Alibaba Cloud has launched quantum computing services on its public cloud, which it says runs on a processor with 11 quantum bits (qubits) of power.
It worked with Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) to build the quantum computing system, touting it to be the second-most powerful cloud service available to the public--behind IBM and Intel's 20-qubit offering.
Alibaba said customers would be able to access the superconducting quantum computing cloud service to run or trial custom-built quantum algorithms and download the results. This would enable them to assess the performance of quantum processors and identify any potential technological barriers, it said.
Alibaba Cloud's chief quantum technology scientist Shi Yaoyun added that the accessibility to quantum computing power would allow users to experiment with quantum applications "in a real environment" and better understand the property and performance of the hardware. This also would pave the development of quantum software and tools, Shi said.
Alibaba and CAS in July 2015 set up a quantum computing laboratory and developed a cloud-based quantum cryptography method.
IBM in May 2016 also made available its quantum computing processor, free, for experiments via its cloud platform. Called the IBM Quantum Experience, the offer allowed users to run algorithms and experiments on the US vendor's quantum processor and work with individual qubits.