Alibaba donates quantum computing lab to Zhejiang University
Published: Nov 27, 2023 07:36 PM
Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province Photo: cnsphoto

Alibaba's headquarters in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province Photo: cnsphoto

Alibaba Damo Academy shuts down its quantum computing lab and donates its lab equipment to Zhejiang University in Hangzhou city, where the company is based, according to Chinese media reports.

The academy said on Monday that the donation was an act of "pushing for cooperative progress of quantum science and technology". 

The academy would jointly develop quantum technology with Zhejiang University by donating its quantum lab and related equipment, and the lab will also open to other universities and research agencies.

Alibaba Damo had invested in the study of quantum computing for more than six years, the lab is configured with world's leading quantum computing lab tools, and had developed various research findings, including quantum simulator "Tai Zhang," which Alibaba claimed to be the "world's most powerful quantum circuit simulator" in 2018.

According to press reports, Alibaba decides to close its quantum lab due to budget and profitability difficulties, impacting more than 30 lab workers. And, Zhejiang University said it would conduct an open recruitment process for the employees to allow the eligible to join the university.

The quantum lab was formerly known as the Chinese Academy of Sciences - Alibaba Quantum Computing Laboratory, which was jointly established by Aliyun and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2015, with the aim of carrying out forward-looking research in the field of quantum information science.

In 2017, Shi Yaoyun, one of the world's top quantum scientists and full professor from the University of Michigan, joined the Alibaba to be the founding director and chief scientist of the quantum computing lab. 

As of Monday, Shi's LinkedIn page still showed him as a "Distinguished Engineer of Alibaba Group and Founding Director of Quantum Laboratory, DAMO Academy."

Alibaba Damo Academy was established in 2017 and the academy claimed itself to be a "global research program in cutting-edge technologies".

In May, the Damo Academy laid off its automatic-driving team, with nearly 100 employees were later transferred to Alibaba's Cainiao Group. The move was deemed as part of Alibaba's business restructuring plan.