Curious about quantum computing

• 528 words

As a technologist, it’s important to be curious. This is true whether you’re just starting your career as a junior developer or if you’re the CTO of a Fortune 500 company. Curiosity, and the constant pursuit of learning, are things for which I’ve always dedicated time.

In the past few decades, we’ve seen innovations in technology move at a staggering pace, with many of these advancements having an impact on the world around us seemingly overnight. With the sheer number of new technologies being developed, it can be daunting to keep up. In a world that moves as quickly as ours, it’s easy to prioritize learning about the technologies that are here now and might have an immediate impact on our businesses. But there are other technologies that have a longer time horizon, and despite decades of research and development, might still potentially need many more years of work before they’ll reach a similar level of impact. As technologists, it’s our responsibility to also keep an eye on these advancements—to learn where they’re headed, to steer our business partners toward the right use cases for them, and even to help shape what they become.

Quantum computing is one such technology. I find the very idea of quantum computing fascinating. It takes computer science—the hardware and software that we created in the computer industry—and blends in the fundamentals of nature, physics, and other observed sciences. I believe quantum computing is an area that will fundamentally change the world around us… eventually. But I also find that there’s a lot of hype and misinformation around quantum computing, with only a handful of experts truly in a position to discuss its current state (did you catch what I did there?). I wanted to cut through the hype and go straight to one of these experts myself to get a better understanding of where quantum computing is today and where it’s headed in the future. Introducing, Dr. John Preskill.

Dr. John Preskill is a pioneer in the field of quantum computing. He is the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, where he is also the Director of the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter. Preskill received his Ph.D. in physics in 1980 from Harvard, and has been a member of the Caltech faculty since 1983. He is also an Amazon Scholar, helping lead our efforts at the recently opened AWS Center for Quantum Computing, where we’ve embarked on a journey to build a fault-tolerant quantum computer. John and I recently had a conversation on quantum computing, and today I’d like to share that conversation with you directly. I hope you enjoy.

As John says, we’re still a long way from realizing the true potential of quantum computing. However, we’re used to thinking long term at Amazon and we’re not afraid of making big investments in the future. We believe quantum computing will play a significant role in the years to come.

If you’d like to hear more from John, you can follow him on Twitter at @preskill. If you’d like to learn more about our quantum computing service, Amazon Braket, you can learn more here.