India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has recently announced that it will set-up a quantum computing application lab with AWS. With this step, India is trying to catch up with the global players like the US, China, and EU in the High-Risk, High-Reward technology.
Quantum computing uses the quantum mechanical properties of matter as the fundamental unit of computation. It has opened new doors in computing, communications, and cybersecurity with wide-spread applications. Google’s quantum supremacy experiment, Quantum encrypted Satellite communication by China, and more have put the nascent field in the spotlight.
India has made a smart and timely move to give its academia and industries access to cutting-edge Quantum computing technology via AWS Braket service, the cloud-based quantum computing service. AWS Braket seems to be the perfect solution for India’s Quantum woes – low quantum hardware and software capacity. The proposed plan states that a steering committee would be set-up to oversee applications around quantum technologies. Primarily, Call for Proposals (CfPs) will be announced from the research community in February-early March. Selected proposals will get AWS Braket credits with access to quantum computing hardware, simulators, and programming tools.
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During the announcement, the secretary of MeitY Ajay Sawhney said, “The area of quantum computing is at a very nascent stage in the country. The Lab is a great opportunity for our researchers, whether in educational institutions, in research labs, or the startup environment. With quantum computing, there is still a tremendous amount that all of us have to learn together. What exactly will it be useful for, how does it get applied to the scenario that we have within the country? These are the questions we must ask.”
The Indian government is aware of the technological shortfall, especially the lack of hardware and software stack to replicate the domestic software industry’s ecosystem and pose as a global academia leader. It had earmarked 8000 crores rupees for the next five years under its National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) to develop indigenous quantum technologies.
“The Quantum Computing Application Lab in collaboration with AWS is the first lab on AWS that’s aligned to a government mission. We are trying to pull all of the resources needed to build the capacity and the skills within India to propagate this technology in a meaningful way. The company wants to democratize quantum computing and provide the right development environments to remove the heavy-lifting away from researchers and developers working on quantum algorithms. We want to build this in a scalable manner that can be accessible to all,” said Rahul Sharma, the President of Public Sector – AISPL AWS India and South Asia.