Feeds

Bristol boffins announce QUANTUM CLOUD

The smoking gun in recent lab cat disappearance?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Ever wanted to fiddle with a quantum computer, but don't have the sort of connections to get you inside a lab? If so, the boffins at Bristol University have just the thing for you: a "quantum cloud"!

The wonk-run quantum cloud will give researchers and the general public the chance to book time on a diminutive quantum chip housed in the university's qubit-wrangling research lab. The service was announced on Friday, and beginning September 20th will give people access to a quantum simulator to test out quantum-ish computations, plus the opportunity to apply to have their experiments run on Bristol's quantum photonic processor.

The catch is that it's a pretty weedy quantum chip. The Bristol chip generates a photon using a blue laser that is split into two red daughter photons. These photons are prepared as qubits – the quantum equivalent of a digital bit, except these can exist in superposition of states which can be manipulated using electrodes acting as phase shifters that change the speed of the photons via wave guides, which "behave like optical fibres and channel the photons around the chip," the researchers write.

The Bristol chip measures some 70 by 3mm and was first announced in 2011. Though it may not have many qubits, its diminutive size was seen as a breakthrough in a field known more for room-size installations than matchbox chips.

By comparison, NASA and Google are fiddling with a quantum-ish processor from controversial company D-Wave systems. That chip can field around 512 qubits, housed inside a superconducting chip cooled to 20 millikelvin that sits inside a 10–square meter shielded room.

Though Bristol's chip does not allow for the programming of sophisticated problems, as D-Wave's system does, it does give world+dog a chance to run experiments on a real quantum system – for free.

"The quantum processor chip that we have developed is in our lab here in Bristol and we continue to work on it, so it is very much at the cutting edge of science," the researchers write. "The quantum processor in our lab will allow you to create and manipulate your own qubits and measure the quantum phenomena of superposition and entanglement. The processor works by repeatedly sending the prepared photons through the circuit and measuring where the photons emerge. Over many iterations this data builds up a statistical picture ... that tells you what is happening to the photons."

Once people gain access to the "QCloud" they can use the chips to create entanglement between the photon pairs, manipulate the photons' states, and measure impacts on the photons from the outside environment.

The public can also access a quantum simulator, which lets them test out potential quantum experiments in a software simulation of the quantum hardware, which the Bristol boffins promise is "an exceedingly close representation of the real device and is great for trying out different experiments without having to use the real quantum processor." A full reference guide for the simulator is available, and users wishing to test out the chip available through the QCloud will want to fiddle with the "CNOT-MZ" option.

"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," writes project leader Professor Jeremy O'Brien in a canned statement. "I hope that by helping schools to access this technology, and working with the British Science Association to provide educational content around quantum computing, we can achieve incredible things." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.