In an announcement entitled “Behind the Scenes of a Major Quantum Breakthrough,” US-based Fortune 100 company Honeywell has announced its plans to launch the world’s most powerful quantum computer.
“There are a number of industries that will be profoundly impacted by the advancement and ultimate application of at-scale quantum computing,” said Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions, said in the statement. These could range from faster and more precise software for financial institutions, to accelerated drug development for pharmaceutical companies.
In 2019, Google was the first company to officially confirm its quantum supremacy breakthrough, as cited in an article in Nature. In the article, Google claimed that its 54-qubit Sycamore processor only needed 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would have taken the world’s most powerful supercomputer, which was produced by IBM, 10,000 years to compute.
Qubits, or quantum computing bits, process information in a way that takes advantage of the properties of quantum physics. Used as a metric, quantum volume considers the number, connectivity and low error rate of qubits.
“That would mean the calculation, which involved generated random numbers, is essentially impossible on a traditional, non-quantum computer,” explained The Verge.
After the announcement, IBM disputed Google’s claims, going back and forth with the internet search giant to downplay the accomplishment. IBM argued that its computer would actually be able to complete the task in 2.5 days, rather than thousands of years.
Meanwhile, over the past few years, dozens of Honeywell engineers, software developers and scientists have been working quietly in the background, developing quantum computers along with algorithms to solve customers’ problems.
“Thanks to a breakthrough in technology, we’re on track to release a quantum computer with a quantum volume of at least 64, twice that of the next alternative in the industry,” the company posted in a statement. “We have demonstrated our quantum charge coupled device (QCCD) architecture in a scientific paper. That major technical breakthrough accelerates quantum capability.”
“That means the world will be able to begin undertaking problems that were impractical to tackle with traditional computers.”
Honeywell is partnering with Microsoft through the Azure Quantum platform, allowing users to use Azure’s computing resources while being able to access Honeywell’s quantum computer. JP Morgan Chase also wants to use the company’s quantum computing solutions to support its customers in the financial services sector.
“Quantum computing will enable us to tackle complex scientific and business challenges, driving step-change improvements in computational power, operating costs and speed,” said Honeywell chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk. “Materials companies will explore new molecular structures. Transportation companies will optimize logistics. Financial institutions will need faster and more precise software applications. Pharmaceutical companies will accelerate the discovery of new drugs.”
Honeywell explained that enterprise partners may choose to work with the company directly to use the computer or through other ecosystem companies that may develop quantum algorithms and software.
The quantum computer will be on the market by mid-2020.
Robert Scott Lazar