Alibaba developing quantum chips to power diverse industries

Hangzhou: China’s e-tailer giant Alibaba is developing quantum chips (processors) to power a range of industries, including e-commerce, logistics, finance, materials and pharmaceuticals, a senior official said on Wednesday.

“Our Damo Academy is developing quantum processors (chips) to power solutions for a range of industries, including e-commerce, logistics, finance, materials and pharmaceutics,” said Alibaba Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zhang at the group’s “Cloud Computing Conference 2018” in this scenic ancient city, about 180km southwest of Shanghai.

Unveiling the $40-billion group’s road map to develop disruptive technologies over the next five years on the opening day of the annual tech event, Zhang said the academy would launch its first AI (Artificial Intelligence) inference chip (AliNPU) in the second half of 2019 for using in autonomous driving, smart cities and smart logistics.

“We are confident that our advantages in algorithm, data intelligence, computing power and domain knowledge on the back of our diverse ecosystem will enable us to lead real technology breakthroughs in disruptive areas, such as quantum and chip technology,” Zhang said at the inaugural session of the four-day conference.

The academy is the group’s global initiative to develop disruptive technologies for its growing cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) businesses and explore commercial applications in its diverse verticals from logistics, materials to pharma, which require greater computing power to achieve technology breakthrough.

“We have been a leading innovator in cloud computing and AI since our announcement two years ago to transform into a technology powerhouse, The academy’s achievements over the past year underlies our commitment to technology leadership,” asserted Zhang.