Quick Quantum Quips: Investments in componentry accelerates

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 keeps 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.

December 2020 Developments

Quantum componentry is of rising importance in the quantum computing ecosystem as vendors seek to not only achieve economic advantage but also to create a quantum system that can be scaled for commercial use. Recent investments in the quantum space suggest a preference for homegrown quantum solutions in the European Union (EU), prompting vendors not based in the EU to increase their local presence to capitalize on this regional trend. Startups continue to emerge to capitalize on a piece of what promises to be a lucrative market while vertical-specific nonquantum vendors innovate around quantum to improve their own offerings for end customers.

  1. Intel launched Horse Ridge II, the second generation of its quantum computer controller. Horse Ridge II improves on its predecessor’s scalability and flexibility. Scalability is currently a key challenge most vendors in the quantum computing market face as they struggle with scaling qubit volume to achieve economic advantage as well as scaling the volume of systems. These systems are very nascent, the componentry is complex and it takes a team of scientists and engineers to create a single system. This is not a scalable model, but vendors such as Intel continue to work to simplify components and, in some cases, even outsource component manufacturing to make it possible.
  2. Phasecraft was founded in 2018 and is an emerging quantum computing player in the market. The vendor recently received £3.7 million in seed funding led by venture capital firm LocalGlobe, bringing its total funding since its inception to £5.5 million. Phasecraft has existing partnerships with Google and Rigetti and aims to leverage its expertise to bridge the gap between hardware and applications. Phasecraft currently employs 10 people.
  3. ColdQuanta was one of six finalists out of 80 participants in NASA Entrepreneur’s Challenge, winning $100,000. The purpose of the competition was to promote the development of and experimentation with new technologies and devices to advance NASA’s science exploration goals. ColdQuanta’s proposal was to leverage its cold atom technology to create a compact quantum gravity sensing device that could be deployed on a satellite or shuttle to monitor and map the Earth’s resources and assist in the assessment of natural disaster damage. While the challenge was not specific to quantum computing, the development of quantum devices further increases visibility of quantum technology’s capabilities beyond just computation.
  4. Microsoft is increasing its EU presence through initiatives in Denmark, which TBR believes will prove advantageous as the EU has shown a desire to fund locally sourced quantum technologies. While Microsoft’s investments in the region go far beyond quantum computing and the company’s most recent announcement is tied specifically to Denmark’s sustainability initiatives, we believe there will be benefits to Microsoft’s quantum computing arm. Microsoft currently has over 1,000 employees in Denmark and has invested in a quantum computing research lab in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark.
  5. AT&T, in conjunction with Purdue University, has developed a testbed for 5G research that leverages 5G millimeter technology and quantum cryptography to improve network security. Vertical-specific innovation such as that coming out of AT&T around quantum-safe networking security is increasing as industries seek to uncover ways to coexist with emerging disruptive technology such as quantum computing. While the primary goal of AT&T’s quantum research investments is to use the resulting technology internally, TBR believes it is likely that in the long term, the vendor may also turn its discoveries into a marketable solution.

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, focuses on the software layer of quantum systems.

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