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re:Invent recap: Amazon showcases cloud computing innovation


Amazon held its 10th re:Invent conference this week. The annual event, held this year in Las Vegas as well as online, reveals new technologies designed to support its Amazon Web Services (AWS) arm, one of the leading platforms for cloud computing. The tech giant's first AWS re:Invent in 2012 was a humble affair with only 6,000 attendees, dominated by startups and emerging technology partners. The in-person event featured keynote speakers, announcements about its latest tech innovations, as well as training and certification opportunities. Amazon revealed the latest it has to offer, but a few announcements took center stage.

AWS quantum computing service Braket now generally available


Amazon Web Services on Thursday announced the general availability of Amazon Braket, a fully managed AWS service that the company has touted will enable scientists, researchers, and developers to experiment with computers from quantum hardware providers. First unveiled at the AWS Re:Invent conference in December, the cloud giant said Braket lets customers explore, evaluate, and experiment with quantum computing hardware to gain in-house experience as they plan for the future. It's a single development environment to build quantum algorithms, test them on simulated quantum computers, and try them on a range of different quantum hardware architectures. Quantum hardware partners include systems from D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti. "The cloud will be the main way that customers access quantum computers and combine those systems with high-performance classical computing for certain types of computationally-intensive research," said Bill Vass, VP of technology at AWS. "Amazon Braket makes it easy for organizations to begin experimenting with quantum computing today -- from those just beginning to explore the possibilities to those that are already familiar with different quantum technologies and are ready to use it as a research tool. Our goal for Amazon Braket is to be a catalyst for innovation across the quantum community, bringing together hardware and software developers, researchers, and end users."

Quantum computing: A cheat sheet


Quantum computing--considered to be the next generation of high-performance computing--is a rapidly-changing field that receives equal parts attention in academia and in enterprise research labs. Honeywell, IBM, and Intel are independently developing their own implementations of quantum systems, as are startups such as D-Wave Systems. In late 2018, President Donald Trump signed the National Quantum Initiative Act that provides $1.2 billion for quantum research and development. TechRepublic's cheat sheet for quantum computing is positioned both as an easily digestible introduction to a new paradigm of computing, as well as a living guide that will be updated periodically to keep IT leaders informed on advances in the science and commercialization of quantum computing. SEE: The CIO's guide to quantum computing (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic) SEE: All of TechRepublic's cheat sheets and smart person's guides Quantum computing is an emerging technology that attempts to overcome limitations inherent to traditional, transistor-based computers. Transistor-based computers rely on the encoding of data in binary bits--either 0 or 1. Quantum computers utilize qubits, which have different operational properties.

AWS Crowdsources Its Quantum Computing Future


Six of the eight largest public cloud providers worldwide–Alibaba, Baidu, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Tencent–have been investing heavily in quantum computing research and development (R&D). AWS, by far the largest cloud provider, had been completely absent from the quantum computing discussion until this week. The holy grail for cloud providers is to find a hardware solution that accelerates machine learning and artificial intelligence by orders of magnitude. There are two ways to improve machine learning at scale: build specialized architectures using today's design tools or find a completely different path. Quantum computing is everyone's big bet for the completely different path.

D-Wave announces Leap 2, its cloud service for quantum computing applications


D-Wave Systems today announced Leap 2, a new version of its quantum cloud service for building and deploying quantum computing applications. Leap 2 is designed to help businesses and developers transition from quantum exploration to quantum production. D-Wave also promised that Advantage, its next-generation quantum system, will be available via Leap 2 this year. Binary digits (bits) are the basic units of information in classical computing, while quantum bits (qubits) make up quantum computing. Bits are always in a state of 0 or 1, while qubits can be in a state of 0, 1, or a superposition of the two.