The quantum transition of OVHcloud |

The head of quantum computing at OVHcloud Fanny Bouton. (Photo: OVHcloud)

Techno Without Blind Spots examines current technologies, meets the minds behind these innovations, and explores the digital tools available to Quebec businesses. In this section, you can understand today’s trends to be prepared for tomorrow’s trends.

TECHNO WITHOUT blind spots. For OVHcloud, the cloud computing sector is ideal to occupy a prominent place in the quantum computing ecosystem. But we still have to prepare the ground.

Some technological disruptions, such as with smartphones, come almost without warning. Others, like the conquest of the moon, are announced well in advance. Quantum computing falls into this second category.

This computing realm, where computers are no longer limited by the 0s and 1s of traditional computing, promises ten times the computing power, which is particularly the dream of companies that have a great need for simulation and optimization, such as: B. Pharmaceutical companies looking for new molecules.

A natural alliance with the cloud

“We’ve been interested in quantum computing since 2021,” notes Fanny Bouton, quantum manager at cloud service provider OVHcloud, which has been running a data center in Beauharnois near Montreal for more than 10 years.

Initially, the company decided to dedicate part of its startup accelerator, the OVHcloud Startup program, to this project, but in recent months it has taken a big step forward. “We realized that we can go further, both in terms of computers and software that we can put in the cloud,” explains the man who is traveling through Canada this week, specifically to visit Quebec’s quantum ecosystem.

“Quantum computers are complex and expensive, so not everyone will be able to afford them. Deployed in the cloud, any company can rent them by the hour,” continues Fanny Bouton. In addition, most of OVHcloud’s competitors, such as Google and AWS, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, are also investing in quantum computing.

In Quebec, later this year, the Quebec Digital and Quantum Innovation Platform (PINQ²) will also power the “Quebec Quantum Computer,” based on IBM’s 127-qubit Quantum System One architecture.

OVHcloud, in turn, announced last year the acquisition of a quantum computer from the French company Quandela, offering access to a Pasqal quantum computer and offering various quantum computer emulators that allow its customers to develop and test quantum computing algorithms on classical computers.

“Our strategy is to work with as many suppliers as possible and to offer as many types of quantum computers as possible, such as neutral atom quantum computers and photonic quantum computers,” continues Fanny Bouton.

development of the ecosystem

Offering computers and emulators is one thing, but customers still need to be willing to use them. Many companies are still wondering how to approach artificial intelligence, so quantum computing, which could take years to surpass classical computing, is still low on their priority list. Development tools are also still rare and employees who can use them are all the more rare.

In particular, to speed up the adoption of quantum computing, OVHcloud intends to create training courses that could be launched as early as the beginning of the school year. “There will be three levels of training, allowing students or workers to train themselves to understand how quantum computers work and learn to program using emulators,” explains Fanny Boutin.

The company also plans to offer students free access to emulators and continues to rely on quantum technology with its accelerator. “We need more companies developing software for quantum technology,” she says.

quantum uncertainty

Companies like OVHcloud, which today rely on quantum technology, face another major challenge. Even though many experts are predicting that this new branch of computing will be the next big disruptive technology, doubts remain. Currently, quantum computing offers no real advantage over classical computing. Much more powerful quantum computers with millions of qubits (the core unit of quantum computing) are needed for this technology to be truly breakthrough. And there is no guarantee that this will ever be the case.

“Indeed, we’re not sure,” admits Fanny Bouton, who does however point out that there is certainly a lot more optimism than pessimism at the moment compared to quantum.

For the latter, however, the way to get there is just as important as the destination. For example, the mathematical work necessary to turn companies’ algorithms into quantum algorithms could improve current software, even without these future computers.

“It’s a bit like space exploration in the 1960s,” Fanny Bouton continues. The goal was to get to the moon. But even if we hadn’t been there, everything that was developed around it, such as the microwave oven, would have stayed with us.”

Jillian Snider

Extreme problem solver. Professional web practitioner. Devoted pop culture enthusiast. Evil tv fan.

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