Antea Lamas, Physicist: “In a few years, quantum computing will simply be another programming language” | technology

Antía Lamas Linares in a photo taken in Austin (USA), where Amazon Web Services has a technology park.
Antía Lamas Linares in a photo taken in Austin (USA), where Amazon Web Services has a technology park.AWS

Antia Lamas Linares was born 47 years ago in Santiago de Compostela, where she studied physics. He then went on to Oxford and California Universities before landing in Singapore and coming to lead the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Quantum Networking Center. She’s already spent more time abroad than in her home country, and in recent years, she’s focused on a field that already includes two other high-profile Spaniards at the helm of the tech: Sergio Boixo, of Google’s Quantum Artificial Intelligence (IA) research group, and Dario Gil, IBM Vice President and Director of IBM Research, which develops quantum computing.

ask. What is Amazon Web Service doing in the race to quantum computing?

Answer. Since 2019, we’ve had a service called Amazon Braket that allows anyone to submit a program and run it on a quantum computer in the cloud. On the other hand, we are building a quantum computer on the California Institute of Technology campus. [Instituto de Tecnología de California]. Our latest quantum information initiative is the Boston-based Center for Quantum Networks (AWS Center for Quantum Networks).

s. What network are you responsible for on AWS?

R was found. We are building elements that allow quantum computers to be connected, such as repeaters to link them over a long distance or quantum memories to be ordered in intermediate components. We are developing hardware and the Programming Essential when quantum computers are ready.

s. Why is AWS entering this sector?

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R was found. We believe there is a lot of potential in quantum technology. Amazon is always thinking about things that will be beneficial to its customers, and even if it is in the long term, computing, networking, and other types of quantum technologies are expected to be very important in the future. Basically, it is an extension of the processors that do this high performance computing [computación de alto rendimiento], but in certain areas, they are more powerful. Quantum networks have immediate security implications and will eventually allow quantum computers to be connected to expand their capacity.

Quantum networks will allow us to implement amazing capabilities

s. Is a quantum internet possible?

R was found.. We hope so. That will be when all the capabilities of the quantum network are available. But there are several intermediate stages. The first is about security and encryption. Later, these networks will allow us to implement amazing capabilities such as quantum computing. blind Which basically doesn’t allow anyone to see the program you’re running or see the results. In this way, if you connect a quantum computer to a quantum network, you can do the whole process in a completely private way. But all of this has many intermediate steps: we must have a quantum computer capable of doing these calculations, which we don’t have at the moment. The elements that exist now are very basic, that is, they do not contain a very large number of qubits and have a number of errors that do not allow many operations to be performed in succession.

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s. What are the ones available on AWS being used for?

R was found.. There are several categories of users: a large portion are academic researchers who test programs and compare how they run on an ion-based quantum computer or a superconducting quantum computer. There is another part of researchers in the industry. For example, BMW uses them to improve processes for a problem they can solve with supercomputers, but they reduce that problem to a simpler, explore and learn version.

s. When will there be a robust and fault-tolerant quantum computer?

R was found. We believe that within 10 years there will be quantum computers with interesting capabilities, but the potential for error in this prediction is enormous. We may have a discovery tomorrow and speed it up by five years or, conversely, hit a snag that slows it down. In parallel, we are developing the infrastructure to connect them to each other and to the user. When we have that quantum network, all those capabilities that are now purely theoretical will be enabled.

High-quality research into quantum technologies has been conducted in Spain for over a decade.

s. Boixo, Gil, and you’re a Spaniard at the top of quantum technologies, but they all work abroad. Are there trade tensions in Spain over this industry?

R was found. High-quality research into quantum technologies has been conducted in Spain for over a decade. For example, ICFO (Institute of Photonic Sciences) has exceptional research, in the Basque Country there is also a lot of activity and in Galicia, where CESGA (Galicia Center for Supercomputing) is investing in quantitative research … yes, there are things. When I left at the end of the 90’s there was less research, plus I love to travel the world.

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s. Can quantum computing be achieved without quantum knowledge?

R was found.. It’s something people really worry about. Yes, of course. If you think about how classical computing developed, early on, programmers had to understand circuits. Now, in quantum computing, we’re in that period and programmers are mostly physicists who know what’s behind it. But in a few years, it will all be just another programming language. This is what we have to get to. It is not yet known what exactly the effect of quantum computing will be, and neither all possibilities nor the impact of intersection with artificial intelligence have been fully understood. The head of IBM in 1943, Thomas J. Watson, said that he believed that there was a market for five computers in the world, and you see, we all have a computer in our pockets. Companies like Amazon and others see the quantum potential, even though we all know it’s going to be long-term.

s. The tech world is experiencing a wave of downgrades. Will it affect the development of quantum computing?

R was found. Investments in quantum technology are long-term. This does not mean that we are immune to the general macroeconomic situation.

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