Alibaba reckons the world needs another quantum computer in the cloud, so it’s opened up access to an 11-qubit system. Meanwhile, IBM already has a 20 qubit quantum computer available on its cloud.
Users can now access the superconducting quantum computing cloud through Alibaba Cloud’s quantum computing cloud platform to efficiently run and test custom-built quantum codes and download the results.
A more generalised quantum computer uses superposition of qubit states to solve any problems, not just those suited to adibiatic algorithms. The interface between the classical world and the quantum is where Microsoft hopes to play a part with its quantum API and Q# language. Neither Alibaba or IBM are anywhere near the scale of quantum computing pioneer D-Wave, which claims to have built 2,000-qubit machines.
However, D-Wave’s operation, “adibiatic quantum computing” (adibiatic refers to preventing any thermal interaction between the system and the outside world) is best understood as a subset of the full scope of quantum computing. It uses quantum annealing, a process in which the quantum processor is seeking a lowest-energy “ground state” that describes a solution to a given problem.
Quantum computing is seen as a solution that can perform calculations at a rate far beyond that of traditional computers. With this ground-breaking feat, users will be able to run and trial their quantum algorithms in order to learn more about the features and capabilities including the performance of the processor and any existing technological barriers. Understanding more about these considerations will further push the advancement of quantum technology.
Offering quantum computing services on cloud is another breakthrough by the two parties. This will enable wider participation in overcoming technological challenges and the sharing of ideas and knowledge that will move scientists towards full utilization of this powerful technology.
Dr. Shi Yaoyun, Chief Quantum Technology Scientist at Alibaba Cloud, said: “By introducing quantum computing services on cloud, we make it easier for the teams to experiment with quantum applications in a real environment to better understand the property and performance of the hardware, as well as leading the way in developing quantum tools and software globally. The user experience offered on cloud will, without doubt, help us further enhance our platform.”
Significant effort to bring about the Alibaba Cloud quantum technology was made over recent years. In July 2015, Alibaba Cloud and CAS jointly established the first quantum computing laboratory in Asia, and shortly thereafter made a breakthrough in achieving the world’s first cloud-based quantum cryptography method.