The Qcloud initiative will give open-access to quantum computing

Qcloud initiative offers open-access quantum computing

A cutting-edge initiative allowing users to access a miniature quantum processor chip via the Internet is to be launched by the University of Bristol.

The Qcloud, announced at the launch of the British Science Festival 2013, aims to make quantum computing available for anyone to try. By providing remote access via the Internet to the university’s quantum processor, which is housed at the Centre for Quantum Photonics, the project is effectively the world's first such open-access system.

Quantum computers are scarce and most are being used in academic research. From 20 September 2013, anyone can tap in to the power of quantum computing via a dedicated website,

Schools, academic research institutions and also members of the public can log on and gain access to a quantum simulator. User guides and manuals will be provided to help users get to grips with the basics of quantum computing. Once users are satisfied with the results of their simulation, they can submit their experiment to be run on a real quantum photonic processor.

The project’s researchers want to make the possibilities of quantum computing available to the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, scientists and entrepreneurs.

“I hope that by helping schools to access this technology, and working with the British Science Association to provide educational content around quantum computing, we can achieve incredible things,” said project leader, Professor Jeremy O’Brien.

Quantum computing relies on qubit as its unit of information, as opposed to the current more simple binary system. The qubit can exist in multiple states at the same time, a phenomenon known as superposition. Essentially this allows complex computations to be performed exponentially faster than classic computers are able to do.

“This technology has helped accelerate our research and is allowing us to do things we never thought possible,” Prof O’Brien continued. 

Quantum computing has for example enabled ultra-secure communications through the exchange of Quantum Keys, measurements beyond the classical limits of precision, and calculations such as factoring numbers or solving optimisation problems. 

“The fact that we can give budding young talent access to some of the most advanced computing technology is something that we, as a nation, should be extremely proud of,” said Professor Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate and president of the Royal Society.

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