Rigetti Quantum Cloud Services and $1 million quantum advantage prize Launching

Quantum computing is nearing a critical milestone when it will unlock higher quality, faster, or cheaper solutions for important and valuable problems. They call this milestone quantum advantage. The first conclusive demonstration of quantum advantage will be an historic achievement. Catalyzed by that moment, we expect advantage will then be reached over and over again, in new markets and new domains, and along new dimensions of speed, quality, or cost. At Rigetti, they believe the pursuit of quantum advantage will shape the industry over the next 5 years.

All the technology they build at Rigetti is aligned to this pursuit. They recently shared our plans to make a 128-qubit system available in 2019, along with investments at the application layer to develop algorithms in quantum chemistry, machine learning, and optimization. Many promising quantum algorithms involve an iterative feedback loop between quantum and classical computations to arrive at an optimal solution. These algorithms can provide a path to near-term quantum advantage by using orders of magnitude fewer qubits than perfectly fault-tolerant machines would require. Yet none of the quantum computing services available today were built to support this programming model.

They believe the best system architecture to pursue advantage is one that is tailored to hybrid algorithms running on NISQ-era machines through integrated quantum and classical computing systems. They have embraced this approach as the strongest way to leverage quantum capabilities now and in the future. It guided the design of our original programming architecture and Quil, our quantum instruction language for controlling quantum computers aside classical programs. Our open-source software development kit, Forest, was the first quantum-classical programming environment and has been used by researchers around the world to run more than 90 million programs on our cloud platform.

Today they are introducing the next major step in the evolution of our quantum-classical systems: Quantum Cloud Services. QCS is an integrated computing platform built from the ground up to run the hybrid algorithms that offer the shortest path to quantum advantage.

Videos of how to program rigetti quantum computers using pyQuil a modified version of Python

Robert Smith of Rigetti Computing takes us through his quantum instruction set.

pyQuil is a Python-based, open-source quantum programming library. pyQuil is part of the Rigetti Forest toolkit for programming and running quantum algorithms in the cloud on both a physical quantum computer and classically-simulated quantum processor.

Quantum Cloud Services: The most powerful platform for quantum-classical programming

QCS is based on a novel architecture called the Quantum Machine Image, a virtualized programming and execution environment that runs side-by-side with our quantum hardware. This architecture innovation delivers three capabilities essential to the pursuit of advantage:

Dedicated quantum-classical resources. Each QCS user gets their own Quantum Machine Image. Your QMI serves as a dedicated programming environment and a unified access point to our QVM and QPU backends. This model allows faster testing and shorter learning cycles for new researchers and developers. The QMI comes pre-configured with our native Forest software development kit, and you can add the other tools you need.

Low-latency integration.The shortest path to quantum advantage is through optimization-based algorithms that put both quantum and classical resources within the optimization loop. The speed of that loop drives overall compute time and application performance. The integrated QCS system tightens the loop, making it the fastest quantum computing platform available.

Parametric programming and compilation. On QCS, users can execute families of programs with a single compilation step. Our systems run compiled program binaries with dynamic parameters that can be updated at run-time. This is a key innovation on the path toward advantage because hybrid programs rely on iterative and optimization-based solutions, and faster iteration means faster results.

$1 Million Quantum Advantage Prize

QCS unlocks the application-level performance needed for hybrid algorithms to surpass classical compute capabilities and realize their full value. For the first time, researchers will be able to explore previously unsolvable problems in every domain. This will propel the industry forward toward the first inflection point in the pursuit of quantum advantage. While quantum computing will one day touch almost every global industry, no one knows what shape the first demonstration of quantum advantage will take, or when it might happen. Recognizing the significance of such an achievement, we are offering a $1 million prize for the first conclusive demonstration of quantum advantage on the QCS platform. We’ll share more details about the Quantum Advantage Prize on Oct 30th. Stay tuned!

Partnerships with leading startups

Continuous improvements to our technology stack, from quantum chips to compilers, will provide the raw power that makes advantage possible on the QCS platform. Harnessing this power requires software and applications developed through creativity, rigor, and unrelenting focus on solving valuable customer problems. There is an abundance of directions to explore, from drug development and training neural networks to music and games.

We’re partnering with visionary startups who are pioneering the first generation of practical quantum applications. These companies include 1QBit, Entropica Labs, Horizon Quantum Computing, OTI Lumionics, ProteinQure, QC Ware, Qulab, Riverlane Research, and Strangeworks. They will use QCS to develop groundbreaking applications and as a channel for distributing these applications to the broader community, giving researchers even more tools to use in their pursuit of quantum advantage.

What’s next

The QCS platform will open to private beta partners and customers soon and be more broadly available later this year. Over the next 12 months, the libraries and applications built by our developer partners will be released, and steady improvements in both the classical and quantum infrastructure that power the QCS platform will usher in a new era of computing that will redefine the way we do science and, ultimately, the way we do business.

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