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.
January 2020 Developments
In January, changes in the quantum market revolved around IBM and its partnerships and coopetition with first movers in addition to pushing the first-mover advantage in live quantum computing systems. First, IBM offered a proof point of commercial viability in a partnership with Daimler and later saw top talent leave for IBM customer JPMorgan Chase. Another startup, QCI, entered the market, and the French government, recognizing the strategic importance of the technology, began outlining its investment strategy for quantum investments.
- IBM unveiled a real-world application in the quantum computing space leveraging its quantum computing capabilities. In partnership with Daimler AG, IBM leveraged its quantum computing technologies to create and analyze lithium-containing molecule models as IBM strives to make higher-capacity and faster-charging batteries to bolster the electric car market. The ability to model — not simulate — a molecule will dramatically speed up the drug and material discovery process.
- IBM unveiled a new 28-qubit quantum system at CES 2020. The new system is said to have accomplished IBM’s goal of doubling quantum volume, achieving a score of 32 — up from 16 from last year. To emphasize the potential of quantum computing to speed up development, IBM leveraged its 53-qubit system to improve on the 28-qubit connectivity. The improved hexagonal lattice connectivity structure used in the development of the 28-qubit system was a contributing factor in the system’s ability to meet the quantum volume goal of 32.
- JPMorgan Chase, a current customer of IBM for quantum computing, poached one of IBM’s executives from the group. Marco Pistoia, who worked at IBM for 24 years, most recently led IBM’s quantum computing algorithm team. This departure underscores the challenges talent acquisition and retention will pose in the quantum computing space. Vendors are already working to fight against talent shortages. IBM, in particular, is investing heavily in academia to promote degrees in quantum-relevant fields, but the shortages will persist and talent acquisition and retention will be of rising concern as the technology matures. For further details on this announcement, please check out TBR’s blog post on the topic.
- Quantum Computing Inc., a startup in the space, unveiled a quantum application development platform called Mukai. This is largely in the experimental phase despite the formal announcement, but Mukai is designed to leverage software to improve speed of development of quantum-ready applications.
- France unveiled a framework for its quantum strategy. While many of the details remain undisclosed, likely due to the classified nature of government investments in emerging technologies, France is making formal efforts to invest in and leverage quantum technologies to improve its research capabilities, overall technological development and economic security. The public investment by governments in quantum technology highlights the value quantum technologies can bring and reinforces the eventual power of quantum, even though true commercial use of the technology remains a few years away. It also highlights a degree of fear among countries of creating vulnerabilities if they choose to ignore quantum’s potential. We have seen ongoing investments in quantum from China and the U.S. as well as a variety of European countries making consistent investments in the technology, including the Netherlands and Russia.
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.