Chinese Company Launches Origin Pilot (OS) for Quantum Computing

By John Russell

February 10, 2021

Origin Quantum Computing Technology (Origin Tech), based in China, this week launched what’s being called China’s first home-grown operating system for quantum computers. The OS – Origin Pilot – has the potential to improve QC performance efficiency by several-fold according to the company.

Origin Tech is closely aligned with the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Origin Tech co-founders Guang-can Guo and Guo-ping Guo are also director and deputy director, respectively, of the Key Laboratory.

According the company profile (on its website), “[Origin Tech] is Chinese leading enterprise of Quantum Computing and has developed subsidiaries in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenzhen City. Taking the Key Laboratory of Quantum Information of the USTC and CAS as the technology base, Origin Quantum is devoted to the full-stack development of quantum computing. The technical indicators of Origin Quantum’s software and hardware products are domestically advanced and the company has more than 400 intellectual property achievements.”

Relatively few details about the OS have been discussed in the flurry of news accounts following Origin Tech’s announcement on Monday. Here’s an excerpt from the cnTechPost:

“The team developed a quantum image recognition application using a quantum convolutional neural network model, which can transform the image recognition task into multiple quantum lines that are lined up after being encoded with quantum state data. The system is effective in applications that improve the overall utilization of quantum chips and significantly reduce the runtime of quantum applications such as quantum image recognition, the company said.

“The system also supports a variety of quantum computing systems, including superconducting quantum processors, semiconductor quantum processors, ion trap quantum processors, or hybrid quantum processors, enabling access to high-performance quantum workstations with multiple quantum processor cores for users.”

Origin Pilot Operating System Major Functions. Credit: Origin Quantum, The Quantum Computing Report

A brief in the Quantum Computing Report, noted, “[Origin Tech] indicates that the system has a number of unique features including parallel execution of multiple quantum computing tasks, automatic qubit calibration, and unified management of quantum computing resources. The company’s goal with this operating system is to make quantum computer operations more efficient and stable. It is expected that this operating system will be used with the Origin Quantum Cloud Service which they announced last year. Additional information about Origin Pilot is available on the company’s website here and also in a blog posting (in Chinese) that describes the software in more detail.”

While several quantum computing OS efforts are underway worldwide, this is the first developed in China where it is seen as part of China’s broad effort to achieve technology independence generally and its specific effort to achieve technology leadership in quantum computing. Currently all of the various OS development efforts are somewhat nascent in the sense that the state of the underlying hardware is likewise nascent.

Zeng Bei, a professor of physics with Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and an expert in quantum computing, is quoted in the South China Morning post, “Yes, people are trying to make an operating system, borrowing the idea of classical calculating, but actually at this stage we don’t actually need them because the key part is the underlying hardware.”

Link to South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3121248/chinese-company-origin-develops-system-software-quantum

Link to cnTechPost: https://cntechpost.com/2021/02/09/origin-pilot-chinas-first-quantum-computer-operating-system-released/

Link to the Quantum Computing Report: https://quantumcomputingreport.com/chinese-company-origin-quantum-announces-its-own-quantum-operating-system/

Feature art: Pictured is a 16-qubit superconducting quantum chip designed, fabricated, and tested at MIT and Lincoln Laboratory.

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