India debuts its Quantum Computing Applications Lab

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Almost a year after allocating Rs 80 billion for quantum computing technologies in its federal budget, India is setting up a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in collaboration with Amazon Web Services. The intent is to fast forward the quantum-computing led research and development.

“The MeitY Quantum Computing Applications Lab will provide quantum computing as a service to government ministries and departments, researchers, scientists, academia, and developers,” an official release said in January 2021.

This MeitY initiative seeks to address a key infrastructure gap in the quantum computing space. Though a frontier technology which is important for India, scientists and researchers are stymied by limited access to quantum computing hardware and expertise.

The Lab is expected to provide scientific, academic, and developer communities with access to a quantum computing development environment aligned with the government’s science and technology priorities.

Using the on-demand service provided by Amazon Braket, a fully managed quantum computing service, scientists and developers can build quantum algorithms, conduct advanced simulations, and run experiments.

Since Amazon aggregates access to the different hardware technologies from providers such as D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti, this collaboration will enable Indian scientists to keep pace with the latest technological developments across the world in this emerging area of quantum computing.

The release points out that the access to Amazon Braket is available at no cost to the Lab. AWS is also expected to provide technical and programmatic support for new quantum computing workloads.

This collaboration between a country level quantum computing initiative and a company is a first of its kind in this space. Subsequently, the company has also set up a similar initiative with Israel.

“Quantum computing has the extraordinary potential to help countries leapfrog technology generations, achieve scientific leadership, and deliver answers to complex economic and social challenges,” Abhishek Singh, President & CEO, National e-Governance Division (NeGD), MeitY was quoted as saying in the official release.

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