From the 2017 Computing Conference, held in Hangzhou, came big news: Ali Cloud and the Institute of Quantum Innovation of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) jointly announced the launch of the Quantum Computing Cloud Platform, the first heavyweight ‘product’ of quantum technology, supported by DAMO Academy.
DAMO Academy is a research organisation established by Alibaba to explore basic science and disruptive technological innovation. At the preliminary stage, it recruited one hundred top global scientists and researchers, and will focus on the study of advanced technology for the future. Quantum technology is one of the key areas of its research.
Pan Jianwei, an academic of the Chinese Academy of Science and also Executive Vice President of the University of Science and Technology of China, said that the quantum computing cloud platform will cultivate industrial ecology and promote the industrialisation of quantum computing. He also expressed his excitement towards this achievement: “twenty years ago, I never expected quantum computing to become a reality in my lifetime. But now, I feel like the quantum revolution is really coming and happening. Quantum computing has progressed faster than I imagined.”
A quantum computing cloud platform is actually a cloud computing platform providing quantum computing services. The front end of the cloud platform exposes users to a cloud quantum algorithm development and testing environment while the back end is connected to the emulated environment of classical computing and real superconducting quantum computing. Ali Cloud will be supporting the emulated environment of classical computing with its cloud computing resources and users can use the service after logging onto the official site of Ali Cloud.
On the same day, Hu Xiaoming, CEO of Ali Cloud, announced their future plan on the quantum technology, including quantum hardware and software, system algorithms, computing applications etc. He said: “Ali Cloud, together with the Chinese Academy of Science, will endeavour to meet the worldwide future needs of data computing.”
Shi Yaoyun, Ali Cloud’s chief scientist in quantum technology, said that Ali Cloud will apply quantum technology to accelerate the calculation of core applications and the quantum platform will be open to their partners. The purpose of Ali Cloud’s developing quantum computing is to promote the industrialisation of quantum computing and make it a tool to solve users’ problems.
The development of quantum computing is of landmark significance. Three hundred years ago, Newtonian Mechanics came into being and it not only sharpened the basis of modern science but also speeded up the first and the second industrial revolution. Beneficiaries from the technological progress, including Britain, Germany and the USA, became the world’s industrial powers. The rise of the Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics in the early 20th century symbolised the second scientific revolution, and led to the third industrial revolution, that is, the information technology revolution, which continues to today.
Quantum computing is referred to as human’s ultimate computing capability. If the traditional computer is compared to a bicycle, then a quantum computer is like a plane. “Quantum mechanics bred the third industrial revolution and is now completely ready to solve major social concerns,” said Pan Jianwei.
In July 2015, the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced to join hands with Ali Cloud in establishing the Chinese Academy of Sciences – Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory. And in March 2017, Ali Cloud published the first case of cloud-based quantum encrypted communication. The first light quantum computer, born in China in May 2017, was jointly developed by the Chinese University of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences - Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory and Zhejiang University. It increases the number of quantum bits for accurate manipulation from the previous 9 to 10.
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