Quantum computers by harnessing quantum super-positioning to represent multiple states simultaneously, promise exponential leaps in performance over today’s traditional computers. A qubit is the unit of quantum information that is equivalent to the binary bit in classical computing. What makes qubits so interesting is that the 1s and 0s can be superimposed, which means that it can perform many calculations at the same time in parallel. So unlike a binary computer, where a bit is either 0 or 1, a quantum computer has three basic states—0, 1, and 0 or 1. In greatly oversimplified terms, that allows operations can be carried out using different values at the same time. Coupled with well-constructed algorithms, quantum computers will be at least as powerful as today’s supercomputers, and in the future they are expected to be orders of magnitude more. Quantum computers shall bring power of massive parallel computing i.e. equivalent of supercomputer to a single chip.
So far, it has proven difficult to create enough qubits for a long enough period of time to be useful. Today’s qubits are far from perfect. Unlike classical bits, they don’t exist for very long, and they aren’t completely accurate. “That’s the major focus for quantum computing right now,” said IBM’s Welser. “It’s not only how to increase the number of qubits, which we know how to do just by continuing to build more of them. But how do you build them and get the error rates down, and increase coherency time, so that you can actually have time to manipulate those qubits and have them interact together? If you have 100 qubits, but the coherency time is only 100 microseconds, you can’t get them all to interact efficiently to do an actual algorithm before they all have an error. In order to move forward, we talk about something called quantum volume, which then takes into account the number of qubits, the coherency time, the length of time they stay stable, and the number that can be entangled together. Those factors provide what we believe is the best way to compare quantum computers to each other.”
But the tide appears to be turning, both for how to extend the lifetime of quantum bits, also known as qubits, as well as the number of qubits that are available. The development of quantum computers is now advancing rapidly and expected to enter mainstream within a decade. The companies such as IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Google and D-Wave Systems, all are looking to commercialize the technology. Google says that it has achieved quantum supremacy, a major milestone towards the development of quantum computers. Google previously said that it hoped to achieve quantum supremacy by the end of 2017, however the 72-qubit system it developed proved too difficult to control. Following this, Google developed a 53-qubit design called Sycamore, which was used to achieve the recent breakthrough.
“Quantum computing could be potentially transformative, enabling us to solve problems that are impossible or impractical to solve today,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research, in a statement. “While quantum computers have traditionally been explored for cryptography, one area we find very compelling is the potential for practical quantum systems to solve problems in physics and quantum chemistry that are unsolvable today. This could have enormous potential in materials or drug design, opening up a new realm of applications.”
“The first applications will probably be in things like quantum chemistry or quantum simulations,” said Jeff Welser, vice president and lab director at IBM Research Almaden. “People are looking for new materials, simulating molecules such as drug molecules, and to do that you probably only need to be at around 100 qubits. We’re at 50 qubits today. So we’re not that far off. It’s going to happen within the next year or two. The example I give is the caffeine molecule, because it’s a molecule we all love. It’s a fairly small molecule that has 95 electrons. To simulate the molecule, you simulate the electron states. But if you were to exactly simulate the 95 electrons on that to actually figure out the energy state configuration, it would take 10 exp(48) classical bits. There are 10 exp(50) atoms in the planet Earth, so there’s no way you’re ever going to build a system with 10exp(48) classical bits. It’s nuts. It would only require 160 qubits to do those all exactly, because the qubits can take on exactly all the quantum states and have all the right entanglements.”
Because of these challenges, Quantum computing has long been viewed as some futuristic research project with possible commercial applications. Since the field of quantum computing is still in research phase only big corporations and research organizations had access to quantum computers.
However, the situation is changing fast. IBM Research has also made quantum computing available to members of the public, via the IBM Cloud onto any desktop or mobile device.who can access and run experiments on IBM’s quantum processor. IBM was first to market with its Quantum Experience offering, which launched in 2016 and now has over 15 quantum computers connected to the cloud. The cloud-enabled quantum computing platform, called IBM Quantum Experience, allows users to run algorithms and experiments on IBM’s quantum processor, work with the individual quantum bits (qubits), and explore tutorials and simulations around what might be possible with quantum computing. Over 210,000 registered users have executed more than 70 billion circuits through the IBM Cloud and published over 200 papers based on the system, according to IBM. IBM upgraded the original quantum computer to 16 qubits, which increased the number of experiments performed by remote users to 1.7 million. These numbers give us a rough idea of the acceptance and scope that this sector may have in the near future.
Amazon Bracket and Microsoft Quantum, are also providing cloud services, with aim to get developers up to speed on writing quantum applications. “The cloud services today are aimed at preparing the industry for the soon-to-arrive day when quantum computers will begin being useful,” said Itamar Sivan, co-founder and CEO of Quantum Machines, an orchestration platform for quantum computing. In the future the Quantum computing in the cloud has the potential to disrupt industries in a similar way as other emerging technologies, such as AI and machine learning. Cloud-based quantum computing is more difficult to pull off than AI, so the ramp up will be slower and the learning curve steeper, said Martin Reynolds, distinguished vice president of research at Gartner. For starters, quantum computers require highly specialized room conditions that are dramatically different from how cloud providers build and operate their existing data centers.
Current limitations aside, the cloud is an ideal way to consume quantum computing, because quantum computing has low I/O but deep computation, Reynolds said. Because cloud vendors have the technological resources and a large pool of users, they will inevitably be some of the first quantum-as-a-service providers and will look for ways to provide the best software development and deployment stacks. Quantum computing could even supplement general compute and AI services cloud providers currently offer, said Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions. In that scenario, the cloud would integrate with classical computing cloud resources in a co-processing environment.
The cloud plays two key roles in quantum computing today, according to Hyoun Park, CEO and principal analyst at Amalgam Insights. The first is to provide an application development and test environment for developers to simulate the use of quantum computers through standard computing resources. The second is to offer access to the few quantum computers that are currently available, in the way mainframe leasing was common a generation ago. This improves the financial viability of quantum computing, since multiple users can increase machine utilization. It takes significant computing power to simulate quantum algorithm behavior from a development and testing perspective. For the most part, cloud vendors want to provide an environment to develop quantum algorithms before loading these quantum applications onto dedicated hardware from other providers, which can be quite expensive.
D-Wave’s quantum computing cloud
Canadian quantum computing company D-Wave Systems is launching its cloud service in India, giving developers and researchers in the country real-time access to its quantum computers. Through this geographic expansion, D-Wave’s 2000Q quantum computers, hybrid solvers and the application environment can be used via its cloud platform Leap to drive development of business-critical and in-production hybrid applications. “Quantum computing is poised to fundamentally transform the way businesses solve critical problems, leading to new efficiencies and profound business value in industries like transportation, finance, pharmaceuticals and much more,” Murray Thom, VP of Software and Services at D-Wave, said in a statement.
“The future of quantum computing is in the cloud. That’s why we were eager to expand Leap to India and Australia, where vibrant tech scenes will have access to real-time quantum computers and the hybrid solver service for the first time, unlocking new opportunities across industries.” As part of this rollout, users in India and Australia can work on the D-Wave’s Leap and Leap 2 platforms.
The two cloud platforms offer updated features and tools, including hybrid solver service that can solve large and complex problems of up to 10,000 variables; and integrated developer environment that has a prebuilt, ready-to-code environment in the cloud configured with the latest Ocean SDK for quantum hybrid development in Python. D-Wave’s systems and software have been used in financial modelling, machine learning and route optimization. Its latest launch in India comes about a year after the country’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) chalked out plans to build its own quantum computers.
Qilimanjaro offers quantum computing through cloud computing and software services
Similarly there are only a small band of experts today can create advanced software that will work on the machines. Blockchain startup company Qilimanjaro has opened the availability of groundbreaking technology in quantum computing technology to the masses. Qilimanjaro aim to share this technology with the world via cloud computing allowing everyday people to work with quantum computing without the need for a position in a specific company or the financial burdens of expensive hardware.
Gaining access to quantum computing hardware to run the algorithms and optimise designs can be expensive and inconvenient. Also, programming quantum computers to solve a problem requires a new set of skills. Amazon Braket helps in overcoming these difficulties by providing a service that lets developers, researchers, and scientists explore, evaluate, and experiment with quantum computing. Amazon Braket helps in overcoming these difficulties by providing a service that lets developers, researchers, and scientists explore, evaluate, and experiment with quantum computing.
Qilimanjaro wants to share this technology with the public to help accelerate the progress that is being made by private companies. Quantum technology is currently highly centralized, resulting in a small number of individuals having access to the technology. Qilimanjaro wants to provide two unique services to users: Qilimanjaro Computing Services (QCS) and Qilimanjaro Software Services (QSS). Both tools aim to share quantum technology at an affordable price for anyone to have a crack at:
The QCS was built in stages to help achieve a computing power that can reach tens of qubits which is accessible to anyone and everyone with a simple user friendly cloud platform. This platform will allow external users to form custom programs via the online editor which has all the features necessary to allow users to tailor the programs to their needs.
The QSS will aid companies, startups, and individuals who want to engage with quantum algorithms to help solve problems by running and analyzing experiments on their quantum computer. QSS will assemble an operating system that can be featured on their very own Qilimanjaro Quantum computer which provides a powerful service to its users. Furthermore, it will allow users to optimize existing quantum algorithms on current quantum hardware. Qilimanjaro has also created a universal quantum open source language called Qibo which allows users to work over any quantum programming environment. This tool is key to boosting quantum technologies designed to reach a broad collective of software developers.
In Dec 2019, AWS officially announced the preview launch of Braket, its first-ever quantum computing service. The term Braket is derived from “bra–ket notation” which is a common notation for quantum states in quantum mechanics. Amazon’s Braket is a fully managed service that helps to get started with quantum computing by providing a development environment to explore and design quantum algorithms, test them on simulated quantum computers, and run them on the choice of different quantum hardware technologies.
This service allows users to choose from a variety of quantum computers which include gate based superconductor computers from Rigetti, quantum annealing superconductor computers from D-Wave, and ion trap computers from IonQ. These devices have a couple of things in common: they are leading-edge tech, they are expensive to build and run, and they generally operate in a very extreme and specialized environment (supercooled or near-vacuum) that must be kept free of electrical, thermal, and magnetic noise. Taken together, I think it is safe to say that most organizations will never own a quantum computer, and will find the cloud-based on-demand model a better fit. It may well be the case that production-scale quantum computers are the first cloud-only technology.
Braket also allows users to design their own quantum algorithms from scratch or to choose from a set of pre-built algorithms. Once the algorithm gets defined, Amazon Braket provides a fully managed simulation service to help in troubleshooting and verifying the implementation. A user can then run the algorithm on any of the above-mentioned quantum computers.
Furthermore, in order to make it easier for the users to develop a hybrid algorithm which is a combination of both classical and quantum tasks, Amazon Braket helps in managing classical compute resources and establish low-latency connections to the quantum hardware.
ColdQuanta Announces Quantum Matter on the Cloud in Oct 2020
ColdQuanta, the quantum atomics company, today announced “Albert,” its quantum matter system on the cloud. With Albert, users can explore fundamental quantum phenomena such as tunneling and superposition by generating, manipulating, and experimenting with ultracold matter. ColdQuanta has provided similar technology for the Cold Atom Laboratory on the International Space Station. This technology can also underlie a broad range of new quantum technologies for computing, timekeeping, navigation, radiofrequency sensing, signal processing, and communications.
Albert lets users cool atoms to near absolute zero, creating a state of matter where quantum-mechanical behavior comes into play on a large scale. Users can control, study, and even photograph the wavefunction of a quantum cloud of atoms. Albert provides an unprecedented opportunity to control and observe behavior such as matterwave interference, tunneling, and other uniquely quantum phenomena in an atomic ensemble they create. An Early Access program, consisting of up to 100 users in the U.S. and Europe, will begin immediately.
“In this time when many university labs are closed or only partially open, Albert provides a world-class, remotely accessible Atomic, Molecular, Optical (AMO) physics lab on the cloud,” said Dana Anderson, founder and CTO of ColdQuanta. “This will accelerate research, education, and practical understanding of quantum physics and ultracold matter, crucial for the development of many groundbreaking quantum technologies.”
Albert’s future capabilities will enable quantum-aided design for quantum sensors and signal processors. Such devices will be used for entirely new families of quantum products like Quantum Positioning Systems (QPS) or Quantum Signal Processing (QSP). Bo Ewald, CEO of ColdQuanta, added, “Quantum technologies will provide an unprecedented level of performance, security, privacy, and computational speed to address the world’s most challenging technological problems. Enabling more people to get hands-on experience with quantum atomics through access to Albert will accelerate the learning curve of a new generation of quantum pioneers.” Albert was developed in collaboration with the CUbit Quantum Initiative at The University of Colorado, Boulder.
The world’s first quantum software superstore
In quantum computing, it’s not just the computers themselves that are hard to build. They also need sophisticated quantum algorithms—specialized software that’s tailored to get the best out of the machines. The challenge with qubits is they tend to lose their delicate quantum state after mere milliseconds. Changes in temperature, or even the tiniest of vibrations, can also disrupt them and throw errors into their calculations. This is where quantum algorithms come in. They run a specific calculation on a quantum machine as quickly and efficiently as possible, and they can often help mitigate errors.
Alán Aspuru-Guzik, a Harvard University professor is cofounder of a company called Zapata Computing whose ultimate goal is to be a kind of quantum-algorithm superstore, offering a broad range of ready-made software that companies can use to tap the immense processing power quantum computers promise to deliver.
Since the field of quantum computing is so new, only a small band of experts today can create advanced software that will work on the machines. Essentially, Zapata wants companies to be able to use the technology without needing an in-house quantum specialist.
Zapata has already negotiated an exclusive license with Harvard to the algorithms Aspuru-Guzik and his team developed there. The company’s goal, says Zapata CEO Chris Savoie, is to develop algorithms for a range of computers, and Aspuru-Guzik and his team have already been working with big quantum hardware makers like IBM and Google, as well as with smaller ones like Rigetti Computing and IonQ. These firms are also working on their own algorithms, but the view is that more software innovation is good for the nascent market. “This is where you want to see a lot of different ideas fill out the space,” says Jerry Chow, who heads IBM’s experimental quantum computing effort.
In the short term, Zapata plans to focus mainly on algorithms for chemistry and materials. Aspuru-Guzik has pioneered methods for modeling molecules, a notoriously difficult task even with today’s best supercomputers, and there’s hope that quantum computers will soon be able to turbocharge such simulations. That could lead to advances such as more efficient batteries and new light-emitting molecules for displays. A team at IBM has already used a quantum machine to model a small molecule made of three atoms, and some researchers have wondered about combining quantum circuits with dueling neural networks in an effort to dream up new molecules.
The report “Quantum Computing Market by Offering (Systems and Consulting Solutions), End-User Industry, and Geography; QCaaS Market by Application (Optimization, Machine Learning, and Material Simulation) and Geography – Global Forecast to 2024”, is expected to grow from USD 93 million by 2019 to USD 283 million by 2024; it is estimated at a CAGR of 24.9%.
Companies such as D-Wave Systems Inc. (Canada), 1QB Information Technologies Inc. (Canada), and QxBranch, LLC (US) are working toward providing a platform to enhance the availability, usability, and accessibility of quantum computers in the material simulation applications. QxBranch LLC (US) has launched quantum computing simulator for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia; such developments are expected to drive the growth of the quantum computing market for the simulation application. Moreover, Atos SE (France) launched the highest-performing quantum simulator named Atos Quantum Learning Machine’ (Atos QLM).
The use of quantum computers could help key industries such as automotive, defense, logistics, finance, and energy solve these problems easily. For instance, Volkswagen AG (Germany) is working on a project for traffic flow optimization. Furthermore, companies such as D-Wave Systems Inc. (US), Cambridge Quantum Computing Limited (UK), QC Ware, Corp. (US), and 1QB Information Technologies Inc. (Canada) are working on the development of quantum computing systems for the optimization application.
APAC is a leading hub for several industries, including healthcare, banking, automotive, and chemicals. This region is the largest automobile producer in the world. Also, countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea are leading manufacturers of consumer electronics, including smartphones, laptops, and gaming consoles, in this region. There is a need to solve various complications related to application such as optimization, material simulation, and machine learning across these industries. The large-scale development exhibited by the emerging economies in this region with the use of advanced technologies adopted in the manufacturing sector is contributing to the development of large and medium enterprises, which is also boosting the quantum computing market growth.
The major players operating in the quantum computing market include D-Wave Systems Inc. (Canada), QX Branch (US), International Business Machines Corporation (US), Cambridge Quantum Computing Limited (UK), 1QB Information Technologies (Canada), QC Ware, Corp. (US), StationQ – Microsoft (US), Rigetti Computing (US), Google Inc. (US), River Lane Research (US).
According to Lawrence Gasman, the author of one report, in 2018, quantum computing users, other than R&D and cloud providers, will account for just 6% of quantum computer revenues. By 2024 their share will be around 30%. The biggest commercial expenditures on quantum computing will come from defense/aerospace, pharmaceuticals/specialty chemical and banking/finance
By 2023 the market for quantum computing software will reach $408 million, with 60 percent of these revenues from applications packages for cloud service providers. Early revenues for quantum software start-ups will also come from compilers, simulators and a few applications packages.