Equinix and OQC bring quantum computing to the masses
Move aside, Ant-Man, there's a new kid in the quantum realm. Data center company Equinix and Oxford Quantum Circuits (OQC) are teaming up to provide enterprise customers with access to a quantum computer via Equinix's TY11 Tokyo International Business Exchange data center.
UK-based quantum computer developer OQC is installing its hardware in Equinix's IBX data center. Customers will be able to access the quantum computer via Equinix Fabric, a software-defined digital interconnection service that utilizes private access instead of public Internet connections.
Equinix's Arun Dev, global head of digital interconnection, said that by providing customers with quantum computing-as-a-service (QCaaS), Equinix can make it more affordable and more easily accessible to enterprises. Customers won't have to build or maintain their own infrastructure, said Dev, which is similar to "the early days of cloud, like AWS, where people didn't have to build their own infrastructure and just spin it up, use it and turn it down."
"You don't have the upfront cost of a large company having to go buy your own quantum computer. So that's the exciting part of it. I call it democratizing access to quantum computing," said Dev.
By 2026, IDC predicts that 95% of companies will invest in compute technologies to quickly generate "complex data sets to drive differentiated business outcomes," said Andrew Buss, Senior Research Director for IDC, in a statement.
Lowering barriers to adoption
"Making quantum computing available 'as-a-service' on a globally interconnected digital infrastructure should significantly reduce barriers to experimentation and adoption such as cost, skills, and the complexity of integration—and open up quantum technology to many more organizations to test and use," said Buss.
One of the biggest challenges to widespread quantum computing is housing the computers, according to Equinix. Quantum computer components need to be kept at a temperature hundreds of degrees below freezing or encased in ultra-high vacuum chambers to isolate them in a controlled quantum state.
Since quantum computers can run calculations 158 million times faster than supercomputers, they can be used in many verticals and for use cases such as cancer drug discovery, advancing autonomous driving and supporting financial institutions, said Dev. Quantum computers can solve computation problems within minutes or hours, whereas traditional computers would require hundreds or thousands of years to run the same calculations.
"Quantum computing represents a major shift in terms of technology and process," said Dr. Ilana Wisby, CEO at OQC, in a statement. "Unlike traditional classical computers, quantum computers can crunch vast amounts of data at incredible speeds."
Quantum computers also reduce power consumption by 100x to 1000s – Dev explained that while quantum computers use conventional and liquid nitrogen-based cooling technologies, they still have lower power consumption than super computers.
George Freeman, minister of state at the UK Department for Science, Innovation & Technology, said the department plans to invest £1 billion (US$1.23 billion) over 10 years to support the UK quantum sector and drive economic growth.
"Quantum computing is set to be a transformational revolution in processing speed and power, creating big opportunities in everything from improved cyber security and faster drug discovery to climate modelling and shattering heat emissions from computing," said Freeman in a statement.
The quantum computing market is forecasted to reach $93 billion by 2040, up from $554.6 million in 2021.
Earlier this week, Cleveland Clinic and IBM launched what they claim is the first deployment of an onsite private sector IBM-managed quantum computer in the United States. The IBM Quantum System One installed at Cleveland Clinic will be dedicated to healthcare research and support the Cleveland Clinic in advancing biomedical discoveries.
OQC's Quantum Computing as a Service will be commercially available in the fall of 2023, at which time more information on pricing will be available, said Dev. This is Equinix's first participation in a QCaaS launch.
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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading