Quantum computing hardware in the cloud: should a computational chemist care?

Alessandro Rossi, Paul G. Baity, Vera M. Schäfer, Martin Weides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the last decade much progress has been made in the experimental realisation of quantum computing hardware based on a variety of physical systems. Rapid progress has been fuelled by the conviction that sufficiently powerful quantum machines will herald enormous computational advantages in many elds, including chemical research. A quantum computer capable of simulating the electronic structures of complex molecules would be a game changer for the design of new drugs and materials. Given the potential implications of this technology, there is a need within the chemistry community to keep abreast with the latest developments as well as becoming involved in experimentation with quantum prototypes. To facilitate this, here we review the types of quantum computing hardware that have been made available to the public through cloud services. We focus on three architectures, namely superconductors, trapped ions and semiconductors. For each one we summarise the basic physical operations, requirements and performance. We discuss to what extent each system has been used for molecular chemistry problems and highlight the most pressing hardware issues to be solved for a chemistry-relevant quantum advantage to eventually emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Quantum Chemistry
Early online date6 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2021


  • quantum computing hardware
  • quantum computing
  • computational chemistry

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