June 21, 2024

Finishing Touches For Your

Where Security Matters

Quantum Computing: The First Taste Is Free

There are a few ways to access real quantum computers — often for free — over the Internet. However, most of these are previous-generation machines that have limited capabilities. Great for learning, perhaps, but not something you could do anything practical with.  Xanadu, however, has announced what they claim to be a computer capable of reaching quantum advantage that is free for anyone to use, within limits. Borealis — the computer in question — uses photonic states and has the capability of working with over 216 squeezed-state qubits.

The company is selling time on the computer, but the free tier includes 5 million free shots on Borealis and 10 million shots on an earlier series of quantum computers. You can also buy pay-as-you go service for about $100 per million shots on Borealis.

While a few million shots may sound like a lot, we noticed that the quickstart demo consumes 10,000 shots and that’s presumably something simple. That’s still about 500 runs of that on Borealis — not bad for free on a state-of-the-art quantum computer. You will be wanting to debug with a simulator, though.

We presume the developers are Beatles fans given that you use software called Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields to access the machines. Your job is controlled by Python and there is a cloud simulator to save your shots.

We won’t pretend to understand all there is about squeezed light qubits and the Borealis architecture. But you can get some general practice in our series on quantum computing. Or there are a few lectures around including one that aims at different levels of experience.