Quantum Computing + Colocation + Interconnection = Transformation

The partnership between OQC and Equinix will expand access to thousands of new companies, an important step forward for the quantum revolution

Arun Dev
Ilana Wisby
Quantum Computing + Colocation + Interconnection = Transformation

Any time there’s a new technology that’s fundamentally different from anything that’s come before it, there’s bound to be both excitement about the opportunities and curiosity about how to drive widespread adoption of that technology.

This is where we currently find ourselves with quantum computing. The hype cycle for quantum is now well underway, and for good reason. While conventional computers rely on binary states—represented by either a 0 or a 1—quantum computers can represent every state simultaneously—that is, both a 0 and a 1 at the same time.

For this simple reason, quantum represents something new and different, rather than being just the latest step in the evolution of classical computing. As such, it can help accomplish new and different things. For instance, quantum computers can solve certain highly complex computational problems in a matter of minutes, when even the most powerful supercomputers would take thousands of years to solve the same problem.

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Industry analysts have discussed the possibilities of quantum computing for years now. Today, business leaders are increasingly thinking about how to turn those possibilities into reality. To do this, they must fully understand what quantum computing is, but also understand what it isn’t. For one thing, quantum computers won’t be a direct replacement for the classical computers we have today. Certain use cases can benefit greatly from quantum technology, while others may be better suited to remain on traditional high-performance computers (HPCs). We believe that the future of quantum computing will be realized through integration into existing IT infrastructure, helping users get the best of both worlds.

There are also more practical considerations that put quantum computing adoption out of reach for most businesses today. To start, today’s quantum computers are far too expensive for most companies to build themselves, and far too complex for them to manage. For this reason, new Quantum Computing as a Service (QCaaS) companies such as Oxford Quantum Circuits (OQC) have emerged to help lower the barrier to entry for commercial quantum use cases. By offering services via the public cloud—as in the case of OQC, which makes its services available via the Amazon Braket platform[1]—these companies help make quantum just as accessible as any other cloud service.

However, a public internet-based approach isn’t always the right fit for all quantum computing use cases. To give businesses additional flexibility as they look to unlock quantum computing capabilities, OQC and Equinix are proud to announce they are collaborating to make one of the most powerful quantum computers on the planet available via colocation and interconnection services on Platform Equinix®. The next-generation computer from OQC will be deployed inside the TY11 Equinix IBX® data center in Tokyo. When the computer goes live in Autumn 2023, it will be the first step toward making quantum services available to thousands of Equinix customers in locations around the world.

Image showing a quantum computer from Oxford Quantum Circuits

There are four main advantages to offering QCaaS via a vendor-neutral colocation data center:

  • Greater ease of access and integration
  • Greater control over data security and sovereignty
  • Lower latency to remove performance bottlenecks
  • Access to sustainability innovations

Greater ease of access and integration

One of the biggest challenges businesses face when it comes to getting started with quantum is integrating it alongside their existing digital infrastructure. As previously mentioned, quantum computers will complement existing systems, not replace them. However, the complexity involved with combining two inherently different forms of computing into a single integrated operating environment far outstrips the technical capabilities of most organizations.

Deploying OQC QCaaS inside an Equinix IBX data center creates an abstraction layer that removes quantum complexity for Equinix customers. They can start taking advantage of quantum with the flip of a switch, and it will be just as simple to manage as any other service they may acquire through Equinix.

They’ll have full control to use their quantum services how they want, just as they would if the quantum computer were running inside their own on-premises infrastructure. At the same time, they’ll get the full advantage of robust digital ecosystems of partners and service providers and distributed edge infrastructure on Platform Equinix. In short, they get all the benefits of quantum, while bypassing the complexity of getting started.

Ensure data security and sovereignty 

At this stage in its adoption, many organizations are still only experimenting with quantum computing, which means any data they’re currently moving into quantum systems is essentially test or dummy data. As organizations start pursuing quantum as a true enterprise-grade use case, the question of how to safely use it with real data sets looms large.

This is particularly true because some of the most intriguing use cases for quantum computing—such as optimization of portfolio and risk management in the financial services industry—require the use of extremely sensitive data sets. Most companies wouldn’t want to allow that sensitive data anywhere near a public cloud or internet connection, as they wouldn’t be able to keep it secure at all times.

Equinix Fabric® can provide software-defined interconnection capabilities for customers looking to take advantage of OQC services. This means they can leverage their sensitive data for quantum services without having to place it at risk. In addition, for enterprises concerned with meeting increasingly stringent data sovereignty standards in different jurisdictions, Equinix Fabric is available globally. This means you can move your data from wherever your systems are physically located to the OQC computer without ever giving up control over your data or moving it off of Platform Equinix®.

Remove performance bottlenecks

In many ways, quantum computers can only be as good as the data you feed into them. For this reason, you need to be able to move large data sets into your quantum systems quickly and consistently. Latency can cause performance issues that prevent this from happening.

Let’s take the example of developing a new drug in the pharmaceutical industry. This is a very promising quantum use case that OQC is working on, because pharma development is essentially a series of trial-and-error experiments. Simulating complex molecular reactions allows pharmaceutical companies to cost-effectively identify the most efficacious drug formulation and put it into testing much quicker than they ever could otherwise. However, this entire use case depends on the quantum computer being able to pull in massive volumes of data without delay. Performance bottlenecks caused by latency can keep the benefits of quantum computing just out of reach.

Once again, interconnection via Equinix Fabric helps address this issue. A recent technical benchmark[2] confirmed that Equinix Fabric can offer performance benefits of up to 28x compared to the public internet, helping businesses offset the impact of latency created by physical distance. Since Equinix Fabric is available globally, Equinix customers don’t have to be physically colocated in Tokyo to get latency benefits. In addition, the on-demand capabilities of Equinix Fabric allow customers to easily spin up or turn down connections and change bandwidth speeds as needed.

Access to sustainability innovations

As enterprises think about how to take full advantage of quantum capabilities, they’re simultaneously considering how they can make their operations more sustainable. These organizations are looking to limit emissions across their supply chains, and optimizing digital infrastructure is one key way that they can do that. Many of these organizations have concerns about how quantum will impact their sustainability efforts; since quantum is significantly more powerful for certain use cases, many people assume it must logically require more energy to run.

While it is true there are power requirements involved with bringing a new quantum computer online, being able to scale processes over time increases energy efficiency, more than offsetting the power required to cool the machine. By using OQC QCaaS inside the Equinix IBX data center, customers can start tapping into that efficiency immediately. These efficiency benefits will compound as quantum processors grow more advanced, allowing businesses to accomplish more using the same amount of power.

Quantum can also be used to unlock many new sustainability use cases. One example is modeling the energy state of pulse electrolysis to optimize catalyst usage for green hydrogen production. By significantly increasing the efficiency of the electrolysis process, quantum could help reduce the cost of green hydrogen by 35%. This will be an important step toward making it a viable alternative to fossil fuels on a wider scale.

Image showing a close-up view of a quantum computer from Oxford Quantum Circuits

In addition, accessing OQC quantum services inside an Equinix IBX data center allows customers to take advantage of sustainability innovations developed by Equinix and its partners. Equinix is the first company in the data center industry to commit to becoming climate-neutral by 2030. To help achieve this goal, we’ve set science-based targets (SBTs) to reduce emissions across our global operations.[3] We’re also reached 95% renewable energy coverage globally, working toward our goal of 100% coverage. More than 200 IBX data centers across the world—including TY11—already have 100% renewable energy coverage.

Equinix and OQC share a commitment to reducing emissions across our respective digital supply chains, which is yet another reason we’re well aligned to partner with one another. We look forward to helping each other pursue our shared sustainability goals, while helping our joint customers optimize the potential sustainability benefits of quantum computing.

Interconnection helps put the right data in the right places

The partnership between Equinix and OQC is another example of Equinix Fabric software-defined interconnection making advanced digital use cases available to more companies in more places. For a closer look at the security and performance benefits of Equinix Fabric and how it can help you interconnect seamlessly with thousands of partners, service providers and customers throughout the world, read the guide today.

To learn more about Oxford Quantum Circuits, watch the interview with CEO Dr. Ilana Wisby below.


[1] Amazon Braket

[2] Craig Ledo, “Measuring Performance with Equinix Fabric versus Public Internet”, an ESG Technical Validation commissioned by Equinix. September 2022.

[3] The Science Based Targets Initiative

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Arun Dev Vice President, Digital Interconnection Services
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Ilana Wisby Guest Author: Chief Executive Officer, Oxford Quantum Circuits
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