This software lets you dip your toes into quantum computing for free

One thing is certain about the future of complex computing: it will be quantum. This futuristic technology is capable of completing tasks in minutes that traditional computers would take years to complete. It’s so powerful that it poses a real threat to things like passwords and crypto (opens in new tab). Experts are even warning of a quantum apocalypse (opens in new tab) as quantum computing could easily disrupt our conventional security standards.

Currently, quantum computing is mostly reserved for those who can afford it, which are typically not individuals. Instead, it is mainly limited to large corporations and universities conducting research using extremely powerful and expensive quantum mainframes. There are some very basic quantum personal computers you can buy (opens in a new tab), but they’ll cost more than your dream PC gaming setup and probably be half as useful to you. If you’re looking to dabble in quantum, even if it’s just to see if quantum would work for you, there aren’t many options.

Quantum Brilliance (opens in new tab) is an Australian startup that aims to make quantum more accessible to a wider range of users without the need for a dedicated quantum computer. Quantum Brilliance aims to move away from the current mainframe model towards smaller quantum accelerators that can run at room temperature and without complex lasers. These are far less powerful than the 127-qubit IBM quantum monstrosity (opens in new tab), but also much handier. You do this with diamonds. I’m not kidding, and it’s almost as magical as it sounds.

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It is actually the defect in the diamond crystal’s lattice composition that makes them useful. These diamonds have an extra nitrogen atom and no carbon atom, giving them a nitrogen vacancy center. These can be used as a qubit in quantum computing, which can also be manipulated as a room temperature. While the end result isn’t as impressive as a giant quantum mainframe, it’s also much more manageable. This is a neat way to achieve those server-sized quantum accelerators.

Qristal (opens in new tab) is a freely available software development kit based on Python and C++ that should run on almost any computer. Applications developed in Qristal can initially be run on quantum simulators and will one day be tested on real quantum accelerators.

If you can’t wait, the Qristal emulator (opens in a new tab) mimics these Diamond Quantum Accelerators and can run these applications too. It gives developers the ability to test their algorithms and can even tell them how many qubits their task would require to do a better job than their current traditional computers. This can also run on classic hardware, cloud services, or on high-end arrays. What it can achieve depends on the hardware powering it at the time, and this gives people a chance to dip their toes.

Qristal and its emulator are scheduled for a full release in 2023. At the moment Qristal can be found here on github in Open Beta (opens in new tab). Quantum Brilliance encourages interested parties to join the project and try things out. If you’ve been wanting to dip your toes into the quantum realm, this is a great opportunity without needing any diamonds of your own.

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