Amazon Web services has announced a quantum computing plan, including the establishment of an AWS Quantum Computing Center for nearly two years. Today, AWS is opening a Schrodinger style box to showcase the center’s vitality and explore quantum oddities in a new building at the California Institute of technology’s Pasadena campus, California.
Caltech said the two-story, 21000 square foot facility was the first corporate cooperation building on its campus. The “first day” was in August, said Oskar painter, a physics professor at the California Institute of technology, who is in charge of the center.
Painter, director of quantum hardware at AWS center, told geekwire, “we’re in the building.”. “Our employees have been working there. This is very good. Obviously, considering COVID-19 [pandemic], we would have been very far away, but now it’s really a good time to come back and see each other and celebrate this facility.”
The center will bring together AWS developers and academic researchers from Caltech and other institutions across the country to solve the problems hindering the quantum computing revolution. The collaborators are researchers from the University of Washington, Stanford University, MIT, Harvard University and other computer science institutes.
AWS quantum computing center
“Our new facilities include everything we need to advance the boundaries of quantum R & D, from manufacturing, testing and operating quantum processors to innovatively controlling the processes of quantum computers, and technologies we need to expand to support larger quantum devices, such as cryogenic cooling systems and wiring,” Nadia Carlsten, product director of AWS Center, said in a blog post.
Pater said that the American Welding Society decided to locate the facility in Pasadena, in part because of the historical role of Caltech in quantum physics. For example, the late California Institute of technology physicist Richard Feynman played an important role in the quantum pantheon. Another prominent figure at Caltech, John Preskill, joined Amazon’s quantum research last year.
The purpose of quantum computing is to use the strange phenomena on the quantum scale, which can solve the problems that can hardly be solved by using the binary, one or zero paradigm of classical computing.
Like the dead and living cats in Owen Schrodinger’s famous thought experiment, qubits (also known as qubits) can be regarded as representing 1 and 0 at the same time, and are not observed until the end of the calculation.
Physicists say that this method is especially suitable for network optimization, prime factor decomposition and encryption, and the simulation of molecular interactions in materials science. Potential benefits may include more effective drugs, better batteries, more accurate weather forecasts and more predictable market forecasts.
However, there are still huge challenges to be solved, in which error correction comes first. Whether qubits are generated by superconducting circuits, trapped ions or photons, quantum states are usually so subtle that qubits may be disturbed and misread. Reducing the error rate will be a requirement for many applications of quantum computers.
“We have many orders of magnitude to cover, such as nine orders of magnitude,” panent explained. “If you look at how qubits improve physically over time, they basically double every two years… So if you have to cover nine orders of magnitude, you’re talking about 60 years to achieve real application. We don’t want to wait 60 years.”
Researchers at the AWS center are working on a hybrid method that uses enhanced physical qubits (which can represent not only 1 and 0, but also a wide range of values) as building blocks for error correction logic qubits.
Fernando brand ã o, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of technology, is the head of quantum algorithms at AWS center. He said: “from our theoretical analysis, we find that logical qubits do not need hundreds of thousands of physical qubits, but may need thousands of physical qubits, depending on the error rate, which may be about 100.”. “So, in principle, you can save a lot of money.”
The research done by Caltech will be invested in the internal hardware development of Amazon Web services, and cooperate with ionq, rigetti and d-wave systems to develop Amazon braket quantum computing service based on cloud.
Painter said, “if we think hardware brings value to customers, we will continue to strive to bring new hardware to customers, not just our own internally developed hardware.”. “At this stage, it is indeed so.”
At present, AWS is using superconducting circuits to make qubits.
Carlsten said: “part of the reason why we chose this method is that the ability to manufacture these qubits using well-known microelectronic manufacturing technology makes it possible to manufacture many qubits in a repeatable way and gives us more control when we begin to expand the number of qubits.”.
AWS is by no means the only large technology company exploring the frontier of quantum computing. Microsoft, Google, IBM and Intel are also competing for quantum hegemony and sometimes put forward competing claims.
“There is a good and healthy debate about the performance of quantum computers because they are so new that we are still trying to understand how to calibrate your performance,” painter said. “The really great thing about academia is that it is almost natural to have a peer review process, in which the most important thing is what is real and what is the harvest of knowledge.”
He pointed out that AWS’s participation in openqasm, an open source programming standardization work, is an example of the joint efforts of major participants to promote the cause of quantum computing.
Like a real scholar, Pater is reluctant to predict when the quantum computing revolution will reach its peak.
“We don’t usually talk about the details of the road map, but let me tell you a time scale that I think is very realistic,” he said. “I think in the next few years, you will begin to see small error correction computers.”
Pat said that this device composed of only a few logical qubits will make quantum computing a brighter focus. “This will be a major breakthrough,” he said, “because it does define a new paradigm that people will pursue, and may quickly improve the speed of our development of high-value quantum computers to solve high-value problems… This is still a decade of efforts, but this decade will be very, very exciting.”