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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Amazon wants to build its own quantum computer

The world’s largest cloud computing provider Amazon is working on its own quantum computer.
“We have an internal project to build our own quantum computer and to develop software and algorithms for it,” says Oskar Painter, head of the quantum hardware team at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the “Handelsblatt”.

On the way to the commercial use of the new technology, Google and IBM have so far been ahead. While the two Amazon competitors operate their own quantum computers, AWS has so far only used one marketplace from external providers. Now the Amazon subsidiary also wants to get in directly. “At AWS, we don’t usually focus on problems far in the future. We do the things our customers want us to do,” said Richard Molds, managing director of Amazon Braket.

With the concept of quantum computers, research and industry are reacting to the fact that the development of high-performance computers that has been common up to now is reaching its physical limits. A quantum computer does not store information in the form of bits that can only have two possible states, namely one or zero. Instead, a qubit of a quantum computer can be both at the same time, i.e. one and zero. The quantum particle pauses in both states until you look at it or measure it. This means that quantum computers can theoretically be many times faster and more powerful than conventional computers.

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Google has been working on quantum computing since 2006. In 2019, the search engine company claimed to have achieved so-called quantum superiority because its Sycamore processor with 53 qubits performed a calculation faster than the fastest conventional supercomputers. IBM has been offering its cloud customers access to its quantum computer “Q System One” with 20 qubits since 2019. In June, IBM also presented its first commercial quantum computer in Europe with 25 qubits, which is located at IBM’s German headquarters in Ehingen near Stuttgart.

In order not to be too dependent on US providers, in May the federal government released a total of two billion euros for the development of quantum computers. The aim should be to build a competitive quantum computer in Germany within the next five years and to create an associated ecosystem with potential users.

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