There is a new age coming to the world in the form of quantum computing. Quantum computers will have the ability to run algorithms modern electronic computers cannot, and right now there are very few people who can write these algorithms. As reported by New Scientist, researchers at the University of Bristol have decided to start preparing developers for the quantum age by setting up a quantum simulator for the public to test algorithms on, before running them on a real quantum chip.
At the heart of quantum computers are quantum bits, or qubits which can be made to exist in multiple states at the time, and to have their states strongly entangled with each other. This allows the computers to run algorithms electronic computers cannot approach. This also means many computer engineers cannot code for quantum computers, so if quantum computing were here tomorrow, the world would be unprepared. This is why the researchers have built a simulator for anyone to practice with online, so the user can learn the principles of developing for a quantum computer. Once they have become skilled enough, their project will be run on a real quantum chip the researchers built, and the results will be returned to the user via the Internet.
The quantum chip the researchers are putting online only has two qubits, so it is not particularly powerful, even compared to modern electronic computers. The researchers are currently working on six and eight-qubit computers, so they are happy to let the older design be freely used by an interested public.
The simulator is already online, but the chip will not be connected until September 20.
Source: New Scientist