Amazon.com is laying the groundwork for a quantum computer, deepening efforts to harness technology that can crunch in seconds vast amounts of data that take even the most powerful supercomputers hours or days to process.
Amazon has been hiring for a Quantum Hardware Team within its Amazon Web Services Center for Quantum Computing, according to internal job postings and information on LinkedIn. Marc Runyan, a former engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lists his title on the professional social network as senior quantum research scientist at Amazon and describes his role as “helping to design and build a quantum computer for Amazon Web Services.”
A spokesman for Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud-computing group, declined to comment. Runyan didn’t immediately respond to a LinkedIn message.
Proponents of quantum computing say the technology will exponentially improve the processing speed and power of computers, enabling them to simulate large systems and drive advances in physics, chemistry and other fields. Rather than storing information in binary 0s or 1s like classical computers, quantum computers rely on “qubits,” which can be both 0 and 1 simultaneously, dramatically increasing the amount of information that can be encoded.
The technology is in its infancy and largely limited to prototypes and demonstrations. Scientists say practical, widespread applications for quantum computers are likely years away.
Among Amazon’s recent hires are research scientists focusing on designing a new superconducting quantum device and device fabrication. Developing its own quantum computer would let Amazon more closely mirror the approach taken by