Amazon Braket: Get started with quantum computing

While IBM, Microsoft, and Google have made major commitments and investments in quantum computing, Amazon has, until recently, been fairly quiet about the field. That changed with the introduction of Amazon Braket.

Amazon still isn’t trying to build its own quantum computers, but with Braket it is making other companies’ quantum computers available to cloud users via AWS. Braket currently supports three quantum computing services, from D-Wave, IonQ, and Rigetti.

[ Also on InfoWorld: A hands-on look at the Microsoft Quantum Development Kit and IBM Q and Qiskit quantum computing SDKs ]

D-Wave makes superconducting quantum annealers, which are usually programmed using D-Wave Ocean software, although there is also an annealing module in the Braket SDK. IonQ makes trapped ion quantum processors, and Rigetti makes superconducting quantum processors. In Braket, you can program both IonQ and Rigetti processors using the Braket Python SDK circuits module. The same code also runs on local and hosted quantum simulators.

The name Braket is kind of an in-joke for physicists. Bra-ket notation is the Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics, which is an easier way of expressing Schrödinger’s equation than partial differential equations. In Dirac notation, a bra <f| is a row vector, and a ket |f> is a column vector. Writing a bra next to a ket implies matrix multiplication.

Amazon Braket and the Braket Python SDK compete with IBM Q and Qiskit, Azure Quantum and Microsoft Q#, and Google Cirq. IBM already has its own quantum computers and simulators available to the public online. Microsoft’s simulator is generally available, but its quantum offerings are currently in limited preview for early adopters, including access to quantum computers from Honeywell, IonQ, and Quantum Circuits, and optimization solutions from 1QBit. Microsoft hasn’t announced when its own topological superconducting quantum computers will become available, nor has Google announced when it will make its quantum computers or Sycamore chips available to the public.

Amazon Braket overview

Amazon Braket is a fully managed service that helps you get started with quantum computing. It has three modules, Build, Test, and Run. The Build module centers around managed Jupyter notebooks pre-configured with sample algorithms, resources, and developer tools, including the Amazon Braket SDK. The Test module provides access to managed, high-performance, quantum circuit simulators. The Run module provides secure, on-demand access to different types of quantum computers (QPUs): gate-based quantum computers from IonQ and Rigetti, and a quantum annealer from D-Wave.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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