31 January 2018
by Chad Rigetti
This past December, the team at Rigetti became the first to solve an unsupervised machine learning problem on a gate model quantum computer. We did this by connecting one of our recent superconducting quantum processors, a 19-qubit system, to our software platform, Forest. This work formally and practically ties together unsupervised machine learning and quantum computing for the first time, and provides a foundation for further breakthroughs in quantum machine learning.
The Rigetti Forest platform running on our 19-qubit system is the most powerful full-stack quantum computing environment available today. The combination of the best hardware and the best software means we have an incredible opportunity to accelerate the development of algorithms, applications, and a broader understanding of how and why to use quantum computers.
Seventy-five years ago, when the information era was in its infancy, the first electronic computers like Collossus and ENIAC took up entire rooms. Only a limited number of people could physically program one of these machines. Even after the development of the Internet, computer programming remained a specialist skill-set for decades. Only in the past decade or two has society really come to view writing software as a skill anyone could — and should — learn.
At Rigetti, we believe the greatest advances and breakthroughs in quantum computing are going to come from you: the emerging quantum developer community. And we believe that programming a quantum computer should also be accessible to anyone who wants to learn. So we recently made our 19-qubit system available on Forest, giving you access to the most advanced full-stack quantum computing environment in the world. Forest enables developers to write and execute quantum software using a quantum-optimized compiler, a software stack for writing hybrid quantum-classical algorithms (PyQuil), and software packages for quantum algorithms (Grove).
Already, researchers around the world are using Forest to train clustering algorithms, perform quantum simulations, simulate quantum chemistry, and benchmark neural networks. While the field is in its infancy, it is undeniable that the quantum era has arrived.
This blog will focus on topics that are relevant to quantum developers. We’ll share updates from our own quantum engineering lab here, research papers from the community, and notable advances and demonstrations of quantum algorithms. We hope you’ll tune in, and try out programming a quantum computer yourself!
When I founded Rigetti Computing, I knew that our objective was to build quantum computers. But we aren’t motivated by the raw technical challenge of building this new technology. Our mission, what drives us on a daily basis, is to build the world’s most powerful computers and help solve humanity’s most important and pressing problems. Quantum computers will enable breakthroughs in fundamental science, impacting how we treat disease, how we generate energy and how we feed people around the world. This isn’t about the next iteration of social media or online advertising; it is about making the world a safer, more just, and more joyful place.
We are thrilled to embark on this mission with you.
Originally published at rigetticomputing.github.io on January 31, 2018.