Amazon announces entry into major battles over quantum hegemony
A week ago, Xilinx CEO Victor Peng told a reporter of China Electronics News that quantum computing is still far away and its application scenarios are limited. Four weeks ago, Rich Uhlig, dean of the American Institute of Intel Corporation, said in an interview with the China Electronics News that it will take at least 10 years for quantum computing to truly produce practical value. Although everyone in the industry thinks that quantum computing is still far away, this cannot stop the spread of the war of quantum hegemony. At the AWS re: Invent2019 global conference in Las Vegas, USA, December 2-6, Amazon Announcing the combination of Bracket, AWS Quantum Computing Center, and Quantum Solutions Lab to enter quantum computing, coupled with previous layouts and entanglements in the quantum field by Google, Microsoft, and IBM, the battle for quantum is becoming more and more lively.
First look at what Amazon brought this time? Amazon first brought Bracket, a cloud service through which scientists, researchers, developers, and customers can build quantum algorithms and basic applications by themselves, and then perform simulation tests on AWS. It is not Amazon's "original self-built", but from the cooperation between Amazon and D-Wave, IonQ and Rigetti quantum computer companies to provide services through the Amazon cloud, which follows Amazon's usual practice, "not necessarily to be original, but With AWS cloud services you can access and get every possibility. "Pragmatic, landing, risk-free.
Starting pragmatically does not prevent Amazon's desire to enter the "core circle" of quantum computing, so self-built quantum computing systems must be selected. At this conference, Amazon also announced the establishment of the "AWS Quantum Computing Center" and "Quantum Solutions Lab". The AWS Quantum Computing Center will bring together quantum computing from Amazon, Caltech, and other top academic research institutions. Experts to jointly develop new technologies for quantum computing. The Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab project connects customers with quantum computing experts from Amazon and its APN technology and consulting partners to develop internal expertise, identify the practical uses of quantum computing, accelerate the development of quantum applications, and have a substantial impact .
"From providing ground services to building core competitiveness to expanding ecological partners," the three-box combination Amazon can firmly control the immediate, future and ecology.
In fact, Amazon's "Quantum Bureau" began to form an array 4 years ago, and it has only recently become high-profile. And as soon as Amazon's "Quantum Bureau" was unveiled, it was favored by its partners, including Boeing. Boeing said it looked forward to working with AWS, and its expectations for quantum computing were that it would solve many challenges in the aerospace field, including Research on basic materials, system optimization, and secure communications.
Boeing's choice fits the information revealed by the director of Intel Research, Rich Uhlig, to the reporter of "China Electronics News": "Quantum computing will be applied to artificial intelligence relatively late. Before that, there are some more practical problems that need to be solved. Pre-AI uses quantum computing, such as molecular modeling, quantum chemistry, etc. "
When the cloud giant Amazon enters quantum computing, people will inevitably turn their attention to Microsoft, because this is also a cloud service provider. As a cloud competitor of AWS, Microsoft's quantum computing is earlier than Amazon's "bright sword." At Ignite 2019, which was held on November 6, this year, Microsoft released the Azure Quantum quantum service. Azure Quantum is a full-stack open cloud ecosystem. Through cooperation with companies such as 1Qbit and Honeywell, Microsoft has proposed various cross-industry quantum solutions. Users can leverage the tools and services in Azure to build a quantum solution that works for them.
And Microsoft's quantum computing did not start a month ago. In 2017, Microsoft released the first public preview version of the Quantum Development Kit, as well as the Q # programming language, quantum computing simulator, and other resources. Microsoft is also a company that considers both the front and the future, and it also provides quantum computing services in the cloud through cooperation. It also has the right to prototype its quantum computers from Honeywell, IonQ, and QCI. Compared with Amazon, Microsoft is more lethal in the developer and the community. "We know we won't come up with an overall picture of possible solutions; we need a global community," said Krysta Svore, general manager of Microsoft Quantum. Therefore, Microsoft vigorously promotes the quantum development community and launches quantum-related programming languages and tools, hoping that its quantum fire will be ignited by developers.
One of Microsoft's partners is IonQ, a supplier of quantum computers, and its early customers include The Dow Chemical Company, which hopes to use quantum computers to solve chemical problems. This once again confirms Rich Uhlig's claim that quantum will be solved first in "quantum chemistry".
Whoever ignites the war of quantum computing needs to mention IBM. Since 2016, IBM has provided a network channel to access its quantum hardware. On January 8, 2019, IBM exhibited the quantum computer IBM Q System One at CES, and stated that the system was the world's first Integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use. In March of this year, IBM announced Quantum Moore's Law and the industry's highest qubit at the time. But the "quantum hegemony" recently announced by Google somewhat annoyed IBM.
On October 23 this year, Google published a paper in "Nature" to prove to the outside world that the company team has achieved "QuantumSupremacy" through experiments, also known as "quantum hegemony". In the paper, Google devised an experimental problem that would only take 200 seconds to crack with its team's 53-quantum computer, compared with 10,000 years with a traditional computer. In this regard, IBM issued an open letter, saying that there are many questions about Google ’s thesis and “quantum hegemony”. Google researchers have chosen to use programmable superconducting qubits to develop quantum randomness. Random number generation circuit, the task of generating random number of circuits, under ideal circumstances, traditional computers can be completed in only 2.5 days.
Google has always been good at grabbing the limelight, just like the "spokesperson" of artificial intelligence, it has also grabbed the limelight of IBM. IBM has been working in the field of artificial intelligence business for a long time, and it also organized chess masters and dark blue machines to play chess as early as 1997. In 2011, it organized people and Watson machine debates, but it made the public aware of the artificial The "Enlightenment" of the advent of intelligence is still Google's AlphaGo and Li Shishi playing Go. As an Internet company, Google has always had a strong appeal in front of the public, and this time is no exception.
About Google and Quantum Hegemony. Rich Uhlig told the China Electronics News reporter that Google's announcement of quantum hegemony should be said to be an advance in the field of quantum computing. But Rich Uhlig also said, "Whether quantum computing becomes hegemony needs to find a very complicated problem, and prove that in the process of solving this complex problem, the efficiency of quantum computing is far superior to traditional computing methods, so that quantum hegemony can be achieved. This is true. From the perspective of selecting the topic, Google has not found a real-world problem to solve, so it is not very agreeable to call it hegemony at this point. Because the real goal of quantum computing is not quantum hegemony, but quantum practicality. "So in this war of words, Intel also did not vote for Google.
In the global quantum arena, Intel is also on the track. Rich Uhlig revealed that Intel's quantum computing research is advancing from two directions, including both superconducting quantum and spin quantum. In the early days, Intel conducted research in a managed manner. Recently, Intel has focused its research technology on silicon spin quantum computing, and has made quite good progress in this regard, whether it is from manufacturing qubits. , Or from the perspective of control technology (spin quantum requires a low temperature control environment), have made very good and very meaningful progress.
But Rich Uhlig also said that quantum computing is really still early, because "how many problems quantum computing can solve is proportional to the number and size of qubits." Why does quantum computing solve problems is related to the number and size of qubits? related. Because qubits are very fragile and may decompose in milliseconds, some technologies need to be developed to make the surrounding environment more tolerant to qubits. To make qubits exist for a long time, many error correction circuits are needed to ensure Functional qubits can meet the requirements of logical qubits.
Regarding the relationship between physical qubits and logical qubits, Song Jiqiang, director of the Intel China Research Institute, told reporters: A physical qubit is a spin qubit with a transistor. But physical qubits are very fragile, and their entanglement time is very short. It is necessary to check whether their state is stable. Usually, a layer of error correction circuit is required on top of multiple physical qubits to form a logical qubit. This logical qubit Bits can be used for algorithmic calculations, so using multiple physical qubits can become long-lasting logical qubits available at the algorithm level.
"This means that thousands, tens or even millions of physical qubits and related decryption codes are needed to make quantum computing possible." Rich Uhlig said that there are only 54 qubits now, so Quantum computing is a marathon. The first mile has been run now, and many runners are currently running. Intel is one of them. This is the status quo, and it is still far from being competitive.
Although quantum computing is still in its early days, the tech giants and the United States have not relaxed their investment in it at all. In December 2018, President Trump signed the National Quantum Initiative Act. At the same time as the establishment of the Science and Technology Policy Office (OSTP) , Also announced that it will allocate $ 1.2 billion over the next five years to support research and development of quantum computing. From the National Quantum Initiative Act in the United States to the active layout of Google, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and Intel, all are showing one thing. Quantum computing needs to be planned and invested as early as possible.
Editor-in-chief: Li Jiashi