Can Linux be run on a quantum computer?

IBM Q quantum computer

Many may think that there may be a "Quantum Linux" that can run on the future machine: the quantum computer. Some believe that it is so flexible and adaptive that it can be done. But the answer to the question in the title is much more complex, and the truth is that you may not like the answer at all.

La quantum computer It will radically change the paradigm of computing as we know it today, and that means changing the way it is programmed, other operating systems, and everything you have learned so far. A change that will be worthwhile given the enormous potential that these machines can bring, and not only in terms of computing power, but also to help understand quantum physics itself.

The answer to the question is NO. You cannot run Linux, nor other operating systems like macOS, FreeBSD, Windows, etc., on a quantum computer. Then? Does that mean that the advent of quantum computing will be the end of today's operating systems?

Well, the first thing to clarify that the quantum computer still has a long way to go to improve, many barriers to overcome, some things to polish, and there is still time. Therefore, current computation and operating systems will follow with us for many more years.

Current quantum computers are quite crude in terms of size, they are also difficult to program and in some cases require very powerful cooling to keep certain elements at temperatures well below 0ºC. Something that it should take away the idea that there is in the short or medium term a computer in homes and they won't even be in some companies.

What will appear are quantum machines as one more cloud service, that is, a QCaaS (Quatum Computing as a Service). As you currently use the AWS instances, or the IBM cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, etc. That is, some companies that need a higher processing capacity, will be able to access this type of machine as a service in the future.

In other words, you will connect With a client to said quantum computer, you will load the computational processes into it so that they are processed quickly, taking advantage of the capabilities of this type of computation, and the result will be given to you. As is now the case with an IaaS service ...

So there won't be Linux on a quantum computer?

D-Wave quantum computer

No, there will be no linux, nor other known SSOOs, in a quantum computer. What there will be is clients that can run Linux or any other current operating system to connect from it to one of these machines acting as services.

Therefore, as long as quantum computing is not the dominant paradigm and clients with this type of machine are not also replaced (something that so far I do not contemplate), there will continue to be Linux systems, * BSD, Windows, macOS, etc. So, don't worry about Linux, it still has a long life left.

object lesson

If it is a bit complicated to understand, I will tell you an example. For example, D-Wave Systems has created some very interesting quantum computer models. These machines are accessible through an API and using other languages ​​(Python, C ++, Java, MatLab, ...) to program tasks on this machine. This API can be accessed from a host operating system that can be Linux, Windows, etc., running on the machine that acts as a client.

Another example is the quantum computer IBM Q, which can now be accessed via la web that IBM has put at your fingertips and in which you can already perform some tasks to test it. Even if you are using this machine, your operating system is still your usual one ...


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