Quick Quantum Quips: Demonstrating quantum’s value to customers is top of mind early in 2020

Welcome to TBR’s monthly newsletter on the quantum computing market: Quick Quantum Quips (Q3). This market changes rapidly, and the hype can often distract from the realities of the actual technological developments. This newsletter will keep the community up to date on recent announcements, while stripping away the hype around developments.

For more details, reach out to Stephanie Long or Geoff Woollacott to set up a time to chat.

February 2020 Developments

In February, developments in the quantum computing market centered on customer proof points. Quantum computing development is happening swiftly, and demonstrating value to customers is an essential way in which quantum vendors can begin the monetization process. However, TBR notes that, often, the commercialized use cases vendors tout remain stuck in the developmental phase.

  1. Cambridge Quantum Computing added IBM as its newest investor in February. IBM and Cambridge Quantum Computing have a long history in partnership, as Cambridge Quantum Computing was one of the first quantum vendors to join IBM’s Q Network back in 2018. Quantum software and quantum machine learning are two of the highlights of Cambridge Quantum Computing’s portfolio, which pair well with IBM’s superconducting hardware capabilities and stand to diversify IBM’s capabilities and therefore accelerate monetization.
  2. D-Wave partnered with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to promote training and awareness around quantum computing. Leadership and relevant personnel at DEWA attended a three-day training on quantum capabilities offered by D-Wave and also worked with D-Wave to identify some vertical-specific challenges they foresee with quantum computing rollout. TBR believes the adoption of quantum computing will likely be vertical specific, and power resources are a likely second-tier vertical. Initial vertical adoption is most likely to be seen in government and financial services.
  3. Scotiabank, in partnership with Xanadu, is investing in the development of its quantum computing capabilities. Scotiabank leverages a quantum algorithm developed by Xanadu called Monte Carlo in conjunction with its software suite to simulate trading scenarios the bank often encounters, and Scotiabank reports a 1,000-fold increase in calculation speed coupled with increased accuracy of outcomes. Xanadu and Scotiabank are both Canada-based firms.
  4. Xanadu received $3.3 million in funding from the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) foundation. The funding will be used to take Xanadu’s photonics-based quantum computing systems from development to general availability in the cloud. Due to this investment, Xanadu expects to demonstrate the commercial usefulness of quantum computing by 2022.
  5. Intel continues its work on a cryogenic quantum computing control chip, which it calls Horse Ridge. Similar to Intel’s goal in the classical computing world, innovation on Horse Ridge is geared toward eliminating some of the complexities of computing with proprietary chips in the quantum computing world, and scalability of qubits is a key focus of these developments as a result. TBR notes that while Intel has made the development of Horse Ridge public knowledge and continues to report on its progress, these quantum control chips remain in the developmental phase. Part of the significance of Horse Ridge is that Intel simplified the control electronics necessary within a quantum system. In doing so, Intel effectively replaced the bulky instruments of a quantum system that are relatively impractical at scale with an integrated system-on-chip, which is expected to speed up the setup time as well as simplify scalability. To do this, Intel effectively has moved the controls closer to the qubits themselves. By moving the controls closer to the qubit, Intel has significantly reduced the number of wires into and out of the cryogenic refrigerator, and this is a key to the milestone Intel is working to reach.

If you would like more detailed information around the quantum computing market, please inquire about TBR’s Quantum Computing Market Landscape, a semiannual deep dive into the quantum computing market. Our latest version published in December.

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