algorithms

The company’s recent forays into quantum is not its first. The company has steadily shown a growing interest in quantum technology. Last year, Cisco released a brief on post-quantum security. Company officials have also blogged about the coming wave of quantum technology.

Cisco is just one corporate giant driving hard to the quantum hoop, joining Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google, Baidu, Honeywell and others who want to be leader — not laggards — in what’s slowly, but surely becoming the quantum era.

Matt Swayne

Matt Swayne

Matt Swayne is a contributor at The Quantum Insider. He focuses on breaking news about quantum discoveries and quantum computing.

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