AWS Quantum Technologies Blog

〈 Hello | World 〉!

Welcome to the new AWS Quantum Computing blog channel.

Quantum computing is hardly the most common topic in dinner conversations, unless you’re a physics geek, but it is becoming more and more talked about, particularly in the business and technology media. In my opinion, quantum computing is an interdisciplinary area with two equally important goals: one, to discover new science at the junction of physics and computation; two, to employ the results to build useful technology.

Quantum computers are machines that process information encoded in objects whose behavior is governed by quantum physics, the best scientific theory for the microscopic world so far. Think of atoms, electrons, and photons. Because of their use of quantum physics, quantum computers behave differently from any other types of computers. Remarkably, quantum computers promise to speed up some specific computational tasks that are beyond the reach of conventional computers. Building these machines is a grand challenge, and designing their algorithms requires a new way of thinking. The evolution of quantum computing will be a long journey, but there are opportunities to accelerate progress.

On this new AWS blog channel, we’ll share insights as the field develops, including information on some of its technological and scientific findings. To keep things practical, we’ll showcase customer stories, tutorials, and introduce experiments you can run yourself. In addition to AWS technology, news, and opinions, we’ll give a voice to the quantum computing community, from groups building quantum hardware, software developers, algorithms designers, to researchers.

Before I tease you with more on what you can expect to see on this channel, let me briefly review how we got here. As usual, we started by talking to customers. We heard a recurring question “When will quantum computing reach its true potential?” My answer was “I don’t know.” No one does. It’s a difficult question because there are still fundamental scientific and engineering problems to be solved. The uncertainty makes this area so fascinating, but it also makes it difficult to plan. For some customers, that’s a real issue. They want to know if and when they should focus on quantum computing, but struggle to get the facts, to discern the signal from all the noises. One of our goals for this blog is to amplify the signal.

Before we can look too far ahead, customers need to know exactly where the technology stands today. This is why we launched Amazon Braket at re:Invent 2019. Amazon Braket enables AWS customers to experiment with different types of quantum hardware, each with a different physical implementation. For the first time, it’s possible to compare different technologies side by side, and to switch between them by changing only a line of code. It’s not just about access. It’s about envisaging how quantum computing will one day fit into a cloud-based IT infrastructure, working together with other computational resources. While today’s workloads are experimental, it’s important for the field to start tackling the complex operational issues like usability, security, and resource management.

One thing we learned from the adoption of machine learning was the importance of creating a support structure for customers in AWS. That experience now guides our path in quantum computing. Some customers are looking for expert help and the opportunity to collaborate. That’s why we built the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab – a customer engagement team led by experts in quantum computing. They dive into problems with customers to explore how quantum computing can play a role and how, over time, it takes its place among the other solutions already available on AWS today.

Amazon Braket and the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab focus on the present. To help realize the future potential of quantum computing, we built the AWS Center for Quantum Computing at the California Institute of Technology. The team is focused on the big challenges of universal fault-tolerance quantum computation, and we’re still hiring! Last December, we published a research paper that outlines the hardware architecture based on hybrid electro-acoustic qubits. Papers resulting from collaboration with researchers across the community have been appearing on arXiv and Amazon Science. Here is an example that highlights our contributions to QIP 2021. We see Amazon Braket as an enabler, a catalyst for innovation in the industry, supporting research at universities around the world and through national agencies such as MeitY in India and the National Science Foundation. But our work in the quantum community isn’t just about research. We’re excited to support educators such as Carnegie Mellon, the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, as they train the next generation of quantum experts. We’re also proud that software developers such as QC Ware, Quantum Computing Inc., and Zapata Computing who are choosing to build on Amazon Braket, using the service as a foundation to access quantum hardware. Collectively, such groups are advancing the field. We look forward to helping them innovate and sharing those innovations here on this blog channel.

Stay tuned, and bookmark our channel to catch our upcoming posts. If you’re ready, check out our notebooks in the Amazon Braket console or on GitHub, and take a look at Jeff Barr’s summary of how to get hands on with the service. Please let us know if you have any feedback or would like to share your story of quantum innovation.