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China’s internet giant Baidu unveils first quantum computer

The company also revealed a “plug and play” computing platform letting customers create their own quantum algorithms

China’s Baidu revealed today its first superconducting quantum computer that fully integrates hardware, software, and applications.

The supercomputer, named Qian Shi, offers a quantum computing service to the public with 10 quantum bits (qubits) of power. Baidu added that it has also recently completed the design of a 36-qubit superconducting quantum chip with couplers.

This is the company’s first industry-level superconducting quantum computer, which incorporates its hardware platform with its software stack. On top of this infrastructure are a number of quantum applications, including quantum algorithms used to design new materials for novel lithium batteries or simulate protein folding.

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The internet company has also developed Liang Xi, what it claims to be the world’s first all-platform quantum hardware-software integration that offers quantum services through private deployment, cloud services, and hardware access.

The platform is able to plug into Qian Shi and other third-party quantum computers, including a 10-qubit superconducting quantum device and a trapped ion quantum device developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Users can visit these quantum computational resources via mobile app, PC, and cloud.

Together, the two systems allow customers to create their own quantum-powered algorithms at a fraction of the cost typically associated, Baidu claims.

"With Qian Shi and Liang Xi, users can create quantum algorithms and use quantum computing power without developing their own quantum hardware, control systems, or programming languages," said Runyao Duan, director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at Baidu Research.

"Baidu's innovations make it possible to access quantum computing anytime and anywhere, even via smartphone. Baidu's platform is also instantly compatible with a wide range of quantum chips, meaning 'plug-and-play' access is now a reality."

Baidu is aiming to integrate quantum technologies into its core business, with its Institute for Quantum Computing at Baidu Research aiming to become a world-leading in quantum AI research. The institute was established in 2018 and is looking to build full-stack quantum software and hardware products, create quantum infrastructure, and develop an industrial quantum network.

This comes after Fujitsu and the Riken research institute announced earlier this week they are set to offer quantum computing capabilities to companies operating in Japan.

From April 2023, the Japanese company is set to become the country’s first domestic company to commercialise quantum computing, in a sector that has so far been dominated by companies like Google and IBM.

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