AWS quantum computing: what they do, market outlook, and competitive landscape

H Hannan

AWS Braket
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The Quantum Cloud: An AWS Profile

Amazon Web Services commands the largest market share in cloud infrastructure, but now the tech giant has set its sights on dominating an emerging niche – quantum computing services. AWS launched Braket in 2019 as its comprehensive platform for exploring quantum information technologies. While quantum hardware remains early stage and limited, AWS aims to position itself as the quantum cloud leader for when this exponentially more powerful computing paradigm matures.

By allowing developers and enterprises easy access to today’s restricted quantum resources, AWS seeks to spur innovation by harnessing quantum techniques for optimization, machine learning, simulation and sensing. As one of the few major hyperscale cloud providers entering quantum, AWS looks to leverage its existing infrastructure and reach to build the ecosystem faster than rivals. Let’s examine AWS’s quantum ambitions and progress as rival offerings from Microsoft, IBM and others threaten its potential first-mover edge in this potentially $65 billion market by 2030.

Democratizing Quantum with Braket

AWS Braket provides a development environment to design quantum algorithms and test them on different quantum computing hardware architectures. These include systems from partners D-Wave, IonQ and Rigetti Compute accessible over AWS cloud networks. By effectively “renting” quantum power through cloud subscriptions rather than buying million-dollar prototypes outright, startups can quickly build and run quantum-enhanced applications without steep upfront investment.

For larger enterprises like Dow, Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil also actively developing quantum computing capabilities on AWS, this cloud model allows flexible scaling of quantum resources as needs arise. Whether leveraging quantum techniques for financial risk modelling, chemical simulations or machine learning, AWS relieves users from buying and configuring complex equipment in-house.

The Braket software development kit integrates with AWS services like Amazon SageMaker to blend classical and quantum resources for machine learning tasks. Other integrations assist in visualizing results or estimating costs when budgeting more intensive computations. While limited to exploring hybrid algorithms, for now, AWS intends Braket to scale alongside maturing quantum hardware capabilities over the coming years.

Current Market Outlook

Consultancy Reports and Data forecasts the overall global quantum computing market to reach approximately $65.1 billion by 2030. This represents an exponential 130% compound annual growth over the rest of the decade as quantum achieves commercial viability across more industries seeking competitive advantages.

Nearer term, Grand View Research estimates the 2022 market size around $507.1 million after surging by a CAGR of 33.7% from 2019 to 2021. Government and defence spending fuels most current demand (and R&D investment), seeking cryptography-breaking capabilities and quantum-secured communications infrastructure. But over 30% comes from the commercial sector with banking, drug manufacturing, chemicals and transportation pursuing quantum techniques for complex optimization and predictive simulation use cases.

As hardware improves allowing genuine “quantum advantage” over classical techniques, commercial adoption will accelerate across finance, pharmaceuticals, energy, AI/ML and other sectors. Market Reports projects global spending on quantum computing to soar to $9 billion in 2024 as systems exceed 100 qubits and enter the so-called noisy intermediate-scale (50-5000 qubits) offering algorithmic speedups.

Competitive Landscape

The quantum cloud segment features intense competition between large IaaS players leveraging existing classical computing dominance and smaller pure quantum startups. AWS Braket competes directly against Microsoft Azure Quantum and IBM Quantum Experience which offer similar access to a range of quantum hardware architectures via cloud subscriptions and tailored development tools.

Azure Quantum currently connects users to systems from IonQ, Honeywell, Quantum Circuits and others while IBM’s services grant access to their own devices boasting among the largest qubit counts (~125 in 2022). But Braket may benefit from the unmatched global cloud infrastructure footprint powering AWS’s overall leadership.

Other contenders include independent ventures Rigetti Computing, D-Wave, AppliedQCI and Zapata offering proprietary gate-model and quantum annealing devices tailored to niche applications like optimization. Strangeworks also operates a software ecosystem and marketplace aggregating quantum computing resources into a seamless service.

AWS’s cloud dominance and aggressive quantum push suggest its Braket environment may emerge as the default for younger quantum developers entering university programs. AWS’s large existing network effects and customer base across major industries also favor Braket assuming integration with other AWS toolchains improves. But rivals continue targeting key accounts and partnerships likely keeping the fledgling quantum cloud space split for some years.

The Road Ahead

AWS has sustained first-mover momentum in the cloud quantum segment, joining pioneers like IBM and Rigetti helping perform early quantum experiments boosting algorithm and application breakthroughs. The aim is to aim for a robust ecosystem capable of leveraging more scalable post-NISQ era quantum systems as they emerge in the coming years.

Braket will ramp up capability in lockstep with hardware partners reaching key qubit milestones seen as essential to unlocking wider business opportunities. AWS also continues investing to simplify solutions engineering and enable turnkey quantum development capabilities any programmer can access.

If AWS maintains cloud dominance as quantum reaches mainstream commercialization, presently unreliable devices may eventually join ubiquitous classical instances users can call via API without concern for intricate configurations. But Microsoft, IBM and hungry disruptors will fiercely contest AWS’s quantum primacy. By patiently fostering today’s fragile qubits, however, Jeff Bezos envisions Amazon owning the coming quantum revolution in the cloud.

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