On November 26th, Alibaba Group’s DAMO Academy responded to recent rumors about the closure of its Quantum Laboratory, stating that the DAMO Academy will donate the quantum laboratory and transferable quantum experimental equipment to Zhejiang University, as well as open them up for use by other universities and research institutions. However, there was no explicit response regarding personnel arrangements of the Quantum Laboratory.
Ealier, it was rumored that due to budget and profitability reasons, DAMO Academy’s Quantum Laboratory may have been disbanded and its employees laid off. Many members of the laboratory have reportedly gone to other companies.
As early as 2013, Alibaba initiated research on quantum computing. In 2015, Alibaba Cloud and the Chinese Academy of Sciences jointly announced the establishment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences – Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory. Combining Alibaba Cloud’s classical computing algorithms, architecture and cloud computing technology, as well as the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ quantum computing and simulation, quantum artificial intelligence technology, they will jointly carry out forward-looking research in the field of quantum information science and develop quantum computers.
According to the research plan of the joint laboratory at that time, it is expected that by 2025, quantum simulation will reach the level of Tianhe-2 – a supercomputer located in Guangzhou, China – and will be initially applied to solving major scientific and technological problems that cannot be solved at present. By 2030, a general quantum computing prototype with 50-100 quantum bits will be developed, breaking through the chip technology of large-scale quantum computers, from physical layer design and manufacturing to algorithm operation to achieve independent research and development, fully realizing general quantum computing functions, and applying to major practical problems such as big data processing.
The official website of Alibaba‘s DAMO Academy shows that the DAMO Academy was established in October 2017, committed to exploring the unknown fields in science and technology. It has made a series of technological breakthroughs in the field of digital technology and achieved large-scale applications, built a comprehensive artificial intelligence capability, launched the industry-leading large models, and incubated companies like Pingtouge Semiconductor.