At IBM, we believe that practical quantum advantages can be achieved in the near future. But getting there will require more than just capable hardware, and more than error correction. For a quantum advantage to be practical, it must be useful and accessible to as broad an ecosystem of users as possible.
To ensure broad adoption of quantum computing services in the near future, IBM Quantum cannot develop quantum computing services alone. The community of potential end users for quantum computing is rich and complex, and includes Higgs boson hunters, fraud detectors, pharmaceutical developers, financial analysts, materials scientists, and enthusiasts. We must meet the vast different user groups where they are.
That’s why we’re teaming up with Strangeworks to bring quantum computing to these broader communities of rich and complex end users. Strangeworks is a global leader in user-friendly quantum computing software, and partners like these will therefore play an increasingly integral role in developing IBM Quantum’s ecosystem.
We previously announced the availability of IBM Quantum hardware in Strangeworks’ ecosystem. Now, IBM Quantum has further enriched our available offerings in the Strangework ecosystem by making Qiskit Runtime free to any Strangeworks user across the quantum software company’s family of products. Any user who enters the Strangeworks ecosystem will find easy-to-use Qiskit Runtime programs integrated into the existing product.
The Qiskit Runtime Service is a powerful new tool that IBM Quantum is offering to to Strangeworks’ users. Its programs have already demonstrated hundredfold improvements in the time it takes to execute the most common types of hybrid quantum algorithms. Through the service, users execute quantum programs in an environment where the classical computer is physically closer to the quantum computer. In hybrid quantum algorithms, rather than accumulating latencies by repeatedly sending instructions over the cloud to the quantum computer, instructions are sent to the quantum computer from that classical computer that is physically close to it.
Until this point, the Qiskit Runtime Service has been available exclusively to a select group of IBM Quantum Network members. Now, Strangeworks' users can take advantage of the service.
“This is a glimpse what a future with practical quantum advantage might look like: Quantum computing as a broadly distributed service, deployed in different ways for different communities. We are excited to be a launch partner for the most recent milestone on the IBM Quantum development roadmap,” said Strangeworks CEO Willaim “whurley” Hurley.
An education in runtime
Strangeworks has already shown us the advantages of this approach. Their ecosystem for quantum developers interested in learning and collaboration offers a rich suite of educational and collaborative tools such as StackOverflow built right into their platform.
Their Qiskit Runtime portal doubles as an educational environment, with information about each of the available runtime programs and sample code. Strangeworks developed examples for each program that any user can pick up off the shelf in their system and run to explore the new functionality.
A user who opens the Quantum Kernel Alignment Program, for example, will learn about the differences between quantum and classical approaches to classification problems, and they will have executable code on hand to get a feel for the experience of running this quantum algorithm on a quantum machine. This creates a starting point for a user to execute their own code for their own classification needs.
The goal of all these new resources is that new developers should encounter quantum computing in ways that feel familiar. Together, IBM Quantum and Strangeworks are exploring what straightforward, practical access to quantum computing looks like, and how to provide it to the broadest possible user base. These sorts of partnerships, and the new communities of users they foster, will be essential to reaching the goal of practical quantum advantage.