You will soon be able to hire your very own quantum computer from Amazon

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

AWS has made a big move in announcing a new service whereby quantum computers can be hired on a subscription basis.

Naturally, quantum computers remain a very niche – not to mention hugely expensive – proposition, with still a very long way to go in terms of developing the tech. However, there’s no shortage of customers wanting to experiment with the power of quantum computing, Amazon observes.

And the new AWS Braket service, revealed at the re:Invent 2019 conference, is a way to do exactly that, plus it comes alongside a raft of other measures aimed to drive and accelerate the development of quantum computing in general.

Braket is described as fully managed AWS service which enables the likes of scientists or developers to use computers from big quantum hardware providers, including the likes of D-Wave (the first quantum computer manufacturer), IonQ, and Rigetti.

While a commercially viable quantum computer is still the stuff of dreams, with a number of huge technical hurdles in the way, progress in the field of quantum engineering is being made quickly.

And while many businesses want quantum computing right now, with Braket, customers can realistically make a start in the field, and more specifically identify how quantum computers might benefit their operations.

Amazon’s Braket service will give customers a single development environment in which they can build quantum algorithms using a developer toolkit, and test them on simulated quantum computers, and different quantum hardware architectures.

Braket is actually available now in preview form, and you can sign up for the service right here.

As to the cost of the service, Amazon notes that pricing will vary according to the hardware provider chosen, and you’ll only pay for the time which you use with the quantum computer. No specific figures have been put forward yet, and Amazon says public pricing will be revealed when the service launches in its full form.

Help is at hand

Of course, quantum computing is a technically demanding field, and so Amazon notes that help is at hand in the form of the Quantum Solutions Lab. The Lab connects customers with Amazon’s quantum computing experts in order to help identify how their business might benefit from the tech, and also to collaborate on programs to figure out and test quantum algorithms.

The quantum computing initiatives don’t stop there, though, with Amazon also announcing the AWS Center for Quantum Computing (which will be based at Caltech). The idea here is to combine the knowledge of Amazon’s aforementioned experts with top academic research institutions in order to push forward developing new quantum computing technologies and more powerful hardware.

Note that there are rival cloud-based quantum computing efforts out there already, including Microsoft’s Azure Quantum offering.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).