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AWS, Microsoft and other IaaS providers have jumped on the quantum computing bandwagon as they try to get ahead of the curve on this emerging technology.

Developers use quantum computing to encode problems as qubits, which compute multiple combinations of variables at once rather than exploring each possibility discretely. In theory, this could allow researchers to quickly solve problems involving different combinations of variables, such as breaking encryption keys, testing the properties of different chemical compounds or simulating different business models. Researchers have begun to demonstrate real-world examples of how these early quantum computers could be put to use.

However, this technology is still being developed, so experts caution that it could take more than a decade for quantum computing to deliver practical value. In the meantime, there are a few cloud services, such as Amazon Bracket and Microsoft Quantum, that aim to get developers up to speed on writing quantum applications.

Quantum computing in the cloud has the potential to disrupt industries in a similar way as other emerging technologies, such as AI and machine learning. But quantum computing is still being established in university classrooms and career paths, said Bob Sutor, vice president of IBM Quantum Ecosystem Development. Similarly, major cloud providers are focusing primarily on education at this early stage.

“The cloud services today are aimed at preparing the industry for the soon-to-arrive day when quantum computers will begin being useful,” said Itamar Sivan, co-founder and CEO of Quantum Machines, an orchestration platform for quantum computing.

There’s still much to iron out regarding quantum computing and the cloud, but the two technologies appear to be a logical fit, for now.

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