Baidu snaps up UTS director to lead quantum computing institute

Joins quantum race against rival Alibaba

Chinese tech giant Baidu is establishing a quantum computing institute and has appointed UTS Professor Runyao Duan as its inaugural director.

Baidu – the second largest search engine in the world – announced this month that it was launching an Institute for Quantum Computing, with the ambition for it to become a world-leading research centre within five years.

The company is seeking to apply the potential benefits of quantum technology across its businesses, from online search to artificial intelligence, following similar moves from its rivals Alibaba and Tencent.

In his new role, Duan will report directly to Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu.

Duan has been at UTS since 2008 when he joined as a senior a lecturer. He later became director of the university’s Centre for Quantum Computation and Intelligent Systems.

In late 2016 he became founding director of spin-off lab, the Centre for Quantum Software and Information (UTS:QSI). Last week the centre launched a quantum programming environment.

Duan’s research interests cover quantum information theory, quantum state/operation discrimination, quantum zero-error information theory and measurement-based quantum computation.

UTS confirmed that Duan is on extended leave from UTS:QSI, with Professor Zhengfeng Ji filling in as Acting Director.

Last month, Baidu rival Alibaba made an 11 qubit computer available via the cloud, in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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Tags softwarequantumUTSquantum computingbaidualibabaUniversity of Technology SydneyTencentprofessorRunyao DuanQSI

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