What is Cloud-Based Quantum Computing?
Cloud-based quantum computing is the provision of quantum computing resources and services via the Internet through established cloud computing technologies. Users may access and utilize various hardware and software without any need to purchase or lease any infrastructure. The environment is analogous to concepts such as online banking and social media content creation. While some services might be limited to one or two of the following others might be all-encompassing. For example:
- The physical quantum computers and all of their specialized hardware and software.
- The on-demand processing power, storage, and network equipment needed to deliver computational services via the internet.
- Cloud based quantum computer applications, perhaps for specific fields or industries, that require little-to-no knowledge of either quantum mechanics or classical computer programming.
- Cloud based quantum app development that requires little-to-no knowledge of quantum mechanics and little-to-no knowledge of quantum computer programming, but allows applications to be developed with knowledge limited to classical computer programming.
- Cloud based quantum computing developer tools for those with specialized knowledge and skills with which to design and develop new quantum algorithms and applications.
- Quantum computer simulators and emulators with which to develop and test quantum algorithms before running them on actual quantum computers.
- Pre-designed algorithms, as well as cloud-based quantum machine learning solutions to optimize the algorithms that require parameterized quantum circuits.
- Classical computing resources for the efficient pre-processing, mid-processing, and post-processing of data.
- Cloud based quantum computer training programs ranging from prerequisite knowledge in physics and linear algebra to introductions to quantum circuits to advanced attempts to demonstrate quantum computational advantage.
- Non-computing resources such as random number generation
As noted in Dataconomy’s article "Quantum computing turns into accessible services with the cloud-based quantum computers", the architecture and performance of available hardware varies significantly. While this steepens the learning curve to become a user, this also increases the likelihood of finding hardware that is most conducive to one’s research. This further culminates in a broad array of languages, tools, samples, tutorials, webinars, courses, and documentation, some of which may lower certain barriers to entry.
Advantages of Cloud-Based Quantum Computing
Cloud-based quantum computing offers considerable advantages over on-premises solutions. For a non-exhaustive-but-broad sampling, web-based access allows:
- Enables organizations of all sizes to conduct research on state-of-the-art hardware and software without the significant costs of building and maintaining either.
- Allows researchers to choose from a range of qubit modalities and device sizes, to choose more than one such device, as well as to freely change selections, as needed.
- Offers users the latest-and-greatest technology without any requirement for them to procure, install, and configure any hardware.
- Facilitates collaboration by teams of researchers from literally anywhere in the world with Internet access, with assurance that everyone is accessing the same systems.
- Lowers barriers-to-entry by not requiring any of the specialized knowledge, skills, or expertise that would otherwise be needed to build, maintain, and access quantum computers.
- Provides unparalleled cost efficiency and budget adherence through programs that incur costs only as computational resources are utilized.
- Accelerates innovation by putting this cutting-edge technology into the “hands” of almost every scientist, student, and enthusiast.
- Integrates, potentially, with high-performance computing (HPC) systems, tensor networks, and other cloud-based or on-premises resources.
- Eliminates the physical security safeguards that would be required if such expensive technology were kept on-premises.
- Introduces useful quantum computation to the entire world the moment it is realized that the latest hardware upgrades have suddenly made it possible.
The advantages of cloud-based quantum computing extend beyond those that have been mentioned thus far, such as accessibility, cost-efficiency, innovation acceleration, scalability, global collaboration, training and education, integration with HPC and other technologies, reduced physical security concerns, and access to algorithms and applications. Consideration must be given to the user-friendly interfaces through which all of these devices and services are made accessible. For example, the engineering challenges of online usage might be limited to checking for a green dot labeled “online.” Hardware selection might be a dropdown box and a “run” button. Arranging individual atoms might mean simply typing in their Cartesian coordinates.
Another advantage that is attracting more attention over time is the reduced environmental impact. Not only are quantum computers known to consume less energy than high-performance computers, but additional savings can also be achieved by sharing resources online and minimizing wasteful idle times between computations. Meaning less consumption measurably reduces the environmental impact, and sharing resources reduces that impact further.
An article by InfoWorld titled "Cloud-based quantum computing lets startups compete with Goliaths", expands upon how the cloud democratizes quantum computing and other advanced technologies. While it doesn’t mention premium access with its analogy of a level playing field, there are a considerable number of free resources out there. If a resource isn’t free, it’s most likely available through an affordable pay-as-you-go provider. The payments can usually be made with credit cards and, importantly, without contracts.
For example, you can learn how to do analog neutral atom quantum computing, and solve small problems as you do, with a free installation of the Julia-language Bloqade library on a laptop. For larger, real-world problems, you can pay-as-you-go non-contractually with a credit card while accessing a real neutral atom quantum computer through Amazon Braket or qBraid.
Implementing Cloud-Based Quantum Computing
Implementation is more noteworthy for what does not have to be done. Without on-premises infrastructure there is no infrastructure planning, relatively-little-to-no setup, no integrations harder than API calls, no additional physical security measures, no user-interface development, no access and authentication to manage, no computational resource allocation, no new documentation, no quality assurance, no support desk, and no roadmap for upgrades.
While some offerings may involve the installation and configuration of software onto workstations, others require nothing more than an internet browser and a password. Some tools and applications don’t even require the latter. The greatest challenge to implementation is choosing which clouds to access.
We are committed to providing you with the most flexible and powerful quantum computing solutions. Our Premium Cloud-Based access plans are designed to offer you prompt, secure, and dependable access to our industry-leading 256-qubit neutral-atom quantum computer and world-class team regardless of your geographical location. We offer:
- Exclusive, reliable, high-quality, and secure machine time access
- Direct support from our scientific and engineering team
- Early access to advanced features
- Business service level agreement
- Instructor-led tailored training
- Regular office hours for ongoing support and guidance
- Consulting and solution development options
- Fixed-cost, fixed-term contracts