Equinix preps quantum computing-as-a-service with UK startup

Martyn Warwick
By Martyn Warwick

Mar 17, 2023

  • UK-based Oxford Quantum Circuits is developing quantum computing-as-a-service (QCaaS)  technology
  • It has teamed up with datacentre giant Equinix 
  • The partners plan to make QCaaS available to enterprise users via a Tokyo datacentre

In a world-spanning joint venture, UK company Oxford Quantum Circuits (OQC) is working with US internet connectivity and datacentre specialist Equinix to make OQC’s quantum computing-as-a-service (QCaaS) commercially available to enterprises and organisations around the globe via Equinix’s TY11 Tokyo International Business Exchange (IBX) datacentre. 

The QCaaS will be made available through Equinix Fabric, an on-demand advanced software-defined Equinix interconnection solution that enables users directly, securely, and dynamically to connect to distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on the Equinix platform through a single port. 

As the central component of the joint venture, OQC will install a quantum computer in the TY11 datacentre in Tokyo, Japan. Equinox currently has 11 operational datacentres in Tokyo alone (plus 239 other datacentres in 27 other countries across five continents) and TY11 provides direct access to key internet exchange points, the stock exchange and financial services partners. 

The new initiative will permit companies from around the world to trial and experiment with quantum technology for themselves. Quantum computers are still far too costly for most companies, even the biggest, to be able to afford and build themselves and far too complex for them to manage once such a massively expensive asset is finally up and running. 

That’s why QCaaS is so attractive as a proposition for the enterprise market – companies such as OQC are of great strategic help in lowering the barrier to entry for commercial quantum use cases. 

Dr. Ilana Wisby, CEO of OQC, commented, “The world has been waiting for quantum computing to mature to the point that it can change our lives. Installing quantum computing in Equinix’s world-class TY11 datacentre brings us a step closer to this reality.” 

OQC was spun out of the world-famous Oxford University and specialises in the development of its own ‘Coaxmon’ 3D architecture superconducting circuits, designed to reduce error rates in quantum computers. 

Both companies expect the new facility to be in great demand from businesses and other organisations from a wide range of sectors and industries wanting to experiment with anything from the discovery and development of new drugs through to banking risk management and advanced manufacturing. For further insight, see this Equinix blog.

The move marks the latest step for OQC towards making its technology available via cloud platforms: Last year it housed an eight quantum processing unit (QPU) computer on Amazon Braket (a managed quantum computing service) and made it available to the London region, where it is accessible for three hours each day. 

Research house IDC recently forecast that, by 2026, 95% of companies will invest in new and improved computing technologies that deliver far faster results from highly complex data than is possible with a conventional computer. The OQC-Equinix partnership will help enterprises to differentiate themselves in their chosen fields. 

One of the biggest challenges businesses face when starting involvement with quantum computing is integrating it alongside existing equipment and systems. But with the new solution they will be able to access and exploit globally interconnected digital infrastructure more or less as and when they want, at comparatively low cost and this will help reduce the current high barriers to experimentation with an astonishing new technology that has potential to change the world.

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