(NextPlatform) A flurry of announcements by some of the most prominent IT companies in late 2019 suggests that collaborations will become increasingly important in the quantum computing space as the players jockey for position in the nascent market. The companies in question include some of the biggest in the industry, including IBM and Microsoft, as well as Amazon Web Services, a new entrant in the field.
The strategy different the types of collaborations is roughly the same, namely to build the foundations of a new ecosystem, not so much to tie users to particular hardware – presumably, someday, quantum computers will be just another commodity – but to help support a toolchain and service framework that is unique to these IT providers.
IBM has been especially adept at bringing international research groups into its Q Network, a cloud-based setup that provides access to the company’s quantum computing hardware. Research collaborators included Keio University (Japan), the University of Munich (Germany), the University of Melbourne (Australia), the University of Oxford (UK), the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (Portugal), the University of Montpellier (France), National Taiwan University (Taiwan), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA), NC State University (USA), (ETH Zurich), Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and Saarland University in Germany. The month previous IBM announced that the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in Germany, and University of Tokyo
Microsoft has come to the quantum computing space a bit more cautiously. The software-maker has been focused on a exotic approach using Majorana zero modes-based topological quantum computation. Instead they have gotten into the game with their Q# offering, a language for developing quantum computing applications. More recently though, the Redmond gang developed a more complete quantum computing stack along with its newly hatched cloud-based Azure Quantum service and brought in a set of partners that offer workable quantum computers for that service.
Not one to be left out of any paradigm-shifting computer technology, Amazon has thrown its hat into the quantum ring with a new AWS cloud offering called Amazon Braket. System providers include D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti. Together, they offer three distinct quantum computing approaches: quantum annealing (D-Wave), ion trap quantum computing (IonQ), and superconducting quantum circuitry (Rigetti). The AWS service will utilize the latest hardware from each of these providers.