(TechnologyReview) Jeff Zhang, Alibaba’s chief technology officer and head of its DAMO Academy research lab, discussed his company’s plans for quantum computing with MIT’s Technology Review in late fall, 2018. Zhang explained that Alibaba’s quantum computing plans are going to play out over the ong term, because they don’t have a processor for it yet. Once they do have a processor, they will need to answer the question of what to use it for. Quantum computers might be good for applications in cryptography or large simulations of materials.
The number of qubits is not the only goal. Alibaba wants to solve the engineering problems of quantum computing. Zhang posed these questions: How do you run existing programs on quantum processors? Which computation tasks are for quantum computers and which are for classical ones. Zhang explained that Alibaba’s building a superconducting quantum computer in the Hangzhou headquarters, and the company wants to reach a point where quantum computing is scalable.