Quantum Cloud is the preferred way to access quantum hardware. A December 2022 study by Hyperion Research found that 50% of users surveyed access quantum via the cloud, and another 17% use hybrid on-premises/cloud access. Still, 21% want on-premises quantum hardware. Significant multi-year partnership agreements have been signed, including the installation of quantum computers on site.
The 21% part is probably more amazing than the 50% part because today’s quantum hardware will be largely obsolete within two years and quantum computers are expensive. Users of quantum computers in the cloud often enjoy “pay-as-you-go” pricing, the ability to choose the best computer for a given application, the ability to experiment with multiple vendors, and the ability to do it at any time. You can enjoy the peace of mind that it is high. Access the latest models.
Given these compelling advantages of using the cloud, what are the motivations for using on-premises?
Some organizations, especially government, defense, and pharmaceutical organizations, are going to great lengths to secure their quantum algorithms. Sending algorithms outside your organization is considered an unacceptable risk, despite the highly secure communication links available. This risk is accentuated by the fact that some cloud providers that offer quantum computing services do not host the quantum computers themselves, but rely on the hardware to be hosted on his vendor’s premises.
Large research centers may choose an on-premises solution to guarantee the execution speed of their quantum jobs. Only a few dozen quantum computers are accessible in the cloud, with access limited to the cloud provider’s available hours and subject to a quantum job queue. By hosting their own computers, organizations can control uptime, avoid having to share this functionality with others, get more quantum bandwidth, and prioritize jobs based on internal priorities. can be ranked.
Other organizations are concerned about data residency requirements and need to ensure that data remains within the country. An organization’s geographic location also affects latency. For example, the distance between Paris and New York is about 5,800 kilometers, so when a customer in Paris accesses a quantum computer in New York, they experience a round trip delay of about 40 milliseconds. This is especially important for hybrid classical/quantum algorithms such as VQE, where part of the algorithm runs on classical computers and other parts on quantum computers.
Finally, national and regional financial incentives may make it very attractive to buy rather than “lease” quantum computers in the cloud.
For whatever reason, what options do organizations have if they don’t want access to quantum computers on the public cloud?
One alternative is to partner with national providers who physically host classical and quantum computers in their data centers. This approach can accommodate latency requirements as classical and quantum computers are co-located. It also gives you the option to negotiate guaranteed availability and hours of operation. Organizations may find it convenient to shift responsibility for ongoing calibration of quantum computers to hosting centers and ask them to also address operating condition requirements such as cryogenic cooling for quantum modalities that require it. you may think. The downside of this approach is that the data is still outside the walls of the customer. As such, significant trust and verifiable safeguards must be negotiated.
If this compromise is unacceptable, there are several points an organization can emphasize when negotiating computer purchases from quantum vendors.
- UpgradabilityQuantum computers continue to advance dramatically. Unlike our phones, these improvements aren’t just camera improvements and new emojis. Quantum improvements include new features such as the number of qubits, improved fidelity, and dynamic circuits. All of this brings computers one step closer to quantum advantages. Organizations buying quantum computers should emphasize architectures that can be continuously upgraded and vendors willing to keep their customers on the cutting edge.
- Comprehensive support and training servicesSuch services should not be limited to calibration and maintenance only. Alternatively, it can include employee development and integration and customization services. Buying a quantum computer should be an opportunity to transform the region into a thriving quantum hub.
- step by step approachQuantum computers are rarely available for delivery “in stock”. Instead, building a high-end quantum computer could take years. What can you do in the meantime? Vendors have come up with innovative approaches to fill this schedule gap.
Quantum computers have the potential to revolutionize industry. While most organizations prefer the convenience of cloud access, some argue in favor of on-premises machines. In this case, organizations are encouraged to consider upgradeability, support, and delivery schedules when choosing a quantum partner.
Yuval Boger is an executive working at the intersection of quantum technology and business. His “Superposition Guy’s Podcast” can be accessed on his Quantum Computing Report here and most of the audio on his platform. You can reach him on LinkedIn or this email.
January 29, 2023