That’s quirky

Bristol Uni offers chance to tinker with quantum cloud

Lucy Carey
quantum

With the launch of the Qcloud, more people than ever will be able to get to grips with the basics of quantum computing

Do
you ever feel like a misplaced rocket scientist? Well, thanks to
University of Bristol, and the power of cloud computing you’re one
step closer to living those NASA fantasies.

Speaking at the launch of Bristol Science
Festival 2013 this month, Professor Jeremy O’Brien announced that
his team are launching a new project called “
Qcloud”,
designed to make the resources for quantum computing accessible to
everybody. The quantum processor housed at the
Centre
for Quantum Photonics
at the University of Bristol
will become the world’s first open-access system, allowing users
from anywhere in the world to access it remotely via the internet.
Run on a smaller scale than machines like Google’s immense D-Wave
machine, which are accessible to only a tiny handful of people,
it’s hoped that Qcloud will, as the Raspberry Pi did, democratise
the technology, connecting an unprecedented number of people to
this brave new frontier.

With every development, the computing world is
getting closer to the day when traditional capabilities will no
longer be enough. In the years to come, quantum technology could be
harnessed for everything from ultra-secure communications through
the exchange of Quantum Keys, to measuring way beyond the limits of
classical precision, factoring numbers, or solving optimisation
issues. There are a lot of predictions floating around that suggest
in quantum computing will be used to underpin massive data
dependant operations. But with the technology very much in its
infancy, it
s optimistic at best to
suggest that learning to work a quantum machine is going to be a
more impressive asset than multiple programming languages

on your LinkedIn anytime soon.

That’s not to say it won’t happen though, and
when that day arrives, the University of Bristol wanted to make
sure that there will be an army of coders reader to make the new
wave of quantum machines really sing.  According to O’Brien,
“A quantum computer can do things faster for you, but someone has
to program it, and at the moment there are only a handful of people
around the world who would be qualified.”

If you’d like to get a taste of what Google is
doing on their D-Wave, from Friday 20 September, anyone can log on
to the
university
website
and access the quantum simulator – as well
as some intro quantum computing guides. Once users are happy with
their simulation,  they can submit it to be run on an real
live quantum photonic processor, and who knows, one day, you might
be the first to harness the mind boggling power of this technology
to make the first quantum Angry Birds.

Images by  Bartertown and Robert
Couse-Baker
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