Quantum computing comes to Google Cloud

Google Cloud has tied up with quantum computing startup IonQ to make its quantum hardware accessible through its cloud computing platform. The company’s 11-qubit quantum hardware is available to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customers, and the company expects to make its 32-qubit system available later this year. Explaining the significance of the announcement in a conversation with Google Cloud, IonQ CEO & President, Peter Chapman suggests that the offering will ensure “democratized access to quantum systems.”

Making quantum computers easily available to anyone via the cloud demonstrates that quantum is real because now anyone can run a quantum program with a few minutes and a credit card,” says Chapman.

IonQ’s quantum computers are available in the GCP Marketplace and can be immediately provisioned by users. IonQ shares that developers, researchers, and business can access IonQ’s platform with just a few clicks, just like any other platform available on GCP. The company adds that GCP users will be able to program IonQ’s systems using a number of software development kits (SDK), including Cirq, Qiskit, Penny Lane, and tket, or through a custom integration with IonQ’s APIs.

Notably, IonQ’s quantum hardware is also available on Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Source: https://www.techradar.com/

Neural Text-to-Speech Machine

Thanks to modern machine learning techniques, text-to-speech engines have made massive strides over the last few years. It used to be incredibly easy to know that it was a computer that was reading a text and not a human being. But that’s changing quickly. Amazon’s AWS cloud computing arm today launched a number of new neural text-to-speech models, as well as a new newscaster style that is meant to mimic the way… you guessed it… newscasters sound.

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Speech quality is certainly important, but more can be done to make a synthetic voice sound even more realistic and engaging,” the company notes in today’s announcement. “What about style? For sure, human ears can tell the difference between a newscast, a sportscast, a university class and so on; indeed, most humans adopt the right style of speech for the right context, and this certainly helps in getting their message across.

The new newscaster style is now available in two U.S. voices (Joanna and Matthew) and Amazon is already working with USA Today and Canada’s The Globe and Mail, among a number of other companies, to help them. Amazon Polly Newscaster, as the new service is officially called, is the result of years of research on text-to-speech, which AWS is also now making available through its Neural Text-to-Speech engine. This new engine, which isn’t unlike similar neural engines like Google’s WaveNet and others, currently features 11 voices, three for U.K. English and eight for U.S. English.

Source: https://aws.amazon.com/

Amazon to datamine the stars

Amazon.com is in talks with Chile to house and mine massive amounts of data generated by the country’s giant telescopes, which could prove fertile ground for the company to develop new artificial intelligence tools. The talks are aimed at fuelling growth in Amazon.com Inc’s cloud computing business in Latin America and boosting its data processing capabilities.

President Sebastian Pinera’s center-right government, which is seeking to wean Chile’s $325 billion economy from reliance on copper mining, announced last week it plans to pool data from all its telescopes onto a virtual observatory stored in the cloud, without giving a timeframe. The government talked of the potential for astrodata innovation, but did not give details.

Amazon executives have been holding discussions with the Chilean government for two years about a possible data center to provide infrastructure for local firms and the government to store information on the cloud. The talks have included discussion about the possibility of Amazon Web Services (AWS), hosting astrodata.

Jeffrey Kratz, AWS’s General Manager for Public Sector for Latin American, has confirmed the company’s interest in astrodata but said Amazon had no announcements to make at present. “Chile is a very important country for AWS,” he said in an email to Reuters. “We kept being amazed about the incredible work on astronomy and the telescopes, as real proof points on innovation and technology working together.” “The Chilean telescopes can benefit from the cloud by eliminating the heavy lifting of managing IT,” Kratz added.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/