What is quantum cloud computing and how does it work?

What is quantum cloud computing?

Quantum cloud computing makes quantum computing resources available to organizations, academics, and other users through cloud technology.

Cloud-based quantum computers operate at higher speeds, with more computing power than conventional computers, as they use the principles of quantum physics to solve complex computing problems.

There are different types of quantum computers, such as quantum annealers, analog quantum simulators, and universal quantum computers. Quantum annealers are considered the least powerful among quantum computers, but work well for solving optimization problems. Analog quantum simulators, on the other hand, are powerful systems capable of solving problems in physics and biochemistry.

Universal quantum computers are the most powerful and widely used type of quantum computer. They are also the most difficult to build. Universal computing can potentially access up to 1 million qubits (basic units of quantum information). However, current technology can only access about 100-400 qubits.

How is all of this relevant to blockchain technology? Because quantum computing is incredibly powerful, it has understandably raised concerns in the blockchain community that it could potentially be used to the detriment of blockchain technology as we know it today.

First, quantum computing can hypothetically be used to gain an unfair advantage over other proof-of-work (PoW) miners and eventually dominate blockchain mining. This puts decentralized PoW networks such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) under threat from centralization.

Second, quantum computing can also theoretically crack the encryption codes used by blockchains. This means quantum computing could enable an attack on a blockchain network using cryptography. However, all is not bleak for cryptosystems, as quantum cloud computing can also offer an effective solution to protect and harden blockchains against quantum attacks.

What is the difference between cloud computing and quantum cloud computing?

Quantum cloud computing uses quantum principles for distributed computing while cloud computing uses remote servers to provide distributed computing services.

Cloud computing simply refers to the provision of services such as data storage, servers, databases, and networking through the Internet. Instead of storing data on on-premises physical servers, for example, an organization can opt for cloud storage services to reduce hardware maintenance and other costs.

Quantum cloud computing, on the other hand, derives from quantum computing, a form of computing that uses the principles of quantum mechanics to solve complex problems. It provides quantum computers allowing users to access quantum services and solutions through the cloud.

Companies using cloud computing, such as Google, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, are also at the forefront of developing quantum computers to refine computing technology and allow more users to access quantum computers through the cloud. IBM’s Osprey quantum computer, for example, has 433 qubits. The company plans to expand to 4,000 qubits by 2025.

Related: Cryptocurrency vs Quantum Computing: A Deep Dive into the Future of Cryptocurrencies

How does quantum cloud computing work?

Similar to platform-as-a-service solutions, quantum cloud computing services work by directly connecting users to quantum processors, emulators, and simulators.

Physical quantum computers are very complex, making cloud-based access an ideal setup for those who need to harness the power of quantum computing without purchasing their own machine.

According to IBM, its quantum hardware systems are about the size of an average car – mostly made up of cooling systems to ensure the superconducting processor stays at the ultra-cool ideal operating temperature.

Quantum hardware systems are made up of superfluids that function to supercool the system; superconductors, which form a Josephson junction to transport charges by quantum tunneling; and qubits that facilitate behavior control and information relay.

Qubits can perform an important function called superposition, which allows them to place the quantum information they hold into a state of superposition or a combination of all possible qubit configurations. This phenomenon allows the creation of multidimensional computational spaces, facilitating the resolution of complex problems.

Another thing to understand when talking about quantum computing is the concept of entanglement – ​​a quantum mechanical effect. Entanglement refers to correlations between the behavior of two separate things. In the context of quantum entanglement, as qubits become entangled, they cause other qubits to change, allowing the system to find solutions faster than conventional computers.

Contrary to the widespread but mistaken belief that quantum computing can solve complex problems by trying all possible configurations of a problem in parallel, quantum computers exploit qubit entanglement to explore probabilities. Then they run an algorithm to increase the chances of finding the best possible answer.

What is the purpose of quantum cloud computing?

Quantum computing has the potential to solve previously unsolvable problems in various fields, such as economics, drug design and development, finance, logistics, etc.

For example, large-scale quantum cloud computing platforms can be used to solve problems related to logistics optimization and resource planning in a business context. In healthcare, quantum cloud computing can potentially analyze large volumes of patient data to find the most effective treatments for specific diseases.

Additionally, in the realm of cybersecurity, quantum computers can use their enhanced computing power to help fight cybercrime and data breaches. The benefits of quantum cloud computing are numerous. A significant benefit is that it allows organizations to access the power of quantum computing without purchasing their own machine and cooling systems.

It also allows quantum researchers, such as quantum physics students and scholars, to better understand quantum principles and perform experiments without physically needing access to a quantum computer.

How is quantum cloud computing used?

Among the current applications of quantum cloud computing are those related to the testing of quantum algorithms.

Specifically, quantum algorithms are created on conventional computers and tested on quantum computers to ensure their viability. Due to the high technical cost and barriers to entry associated with quantum computing, cloud quantum computing allows businesses and researchers to leverage the technology to explore various quantum computing applications.

Quantum computing is still in its early stages in terms of development and implementation, so its adoption is still low. However, making the technology available through distributed cloud computing is a game-changer and opens the doors to many potential applications in the future.

What does the future of quantum computing in the cloud look like?

Experts predict that implementing cloud-based quantum computing could be more challenging than artificial intelligence, which has boomed dramatically over the past decade.

This challenge is partly due to the complex technical requirements of quantum computers. Since quantum hardware systems require extremely cold operating conditions, cloud providers will need to build spaces dedicated to quantum computers. The data centers that exist today are ill-equipped for this purpose.

Additionally, quantum computing and its associated software are still in their early stages of development and implementation, so the industry as a whole is still considered nascent. Programmers will also need to learn new skills in arithmetic and logic, as typical digital programming approaches differ significantly from those required for quantum computing.

That said, experts remain optimistic about the potential of quantum computing in the cloud, believing that it can bring significant benefits to various industries such as finance, logistics, healthcare and technology.

As the technology evolves, it is still very likely that cloud-based quantum computing will become widely available in the near future, making it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to access this powerful technology.

Cloud companies will likely be early providers of quantum-as-a-service, as the service will simply expand current offerings. If deployed and marketed effectively, quantum cloud computing can be as widespread as artificial intelligence and machine learning implementations.

Related: 10 Emerging Computing Technologies That Will Shape The Future

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