Chinese internet giant Baidu, Inc., announced its first superconducting quantum computer, a 10-qubit machine called “Qian Shi,” at a quantum computing event this week in Beijing, which also is the location of the computer and Baidu’s Quantum Computing Hardware Lab.
The company also introduced an “all-platform quantum hardware-software integration solution that provides access to various quantum chips via mobile app, PC, and cloud,” according to a company statement.
That solution, called “Liang Xi,” offers versatile quantum services through private deployment, cloud services, and hardware access. Baidu said Liang Xi 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, the provide more computing capabilities to corporate enterprises.
“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 Dr. 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 also said it has recently completed the design of a 36-qubit superconducting quantum chip with couplers, which demonstrates promising simulation results across key metrics. These announcements and the ongoing development work are backed by Baidu Research’s Institute for Quantum Computing, which was founded in 2018 to target full-stack quantum hardware and software solutions.
It is not surprising to see Baidu take this step, as the company in recent years has been dabbling in the integration of quantum and AI, another technology in which it is heavily invested. It also launched the Quantum Leaf cloud computing service in 2020. The unveiling of Qian Shi and Liang Xi no doubt will draw the attention of those concerned on a geopolitical level about China’s progress in the race for global quantum computing leadership.
Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.