Work on quantum at AWS reaches across timescales — from investigating quantum technologies for near-term impact to developing the tools and technology that will, on the long-term, lead to robust quantum computing.
AWS, a subsidiary of Amazon, announced the creation of the AWS Center for Quantum Networking, which will focus on solving some of those long-term challenges associated the quantum industry is facing.
“Today we announce the AWS Center for Quantum Networking (CQN) with a mission to address these fundamental scientific and engineering challenges and to develop new hardware, software and applications for quantum networks,” the company announced in a blog post. “CQN will complement the advanced quantum science and engineering efforts already underway at AWS Center for Quantum Computing and Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab.”
According to the post, investment in the long-term has already had an impact on quantum computing right now.
They write: “While there is still a long way ahead, these investments have already transformed quantum computers: They have evolved from delicate laboratory systems accessible to only a few research institutions to increasingly reliable and powerful commercial machines available to researchers, developers, and even quantum enthusiasts worldwide via cloud services like Amazon Braket.”
Quantum’s progress is being backed by investments from governments and technology companies, such as AWS.
As investments in quantum grow, AWS sees a need for quantum networks to fulfill the true potential of quantum devices. These networks are similar to the backbone of today’s internet — but much more powerful and with far more interesting features.
“Despite not receiving the same level of attention as quantum computers, quantum networks have fascinating possible applications,” they write. “One of them is enabling global communications protected by quantum key distribution with privacy and security levels not achievable using conventional encryption techniques. Quantum networks will also provide powerful and secure cloud quantum servers by connecting together and amplifying the capabilities of individual quantum processors.”
Some technologies that will be used in quantum networks are already available, including lasers, fibers, and detectors. However, quantum networks require single photons — smallest building blocks of light — to connect quantum devices together, rather than instead of strong laser beams. While single photons will make quantum networks work, they also pose challenges. They can not be amplified, which limits the network range. And, according to the post, single photons are weak, which makes them difficult to interface with quantum computing devices.
Entirely new technologies — such as quantum repeaters and transducers — will need to be developed to make global quantum networks.
“Like quantum computers, quantum networks are still at an early stage of development, with many outstanding challenges remaining before their full potential is reached,” they write. “Through our investment in quantum research and workforce development, the AWS CQN aims to bring quantum network-enabled advances in privacy, security, and computational power one step closer to our customers.”