Google Quantum Virtual Computer Available For Free

has made its Quantum Virtual Machine available to the free of charge in a bid to help people learn computing skills.

The tech giant’s Quantum Virtual Machine emulates the experience and results of programming on one of the computers in its research labs, from circuit validation to processor infidelity. Google revealed it was making the Quantum Virtual Machine freely available to all on 19 July, so the public can see for themselves how it works.

Quantum computing merges computer science and quantum physics, two of the most important scientific developments of the 20th century. A quantum computer has a far greater operating speed than a traditional computer. Traditional computers operate on classical Boolean logic at the algorithmic level.

Google is working on applying quantum computing to AI and machine learning. Lots of tasks in these areas rely on solving hard optimisation problems or performing efficient sampling, which quantum computing is very effective at.

Catherine Vollgraff Heidweiller, Google’s Quantum AI Product Manager, explained in a blog post that her department had a long history of making its research tools accessible for the public.

“The race is on to build fault-tolerant quantum computers and discover new algorithms to apply them in useful ways,” she wrote.

“For all the aspirations of quantum computing, the reality is that unlocking its potential to solve real-world problems is as challenging as building the quantum computers themselves. This got us thinking…how can we empower more people to join us on the quest to discover quantum algorithms and applications?”

By making the Quantum Virtual Machine freely available, the public can equip themselves with the knowledge they need to apply quantum programming skills for good.

“We hope that you will find the Quantum Virtual Machine useful while exploring quantum computing, whether for research or education,” Heidweiller added. “For educators and their students, the QVM makes it possible to complete coursework and projects on a top quality processor, without running into the long and unpredictable queues that are common in the industry.”

The Quantum Virtual Machine can be deployed instantly from a Colab notebook. Once deployed, the programme can be run on a grid of virtual qubits. Users can use Cirq 1.0, Google’s newly released version of its open-source quantum programming framework to build their programme.

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