AWS buys before it tries with new quantum networking hub • The Register

Nothing in the world of quantum hardware is fully cooked yet, but quantum computing is a little more advanced than quantum networking – an esoteric but potentially important area of ​​technology, especially for ultra-secure transactions. Amazon Web Services is among those working to bring quantum connectivity from the lab to the real world.

Failing to develop its own quantum processors, AWS has created an ecosystem around existing quantum devices and tools through its Support (no, that’s not a typo) service. While these elements focus on computation, the tech giant has turned to quantum networks.

Alongside its Center for Quantum Computing, which it spear At the end of 2021, AWS announced the launch of its Center for Quantum Networking. The latter works hard to solve “fundamental scientific and technical challenges and to develop new hardware, software and applications for quantum networks”, the Internet souk. declared.

Like quantum computers, these networks exploit particle physics, using in particular photons to send information. AWS describes potential early applications that include bundling individual quantum systems and enabling quantum key distribution that could outperform traditional encryption – a research topic near and dear to the US government.

In 2020, the US Department of Energy created a Quantum Internet Blueprint with four priority quantum networks research areas [PDF] which clarify how the current preliminary concepts are:

  • Determine what hardware will be needed to create a scalable quantum internet;
  • Determine how to integrate multiple quantum network devices;
  • Determine how to repeat, route and switch quantum signals;
  • Determine how to handle errors in quantum networks;

Nonetheless, the DoE said it “has reached the point where it can consider moving from small-scale experiments to a first nationwide quantum internet installation.”

One of the major technical obstacles to a working quantum internet involves the DoE’s third area of ​​research, which seeks to solve a fundamental problem in quantum physics: photons cannot be amplified, so their range is limited. “This means that special new technologies, such as quantum repeaters and transducers, will need to be developed in order to implement global quantum networks,” AWS explained.

Quantum entanglement is necessary for these kinds of networks to work, but even then the range is limited. The DoE said in its plan that entanglement experiments have reached distances of up to 1,200 km – impressive, but far from a world-wide Internet.

Dutch researchers recently tackled a fundamental problem in quantum networks – the transmission of data through an intermediary node – but the article makes no mention of the scope the researchers were able to obtain from their experiment.

With all the technical and scientific challenges along the way, AWS’s Center for Quantum Networking has plenty of issues to choose from — but didn’t specify any in its announcement. Amazon did not respond to questions about the Center’s broader plans. ®

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