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Welcome to the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) Quantum Computing User Program (QCUP). The user program is managed by the OLCF to provide access to state-of-the-art quantum computing resources. OLCF provides access to a variety of commercial quantum computing resources for purposes of discovery and innovation in scientific computing applications. Instructions for access to currently available quantum computing resources as well as Project and User Account applications can be found on the User Documentation page.

Quantum System Support

The Quantum User Guide is the definitive source of information about Quantum, and details everything from connecting to running complex workflows. Please direct questions about Quantum and its usage to the OLCF User Assistance Center by emailing [email protected].

QCUP Priorities

The priorities for the Quantum Computing User Program are:

  1. Enable research by providing a broad spectrum of user access to the best available quantum computing systems. Once a user’s intended research has been reviewed for merit and user agreements have been established, the QCUP program seeks to provide users with the opportunity to become familiar with the unique aspects and challenges of quantum computing, as well as to implement and test quantum algorithms on the available systems.
  2. Evaluate technology by monitoring the breadth and performance of early quantum computing applications. How users integrate quantum computing with scientific computing is a question constrained by both application, infrastructure constraints, and the use cases expected for the associated computational system. Through the QCUP program, users can explore new potential computational research applications, and potentially accelerate existing scientific applications using quantum processors and architectures. Research projects supported include advanced scientific computing, basic energy science, biological environmental research, high-energy physics, fusion energy science, and nuclear physics, among others.
  3. Engage the quantum computing community and support the growth of the quantum information science ecosystems. Our quantum computing users range in quantum computing experience from novice to expert; users are from US national labs, universities, government, and industry. User groups utilize quantum computing expertise to investigate diverse application interests, using multiple programming languages, quantum-classical programming, and multiple software environments. Most projects focus on proof-of-principle demonstrations and/or new method development. Some projects focus on application performance and/or benchmarking, and additionally some projects focus on device characterization, verification, and validation.


1) How do quantum computers differ from classical computers? Conventional/classical computing utilizes information storage based on digital devices storing “bits”, which are in either of two distinct states at a given time, i.e. 0 or 1. Quantum computers utilize properties of quantum mechanics, such as superposition and entanglement, in order to exceed certain capabilities of classical computers. Superposition means that the units of information storage can be in multiple states at the same time, and entanglement means the states can depend on each other. In quantum computing systems, information is stored not using “bits”, but instead using “qubits”.

2) What is a qubit? A qubit (pronounced “cue-bit”, a portmanteau of “quantum bit”) is the physical unit of quantum information in quantum computing. It is the quantum version of a bit (itself a portmanteau of “binary digit”), consisting of a two-state quantum mechanical system that can (like a classical bit) exist in one state, |0⟩, or the other, |1⟩, but unlike the classical bit counterpart, a qubit can also be in a quantum superposition of both states.

3) How do I access the OLCF quantum computing resources? Applications for both Quantum Computing projects and user accounts can be found on the user documentation page, here: User Documentation

4) What happens after I apply for access to QCUP? Applications are put through a merit review process, and you will be contacted regarding the status of your application. See the user documentation page for more details (see above)

5) I formerly had access to quantum resources, but my backends/lattices/etc. have disappeared, what do I do? If your account was established prior to July 5th, 2020, and was not through the OLCF directly, your access to quantum resources has been removed, and you will need to re-apply to an OLCF project. Also, if your access to your OLCF project or the project access itself has expired, you will also need to reapply.

6) I applied to a quantum computing resource via the vendor website, but don’t have access; what do I do? Making an account on the vendor website does not enable access to OLCF projects; Access requires an account through an OLCF-affiliated website, and applying for an OLCF quantum account (see above).

System Resources

IBM Quantum

IBM Quantum Services provides access to more than 20 currently available quantum systems (known as backends). IBM’s quantum processors are made up of superconducting transmon qubits, and users can utilize these systems via the universal, gate-based, circuit model of quantum computation. Additionally, users have access to 5 different types of simulators, simulating from 32 up to 5000 qubits to represent different aspects of the quantum backends.

For further OLCF documentation about IBM Quantum, see our IBM Quantum User Guide


IonQ offers access to their cloud quantum computing platform for optimizing, running, and simulating quantum programs. It combines access to their trapped-ion systems via the Quantum Cloud API with web-based tools for inspecting and understanding user’s quantum jobs.

For further OLCF documentation about IonQ, see our IonQ User Guide.


Quantinuum offers access to the Quantinuum trapped ion quantum computers and emulators, accessible via their API and User Portal.
Features include, but are not limited to:

  • N≥20N \geq 20N≥20 qubit trapped-ion based quantum computer
  • All-to-all connectivity
  • Laser-based quantum gates
  • Linear trap Quantum Charge-Coupled Device (QCCD) architecture with three or more parallel gate zones
  • Mid-circuit measurement conditioned circuit branching
  • Qubit reuse after mid-circuit measurement

For further OLCF documentation about Quantinuum, see our Quantinuum User Guide


Rigetti currently offers access to their systems via their Quantum Cloud Services (QCS). With QCS, Rigetti’s quantum processors (QPUs) are tightly integrated with classical computing infrastructure and made available to you over the cloud. Rigetti also provides users with quantum computing example algorithms for optimization, quantum system profiling, and other applications.

A list of available Rigetti systems/QPUs, along with their performance statistics, can be found on the Rigetti Systems Page.

For further OLCF documentation about Rigetti, see our Rigetti User Guide

Quantum & Classical Hybrid Allocations

The OLCF is pleased to offer researchers the opportunity to obtain both quantum and classical computing resources as part of the same project. Projects that seek to compare quantum and classical computing approaches, algorithms, and implementations are encouraged. In addition, projects that look to make use of quantum computing to attack parts of a larger problem while using classical computing to attack others are also sought.

Proposers will need to submit proposals to each program, but can refer to the corresponding proposal in the other program throughout each proposal.

Proposals to the hybrid program will be evaluated, reviewed, and allocated together.

Apply for a DD allocation AND a QCUP allocation here:

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