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July 13, 2023

How QaaS will bring quantum computing to everyone

Recent advancements, combined with as-a-service delivery, brings quantum ever closer to commercialization.

In the news

We’re witnessing the emergence of a thriving ecosystem of companies that offer quantum computing as a service—which has inevitably become known as QaaS.

And why not? As we wrote recently, research and development efforts in quantum computing have brought the world closer to a practical solution for some of today’s most pressing challenges—such as modeling natural phenomena at the quantum level.

In another recent quantum breakthrough, Google significantly reduced calculation errors while increasing the number of physical quantum bits, or qubits, in a logical qubit—a crucial building block for large-scale quantum computers. This development is pivotal in scaling quantum computing capabilities, as high error rates plague existing prototypes.

Progress extends to underlying raw materials, as well. The recent discovery of Q-silicon, a distinct new form of silicon that exhibits ferromagnetic properties at room temperature, has the potential to advance quantum computing.

While much of this may sound like scientific jargon to business leaders, it’s important: Every advancement in the quantum field brings it closer to commercialization.

The Cognizant take

The quantum-as-a-service ecosystem has been growing for some time. For instance, Amazon Web Services introduced Braket in 2020, a fully managed service enabling customers to explore and design quantum algorithms.

What’s changing, says Ollie O'Donoghue, Senior Director at Cognizant Research, is that the ability to access real quantum computers is now becoming a reality. One notable example is Oxford Quantum Circuits, a startup that offers cloud access to its quantum computers in Europe through a private cloud, as well as through its partnership with AWS.

According to O'Donoghue, the expanding array of companies providing QaaS solutions will be pivotal in unlocking opportunities for businesses to experiment with the technology and develop their own robust quantum strategies.

“While the technology still faces numerous technical challenges, the commercial hurdles pose the greatest obstacles for businesses,” he says. Because it’s impractical, cost- and talent-wise, for businesses to build their own quantum computers, the ability to access simulators through hyperscale providers or test algorithms and software on real hardware “presents an unprecedented opportunity to work with quantum computers,” he adds.

Business leaders recognize that quantum will likely become a crucial enterprise technology in coming years. For example, quantum will be essential to life sciences efforts to discover groundbreaking drugs, while financial institutions could employ it to enhance money management through improved collateral management.

Forward-looking businesses will want to begin experimenting and developing their in-house capabilities to achieve these advancements. Which is why O'Donoghue believes the as-a-service model is here to stay.

“Similar dynamics have played out with various other enterprise technologies,” he points out, “as partnerships with companies possessing the expertise and resources to innovate and enhance solutions prove more advantageous than going it alone.” In addition to supporting experimentation, the evolving ecosystem of hyperscale providers and startups will also enable scalability as the technology improves and new use cases emerge.

A more compelling cost model is just one of the benefits, O’Donoghue says. “As witnessed with cloud computing, service companies can overcome barriers to entry, such as addressing compliance concerns or cybersecurity risks, ultimately providing business leaders with the opportunity to integrate the technology into their business operations seamlessly.”

By embracing the as-a-service approach, businesses can leverage service providers' expertise and ongoing innovation, allowing them to focus on their core competencies while harnessing the power of quantum computing.

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