The new Shanghai-based Alibaba Quantum Computing Lab will work on beefing up security of e-commerce sites and the data centers underlying them.
Quantum computing which, in theory, taps the power of quantum mechanics to create better, faster, smaller computing devices, is a potentially huge opportunity. And now Alibaba’s BABA Aliyun cloud unit and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have agreed to build a new research facility to further research this field.
Both parties have agreed to build a new Shanghai-based Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory which will look into new security technology for e-commerce and data centers, based on quantum mechanics. Clearly, security is a huge strategic focus for Alibaba, which is China’s largest e-commerce provider and which runs the data centers running both e-commerce sites and the Aliyun cloud.
From Alibaba’s statement:
Quantum computing, which would harness the power of molecules and atoms, is a natural extension of the continued miniaturization of the computing era , where ever more transistors get packed onto microprocessors per the edicts of Moore’s Law. But moving that to the atomic scale could unleash a lot more computing power.
While practical applications for quantum computers are still a ways off, cybersecurity and cryptography will likely be hot spots. As Stratfor Global Intelligene reported earlier this month, quantum computers will be able to perform mathematical calculations in a timeframe that today’s computers cannot match. They could, for example, unlock “Shor’s algorithm” which is a way to find the prime factors of any large number. That breakthrough, in turn, would make cracking complex codes much easier and faster.
This partnership news comes at a time when Alibaba is pushing its cloud business beyond China to the U.S. and elsewhere where it will compete with Amazon AMZN Web Services and other U.S.-based cloud providers. The company this week said it is investing $1 billion to fund that growth. This joint effort with the Chinese Academy of Sciences is part fo that investment, an Aliyun spokeswoman said
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