It May Be Too Early to Prepare Your Data Center for Quantum Computing
(DataCenterKnowledge) Before some fundamental questions are answered, it’s hard to predict what shape quantum computing will take at scale.
Do data center operators need to start making plans for rows of rack-mounted quantum computers in their facilities? That depends on whcn of the technologies currently under development take hold, Dr. Celia Merzbacher, executive director of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium, told DCK. “The early lead is with IBM and Google right now, and they are working using a technology that requires very low temperatures,” she said. “There’s a lot of infrastructure around the processor that is pretty big and cumbersome and is in some sense kind of hard to scale, but they’re working on it.”
Other quantum computing technologies under development don’t require cooling core components to nearly absolute zero (-460F), as IBM and Google’s systems require. If they succeed in the market, quantum computing will be less likely to remain confined to being primarily a public cloud offering. Cloud providers, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and IBM Cloud. They all have pilot quantum computing projects in various stages of progress.
Honeywell and the startup IonQ are each developing quantum computers using “trapped ion” designs. Another startup, called PsiQuantum, is developing a quantum computer that uses protons as qubits, the quantum bits that are the basic unit of quantum information. Since none of these designs require drastic cooling, something that can be rack mounted and rolled onto the floor of a traditional data center might be possible.
Dr. Celia Merzbacher explained that quantum computing hasn’t reached a point where “everybody settled on a technology here, and so there still is uncertainty. It may be that the IBM approach is better for certain types of computing, and then the trapped-ion approaches [are] better for others.”