This article focuses on the participation of the Chinese Web and IT giants in the race to quantum information science (QIS) and technologies.
We look at Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, and Huawei involvement in QIS. Their quantum activity ranges from setting up research and development labs and centres to launching quantum cloud platforms. It goes from quantum computing research to emphasis on users’ applications. We highlight investments when available. Alternatively, we estimate activity, when possible, through other means.
We also mention Quantum CTek and its activity in quantum communication, notably for mobile phones. Finally we address the absence of involvement in QIS – according to open source information – of Chinese supercomputers manufacturers. We conclude with thoughts on the possible overall strategic evolution of the Chinese Quantum ecosystem. Indeed, we must consider and understand business efforts within the framework of the overall Chinese national policy in terms of QIS, which we mapped previously (see Quantum, AI, and Geopolitics (3): Mapping The Race for Quantum Computing).
Alibaba develops a double approach to quantum computing. First, it works with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Second, it endeavours its own research with the DAMO (Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook) Academy.
Collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences
On 30 July 2015, through a 15-years partnership, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Alibaba Cloud (aka Aliyun) created in Shanghai the Chinese Academy of Sciences – Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory (中国科学院-阿里巴巴量子计算实验室) (Xinhua, 3 August 2015; CAS, 2 September 2015). Meanwhile the CAS Shanghai established, the Center for Excellence in Innovation in Quantum Information and Quantum Technology (Ibid.).
The private-public laboratory is modelled after the collaboration between the NASA Ames, Google Research and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) that led to the establishment in May 2013 of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL) (Ibid.).
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Featured image: From article ARL Public Affairs, “Army scientists explore properties to make or break quantum entanglement“, 2 April 2018. Public Domain.
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