Rigetti Launches Quantum Computing Cloud Service

Rigetti Computing has announced its Quantum Cloud Services (QCS), a platform the company hopes will run the world’s first application demonstrating “quantum advantage.”

According to company CEO Chad Rigetti, quantum advantage is “the inflection point where quantum computers first begin to solve practical problems faster, better, or cheaper than otherwise possible.” Which sounds a lot like quantum supremacy, but when you’re a startup like Rigetti, it pays to differentiate yourself from your rivals. Especially when those rivals are big players like IBM, Google, and Intel.

The key differentiator for QCS appears to be its tight integration with classical computing systems, the idea being to improve application performance. Rigetti describes the setup as follows:

“Users access these integrated systems through their dedicated Quantum Machine Image. The QMI is a virtualized programming and execution environment designed for users to develop and run quantum software applications. Every QMI comes pre-configured with Forest 2.0, the latest version of our industry-leading software development kit.”

For the time being, users of the cloud service will have access to the company’s current quantum computing hardware, presumably based on its 16-qubit and 32-qubit quantum processing units (QPUs). In August, Rigetti announced the company was developing a 128-qubit version, and its this one that would be the likely candidate to demonstrate quantum advantage. The 128-qubit processor is slated for deployments “over the next 12 months.”

To help develop applications on the platform and provide a channel for distribution, the company is partnering with a number of quantum computing specialists, most of which are startups like Rigetti itself. These include 1QBitEntropica LabsHeisenberg Quantum SimulationHorizon Quantum ComputingOTI LumionicsProteinQureQC WareQulabQxBranchRiverlane ResearchStrangeworks, and Zapata Computing.  

Prime application domains include chemistry, machine learning, and optimization problems in areas like logistics and scheduling. To attract these types of codes to QCS, the company is offering $1 million to the first user that demonstrates quantum advantage with their application. More information can be had on Rigetti’s website.

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