The tsunami of quantum technology developments that crashed on corporate shores this year may just be the first wave, according to recent media reports.
The Seattle Times is reporting that Amazon, the corporate retail giant, is showing signs that it’s developing a quantum computer of its own, meanwhile IBM’s CEO is telling a Fortune gathering that quantum is here — and it’s here for good.
According to the Times, Amazon appears to be putting the pieces in place to build a quantum computer. The paper is seeing some of those signs in its recent hiring, based on internal job postings and LinkedIn information. The company is hiring a quantum hardware team for its Amazon Web Services unit. An engineer, formerly of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is also reportedly heading up the effort to build a quantum computer for AWS.
Amazon would gain a considerable competitive advantage in developing their own QC, according to the Seattle Times, adding, “Among Amazon’s recent hires are research scientists focusing on designing a new superconducting quantum device and device fabrication. Developing its own quantum computer would let Amazon more closely mirror the approach taken by its major cloud rivals. IBM first made a quantum computer available to the public in 2016 and has rolled out regular upgrades.”
Speaking of IBM..
The CEO of Big Blue predicts that 2023 will be a big year for quantum computing. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Fortune Brainstorm Tech virtual conference that he expects company’s clients to be using quantum tech, and benefitting from quantum, as soon as 2023.
“The impact [of quantum computing] on our clients…is going to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars,” Krishna said.
He added that medicine would be a perfect target for some of quantum advantage, a term used to describe projects that are too complex for both ordinary classical computers and classical supercomputers.
“If you want to understand penicillin or caffeine, you can’t do that on a conventional supercomputer, no matter how big you make it,” Krishna explained.
Quantum will also remain a key research area — and potential new revenue source — for IBM, which recently underwent restructuring. Fortune reports that IBM announced plans in October to spin out slower-growing parts of its business and to focus on cloud and artificial intelligence. Quantum computing would also remain under the IBM umbrella.