Disrupted Computing – Quantum computers come to the cloud?

The incredible potential of quantum computing made as easy to access as Amazon AWS Cloud

iDisrupted Commentary

We’ve talked about the potential of quantum computing over the past year – from a fantastic guide on how they work from the US NSA, to fixing the broken technology model (bits misbehaving – IBM, Google and Microsoft all claiming they’ve fixed it).

Specifically we’ve talked about the huge computational problems they can solve – and the benefits to mankind.

The problem is now access costs – a Dwave quantum computer (see the video below) apparently costs $32m. So we have a startup that’s trying to solve the problem by building quantum chips that are specifically designed to be in the cloud – using the same “pay as you go” pricing model just like Amazon AWS.

 From MITTechnology Review: “The airy Berkeley office space of startup Rigetti Computing boasts three refrigerators—but only one of them stores food.

Quantum Computers in the CloudThe other two use liquid helium to cool experimental computer chips to a fraction of a degree from absolute zero. The two-year-old company is trying to build the hardware needed to power a quantum computer, which could trounce any conventional machine by tapping into quantum mechanics.

The company aims to produce a prototype chip by the end of 2017 that is significantly more complex than those built by other groups working on fully programmable quantum computers. The following generation of chips should be able to accelerate some kinds of machine learning and run highly accurate chemistry simulations that might unlock new kinds of industrial processes, says Chad Rigetti, the startup’s founder and CEO.

“The chips we roll out will be able to solve very profound problems,” he says. As an example, Rigetti cites the Haber-Bosch process, used to manufacture ammonia for fertilizer production, which has been estimated to consume 2 percent of the world’s energy. Devising a more efficient catalyst for the reaction could be extremely valuable.

Rigetti aims to ultimately set up a kind of quantum-powered cloud computing service, where customers pay to run problems on the company’s superconducting chips. It is also working on software to make it easy for other companies to write code for its quantum hardware.” For more…

That plan requires Rigetti to make leaps of science and engineering that have so far eluded government, academic, and corporate labs. Although physicists have sketched out the basics of how quantum computers could be designed and what benefits they might bring, building them is proving tricky.