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Amazon Braket: the missing link between customers and quantum computing

And if Amazon had understood everything, by announcing yesterday its Braket service, which puts quantum computing within reach of the most advanced customers on the subject....
Quantum computing is in its infancy. It has been taking her head out of the research laboratories for the past two years, and IT professionals in companies do not understand anything about it. 70 years ago, this was called time-sharing computing. In 2019, Amazon invented time-sharing quantum computing.

December 4th 2019 | 1101 readers

Philippe Nieuwbourg, Quantaneo
Philippe Nieuwbourg, Quantaneo

Inventing something is one job, sale it is another

Jealous of their expertise, scientists and researchers do not always try to popularize and simplify. They finally have only one fear: that the subject will escape them, and that the Holy Grail will turn into a simple trade fair. However, it is in this evolution that the uses and financing of tomorrow will be anchored.

Today, although still in its infancy, several quantum technologies are already in competition. Some simulate quantum computing (Atos or Microsoft). Others claim their quantum supremacy (Google), immediately corrected by the third (IBM) who explain that the previous ones lie... Some use ions, photons, atoms, and other technologies, all inaccessible to the public, even professional.

And finally, the same questions come up every day on the forums: when could I use a quantum computer, what is the best technology, how can I access it, how can I learn? Questions that suppliers always answer in the same way, by delaying, because they would not be ready for this distribution to customers.

Amazon could afford to put a few hundred million dollars into a research and development plan for its own quantum computer. Perhaps it is also in the boxes of Jeff Bezos' firm. But he has just announced, at his annual conference, a much smarter service, Amazon Braket. 
Strategically and tactically, Braket's positioning is judicious.
Rather than compete with Google and IBM, both running to develop their own quantum computers; or with other start-ups in the sector that have taken a lead (D-Wave, Rigetti...), Amazon has chosen not to choose.
And has chosen to offer today what was missing yesterday, the bridge between companies and all these technologies. 

The main difficulty for companies is that quantum algorithms are nothing like the algorithms of conventional computing. So, you have to learn everything on a new basis; develop, then test. But how can we test its first developments, when a quantum computer costs several million dollars and the technology evolves every quarter?
Not very interoperable, each generation of quantum computers also requires the algorithms to be adapted to test them in each environment. Not easy....

​Amazon Braket, a layer to facilitate interoperability

Amazon Braket first of all, offers a design and development environment. From existing algorithms, or from the blank page, you can therefore prepare your first quantum algorithms. The first level proposed by Braket is a simulation service that tests and verifies the algorithms you developed. Once ready, Amazon Braket offers you the opportunity to run them, on demand, on the main machines available on the market.
Amazon has partnered with D-Wave, Rigetti, and IonQ, three manufacturers of quantum computers, with different and complementary technologies. So, you will find all three technologies on the Amazon platform. And you can buy machine time on each environment, according to your needs, from the same user account… welcome back “time sharing”.

In order to better reflect the reality of the early developments in quantum computing, Amazon offers access to both these quantum computers and its traditional computers. Highly specialized, quantum computers will only perform a few very precise calculations, and will rely on traditional resources to complete their tasks. Integrated into Amazon S3, Braket publishes here the results of quantum calculations.

D-Wave announced on this occasion that it will make its 2000Q quantum processor available today, and will offer its new generation, Advantage, in the middle of next year. Rigetti is providing its latest generation of 32-qubit quantum processors via Amazon Braket. 

Amazon thus creates a gateway for companies to discover quantum computing. It is now up to companies to discover the challenges of quantum computers for their industry, and to set up a training plan for their teams.

Philippe Nieuwbourg is an independent trainer and analyst, a specialist in data analysis for... Know more about this author

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