Categories
GeekWire

Quantum computing goes public at Amazon

Eight months after unveiling its Amazon Braket quantum computing platform, Amazon Web Services says the cloud-based service is officially open for business.

In a video that pokes a bit of fun at the weirdness of quantum concepts, Bill Vass, vice president for AWS technology, says Braket serves as a “launch pad for people to go explore quantum computing.”

In contrast to the rigid one-or-zero realm of classical computing, Braket and similar platforms take advantage of the fuzziness of quantum algorithms, in which quantum bits — or “qubits” — can represent multiple values simultaneously until the results are read out.

Quantum computing is particularly well-suited for tackling challenges ranging from cryptography — which serves as the foundation of secure online commerce — to the development of new chemical compounds for industrial and medical use. Some of the first applications could well be in the realm of system optimization, including the optimization of your financial portfolio.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Supercomputers join the war on COVID-19

Summit supercomputer
Among the high-performance computing resources that will be made available for coronavirus research is Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit, the world’s fastest supercomputer. (ORNL Photo)

Less than a week after the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy organized a consortium to focus the power of artificial intelligence on addressing the coronavirus outbreak, another tech team is joining the fight — this time, armed with supercomputers and the cloud.

The COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium, organized by OSTP and IBM, has the Seattle area’s powerhouses of cloud computing, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft on board. Google Cloud is in on the effort as well.

There are also academic partners (MIT and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), federal agency partners (NASA and the National Science Foundation) and five Department of Energy labs (Argonne, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia).

Among the resources being brought to bear is the world’s most powerful supercomputer, the Oak Ridge Summit, which packs a 200-petaflop punch.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

U.S. officials seek advice on quantum computing

Quantum computer component
Components for IBM’s quantum computer are on display at a science conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for experts to guide the White House and federal agencies through the weird world of quantum information science.

Today’s solicitation seeks nominations to the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee, a panel that gets its mandate from legislation that President Donald Trump signed into law last December.

In addition to calling for the establishment of the advisory committee, the National Quantum Initiative Act sets aside $1.2 billion over five years to support research, development and workforce training relating to quantum information science.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

How long will men dominate computer science?

AI2 office
Semantic Scholar was pioneered at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. (AI2 Photo)

Today it’s mostly a man’s world in computer science — and a tally of the authors behind nearly 3 million research papers in the field suggests that could be the case for the rest of the 21st century.

The findings, reported by researchers at Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, point to how far the scientific community still has to go when it comes to gender equality in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

What will quantum computing do for us?

Microsoft researchers
Microsoft’s Krysta Svore and David Reilly work on hardware for a quantum computer. (Microsoft Photo)

Quantum computer scientist Krysta Svore has a dream.

In her dream, she arrives at the week’s Northwest Quantum Nexus Summit at the University of Washington in a self-driving car that uses quantum computation to sharpen the precision of its GPS readings and optimize its route through traffic. “So I got here faster than I ever have before,” Svore said.

“I paid with my quantum credit card, which I know no one has stolen, because it’s fully secure,” she said  “On the way, I looked outside, and the air was crisp and clear. We have more carbon being extracted from the atmosphere. We have cleaner energy solutions. In fact, the country was just rewired with room-temperature superconducting cable, so we have lossless power transmission across the United States.”

In Svore’s dream, quantum computers have optimized the routes for transmitting that power, and have also come up with the chemistry for super-efficient storage batteries, turning solar and wind power into always-available electricity. “All of this is leading to a lower power bill for me,” she said.

Svore dreams of quantum technologies that can design new drugs on the molecular scale, map distant black holes with incredible precision and create new types of games that will help the next generation get used to how the weird world of quantum physics works.

“This was my dream last night,” Svore said. “The world was different. It was quantum. But in fact, this dream is here. The world is quantum. And it’s in our hands today to create this dream, to create it here in the Northwest.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Senator talks quantum with Microsoft’s president

Sen. Maria Cantwell and Microsoft's Brad Smith
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Microsoft President Brad Smith discuss the challenge of quantum computing during a fireside chat at the Northwest Quantum Nexus Summit at the University of Washington. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

The Pacific Northwest may be known for tech icons like Microsoft and Amazon  but when U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was asked what advice she’d give to the researchers and executives who are trying to up their game when it comes to quantum computing, she invoked a slogan used by a totally different kind of industry leader.

“To borrow from another Northwest icon, ‘Just Do It,’ ” she said, referring to Nike, the Oregon-based sportswear powerhouse.

During today’s fireside chat with Microsoft President Brad Smith at the kickoff summit of a public-private consortium called the Northwest Quantum Nexus, Cantwell said quantum computing could become as much a part of the Pacific Northwest’s tech scene as Boeing and Microsoft, Amazon and Blue Origin.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Northwest pioneers team up on quantum frontier

PNNL reasearchers
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory plan to employ quantum computing to develop new materials for chemical applications. (Microsoft Azure via YouTube)

Experts in the weird and woolly field of quantum computing tend to concentrate on one slice of the challenge, whether it’s developing hardware, algorithms or applications — but in the region that’s home to Microsoft and Amazon, the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a new consortium is going after the whole stack.

We’re not talking about pancakes or sandwiches here. We’re talking about the Northwest Quantum Nexus, which is aiming to widen a network of quantum connections for researchers, developers and business leaders. The group, led by Microsoft Quantum, PNNL and UW, was formally unveiled today in advance of its inaugural summit this week at the university.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Semantic Scholar spices up search engine

AI2 office
Semantic Scholar is one of the projects pioneered at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. (AI2 Photo)

You wouldn’t use an academic search engine to look for cat videos — but if there’s a video with cats in it that goes with an academic paper, the latest version of Semantic Scholar just might find it for you.

Semantic Scholar is the AI-based search engine that’s been developed by the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, or AI2, specifically to sift through research for the most relevant results.

Over the past three years, the project has indexed more than 40 million research papers. Now AI2’s researchers have turned their algorithms loose to link those papers to associated presentation slides, Github code libraries, summaries of clinical trials, news articles, blogs, social-media postings and videos.

That includes a video with pictures of cats and dogs in it, tied to a paper titled “Unpaired Image-to-Image Translation Using Cycle-Consistent Adversarial Networks.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Russian computer crash in space? Nyet problem!

Space station telemetry
A black-and-white view of the International Space Station is overlaid with telemetry data in an image from an approaching Soyuz craft in 2014. (NASA TV)

One of the three computers on the Russian side of the International Space Station has crashed, but orbital operations are unaffected because the two other systems are in working order, Russia’s space agency reported today.

“To restore the computer to work, it is necessary to restart it,” Roscosmos said in a status report. That will happen on Nov. 8.

Roscosmos said the two other computer systems are sufficient for safe operation of the station indefinitely, but it wants the third one back online “to ensure the reliability” of next week’s scheduled docking with an uncrewed Russian Progress cargo spacecraft.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

Categories
GeekWire

Why tech titans are leaping into quantum computing

D-Wave computer
A team member at D-Wave Systems, based in Burnaby, B.C.,, works on the dilution refrigerator system that cools the processors in the company’s quantum computer. (D-Wave Systems Photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The small world of quantum physics is a big deal on the frontier of computer science.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella rates quantum computing as one of three key technologies that will shape his company’s future, along with artificial intelligence and mixed reality. Google and NASA are working with D-Wave Systems to blaze a quantum trail. IBM has its Q initiative, and Boeing’s newly formed Disruptive Computing & Networks unit is targeting quantum as well.

There’s been a White House summit on quantum information science, and Congress is considering legislation that’d give quantum computing a $1.3 billion boost over the next 10 years.

What’s going on?

Get the full story on GeekWire.