Baidu, the major Chinese technology company, announced on January 3rd that they are engaged in discussions with the Beijing Academy of Quantum Information Sciences (BAQIS) to donate a quantum computing laboratory and equipment.
A spokesperson for Baidu shared that the talks are focused on finalizing the details of the donation, including the timeline for completion. A schedule has not yet been formalized.
This potential donation comes on the heels of a similar move last November by Chinese tech giant Alibaba. Amid corporate restructuring, Alibaba shut down its quantum computing lab and donated the facilities and technology to Zhejiang University.
Baidu’s History with Quantum Computing
Baidu has been actively researching quantum computing since 2018 when it opened its specialized lab. Under the leadership of scientist Duan Runyao, the lab achieved a major breakthrough in 2022 with the launch of Qian Shi, a 10-qubit quantum computer made accessible to outside researchers.
At that time, Baidu also revealed they had succeeded in developing a 36-qubit quantum processor. The exceptional computing power of quantum technology aligns with Baidu’s strengths in artificial intelligence.
Applications of Quantum Computing
Quantum computers operate at extremely cold temperatures and offer processing speeds vastly superior to conventional computers. While practical applications are still limited, quantum computing shows great promise for compute-heavy fields like physics, chemistry, and complex modelling.
There is also enthusiastic interest in leveraging quantum advances to power artificial intelligence systems, which require intensive computing resources for data processing and model training. The donation from Baidu may accelerate real-world uses of this emerging technology.