The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), to accelerate quantum computing-led research and development and enable new scientific discoveries, officials said. The MeitY Quantum Computing Applications Lab will provide quantum computing as a service to government ministries and departments, researchers, scientists, academia, and developers to enable advances in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and aerospace engineering. AWS will provide hosting with technical and programmatic support for the Lab. This initiative will provide scientific, academic, and developer communities access to a quantum computing development environment aligned with the government’s science and technology priorities. Quantum computing is an emerging field that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to build powerful tools to process information. It has the potential to solve computational problems that are beyond the reach of classical computers, and lead to new breakthroughs that can transform chemical engineering, material science, drug discovery, financial portfolio optimisation, machine learning, and much more.
MeitY Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney noted that quantum computing is at a very nascent stage in the country, and that it is important to make access to quantum computing available for researchers, young companies as well as small and medium businesses. “This not only enables them to taste what quantum computing could do to their various kinds of use cases and applications, but to actually build solutions around that…making this kind of a lab available at this stage gives us a good start with the infrastructure not just being available, but also accessible in a very simplified way,” he said in a virtual briefing. The MeitY Quantum Computing Applications Lab, established with the support of AWS, is the first of its kind initiative in the world, MeitY Additional Secretary Rajendra Kumar said. Max Peterson, Vice President (International Sales, Worldwide Public Sector) at AWS Inc said the lab will identify quantum computing problem statements for experimentation from among central and state governments, research institutions, and academia. It will work with subject matter experts from the government sector to define the problem statements, and make them public, inviting applications from researchers, academia, and organisations to address them. The Lab will then provide select applicants with access to quantum computing hardware, simulators, and programming tools, on-demand and at no cost, via Amazon Braket, that enables scientists and developers to build algorithms, conduct advanced simulations, and run experiments, he added.
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Amazon Braket provides a development environment to enable users to explore and design quantum algorithms, test and troubleshoot them on simulated quantum computers, and run them on different quantum hardware technologies. Rahul Sharma, President, Public Sector AISPL, AWS India and South Asia, said this is the world’s first quantum computing lab on AWS that is aligned to a government mission. “We don’t have any such lab in AWS across the world. It’s on the cloud, it’s accessible to all. The key mission that we are trying to address here is to build for the world, from India…we want to be able to work with multiple stakeholders, whether it is startups, research institutions or developers and put quantum computing in the hands of every developer and scientists,” he added. Sharma said a steering committee has been constituted between MeitY and AWS that will help put together the point of view and then in late February or early March, proposals will be formally called through the MeitY website. These proposals will then be evaluated followed by approval of the credits acquired for these goals.