Baidu is one of many large tech companies fighting to develop quantum computing, which relies on quantum mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement to perform calculations. The technology promises to usher in a new era of computing and life-changing disciplines such as artificial intelligence, cryptography, and physics.
Quantum Leaf is essentially a cloud-based programming environment that provides quantum infrastructure as a service. It is intended to complement the Quantum paddle development toolkit that Baidu announcement earlier this year. Based on that of Baidu PaddlePaddle AI Frame, Paddle Quantum enables developers and scientists to quickly create and train models of quantum neural networks for advanced quantum computing applications.
Baidu said that one of the key components of Quantum Leaf is the QCalculate development kit, which comes with a hybrid programming language and a high performance simulator. It allows users to take advantage of pre-built modules and objects to create and run quantum circuits in Quantum Leaf.
Baidu also announced a “cloud-based quantum pulse computing service” called Quanlse, which he says helps bridge the gap between hardware and software by providing a way to design and implement pulse sequences for quantum tasks. Pulse sequences are used to reduce quantum error, which results from the decoherence or loss of information in a system. Quanlse can work with quantum computers based on superconducting circuits or nuclear magnetic resonance, Baidu said.
Holger Mueller, analyst at Constellation Research Inc., told SiliconANGLE that Baidu is trying to establish itself as a partner for enterprise quantum workloads with its new platforms. He said cloud providers were scrambling to position themselves in quantum computing even before the technology was perfected.
“Workload capture doesn’t happen at the hardware level, but rather at the software architecture and platform level,” Mueller said. “Baidu’s announcement around Paddle Quantum is not surprising. The code is to be tested as it is developed and companies will be able to do so on Baidu platforms with Quantum Leaf.
As Mueller points out, Baidu is one of several cloud infrastructure providers offering cloud-based quantum computing services. Amazon Web Services Inc. provides cloud access quantum machines built by D-Wave Systems Inc., IonQ Inc. and Rigetti Computing Inc. through its AWS Braket service. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp.’s Azure cloud has a similar service called Azure Quantum which provides access to quantum computers built by IonQ, Honeywell International Inc. and Quantum Circuits Inc.
Google and IBM Corp. have also built their own quantum machines based on proprietary hardware and made them available to researchers through cloud services.