Alibaba launches into quantum computing arena


In order to provide its users with the ability to run and test custom built quantum codes, Alibaba Cloud and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have launched the superconducting quantum computing cloud powered by a quantum processor with 11 quantum bits (qubits) of power. 

The launch of the system comes a year after IBM revealed its own five-qubit cloud-based quantum computer that has since been expanded to 20 qubits. 

Alibaba's Quantum Computing Cloud Platform is the second-fastest right after IBM's own offering but neither come close to quantum computing pioneer D-Wave that claims to have built machines with 2,000 qubits of power. 

Chief Quantum Technology Scientist at Alibaba Cloud, Dr. Shi Yaoun explained the company's decision to bring quantum computing services to the cloud, saying: 

“By introducing quantum computing services on cloud, we make it easier for the teams to experiment with quantum applications in a real environment to better understand the property and performance of the hardware, as well as leading the way in developing quantum tools and software globally. The user experience offered on cloud will without doubt help us further enhance our platform.”    

Alibaba Cloud has been working in the field of quantum computing for several years now and in July of 2015, the company and CAS established the first quantum computing laboratory in Asia.  They also were able to create the world's first cloud-based quantum cryptography method. 

Hopefully by offering users a means to run and test quantum codes, Alibaba will help propel advances in the field that lead to more widespread development and adoption of quantum computing.   

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