Bristol University makes quantum computing public

The University of Bristol has launched a project called Qcloud – which promises to make quantum computing resources available for all.

There are not many quantum computers in existence – and if there are, they are confined to research in academia. But Bristol university, from 20 September, will open up its quantum processor, housed at the Centre for Quantum Photonics, to the public – giving researchers access to the system remotely using the internet.

Users pointing their browser to will open up a quantum simulator to academic research as well as members of the public – plus user guides and manuals to help users get their heads around the mind-boggling technology. Once the simulator has been run, it will be possible to submit experiment proposals to be run on an actual quantum photonic processor.

The idea is to open up the possibilities of quantum computing to engineers, mathematicians and scientists around the world, both in the classroom and the lab, according to the university.

The premise of quantum computing depends on the qubit – an information unit which is able to exist in multiple states at a single time. Calculations are then made by altering the state of the qubit, and Bristol points out that the nature of qubits means they could potentially calculate all answers to a math problem simultaneously, using algorithms to understand which answer the qubit displays is correct. By utilising this technique, there is the potential to run extremely complex computations a lot faster than with classical computing.

“This technology has helped accelerate our research and is allowing us to do things we never thought possible,” said project leader, Professor Jeremy O’Brien. “It’s incredibly exciting to think what might be achieved by making this more widely accessible, not only to the brightest minds already working in research, but to the next generation”.