Quantum computing is an emerging discipline that has relatively limited commercialization. Some tech giants started to present methods about how organizations can integrate this technology into their business in the future. Taking advantage of quantum computing on the cloud seems to be the most likely option for most businesses.

Cloud-based quantum computing provides direct access to emulators, simulators and quantum processors. Vendors also provide development platforms and documentation for quantum computing languages and tools.

What is cloud-based quantum computing?

Cloud-based quantum computing allows companies and researches to test their quantum algorithms. First of all, quantum algorithms are developed using classical computers and then these algorithms are tested of these in real quantum computers through the cloud.

The deployment of quantum circuits and the support systems necessary for their operation is a costly and difficult process. Within the scope of the research, companies that already use these systems enable cloud-based quantum computing via the platforms they build.

Quantum computing provides an advantage over conventional computing in nonlinear problems with multiple solution sets. For example, if a multi-parameter nonlinear problem that will take years to solve with classical computers is the bottleneck of the research, it would be wise to develop the necessary algorithms and test them through the cloud. Feel free to visit our in-depth guide on potential application areas of quantum computing.

How does it work?

Rigetti is one of the leading startups in cloud-based quantum computing and their Forest product works as shown below:

Source: Medium/Rigetti
  1. Developers can interface the quantum machine image (QMI) using their classical computers. QMIs are virtualized programming and execution environments designed to develop and run quantum software applications by using such tools as pyQuil.
  2. The developed code is executed on quantum virtual machines (QVM). QVMs are implementation of the quantum machines in order to test the code and generate a waveform to run on quantum processors.
  3. Quantum machine image sends and receives waveforms from the quantum processing unit (QPU) which is basically a quantum chip that contains interconnected qubits. These qubits can be configured by using waveforms.
  4. QPU sends the necessary information from the solution set and QMI processes the information and sends it back to the classical computer.

Why is it important now?

Although quantum computing is an immature field, it can make a difference in many areas with improvements in implementation and error correction. This new technology will reach a beneficial point with the participation of more people and their collaboration. Thanks to emulators and simulators, it is possible to test quantum coding and software. Cloud-based quantum computing offers a direct interface to quantum circuits and quantum chips enabling final testing of quantum algorithms.

Cloud-based quantum computing has provided a way that enables people to make improvements in quantum computing. Businesses and academia can practice by using QC on the cloud and do not have to wait for quantum computing technology to be mature and widespread.

According to MarketsandMarkets research, the quantum computing market is estimated to reach $280M by the end of 2024 which is about $90M  by 2019.

How is the pricing for cloud QC?

IBM Q Experience announced that they provide free access for research and educational use. However, the exact price of product use for enterprises is not yet available. Currently, most companies are working to broaden the appeal of quantum computing in enterprises and are not focused on monetizing the product immediately. Even AWS Braket did not yet publish pricing guidelines.

What are the top vendors of quantum computing in the cloud?

Tech giants like Microsoft, IBM, Google and Amazon, the defense industry, specialized startups and government organizations are investing in quantum computing. While technology giants are developing their own quantum systems, they can partner with experienced startups. If you want to learn more about quantum computing ecosystem, you can visit our research.

Here is some of the cloud-based quantum computing providers:

Microsoft Azure Quantum:  Microsoft provides tools as QDK and quantum script languages as Q# for quantum computing development. Microsoft is partnering with 1Qbit, Honeywell, IONQ, QCI in the development of quantum computing systems. The capabilities of Azure Cloud enables access for quantum computers developed by its’ partners. Microsoft also developed their own quantum system called Station Q. Their approach is called topological qubit method for stable quantum bits in order to serve for mass production of quantum computers.

IBM Q Experience: IBM started a quantum network called IBM Q network in 2016. Since then, IBM became one of the forerunner in the quantum computing ecosystem. IBM Q can be accessed on the cloud through Qiskit(an open-source quantum software development kit).

Amazon Braket: At the end of 2019, Amazon announced that it started quantum computing with the Bracket. Combining quantum computing with the cloud, Amazon provides the entire system as a service. Amazon also set up a physical lab called Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab.

Google’s Quantum Playground: Quantum Playground provides a simulator with a user interface, scripting language and 3D quantum state visualization. Also, Google announced the achievement of quantum supremacy by using 54-qubit Sycamore processor in late 2019.

Rigetti Forest:  Rigetti is a quantum computing startup company that raised a total of $190M. Their product Forest consists of a tool suite for quantum computing. It includes a programming language, development tools and example algorithms.

D-wave Leap: D-wave is the first company to provide a commercially available quantum computer. D-wave is another startup company that raised more than $200M. Recently D-wave systems announced the availability of free access to its quantum system over Leap cloud service during COVID-19 pandemic.

Feel free to explore our future of quantum computing article where we discuss the possible evolution of quantum computing and potential limitations of the technology.

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