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Quick Quantum Quips: Cloud players are now looking for a piece of the quantum pie

The quantum market changes rapidly, and the hype can often distract from the realities of the technological developments. In our new monthly newsletter, Quick Quantum Quips (Q3), TBR will brief readers on the latest market announcements, stripping that hype to dig deeper into how recent events will impact the market as a whole. To schedule a time to chat with Analyst Stephanie Long about any of the insights below, contact her at [email protected].

DECEMBER 2019 DEVELOPMENTS:

  • D-Waveunveiled a partnership with NEC to bring hybrid quantum computing capabilities to market. Simply put, this partnership merges D-Wave quantum capabilities with NEC’s classical computing portfolio. On a deeper level, it provides D-Wave with a $10 million investment by NEC and access to the Japanese market, while NEC can provide its domestic market of Japan with a local alternative to quantum offerings similar to those of Fujitsu.
  • IBM announced the public availability of a quantum system allowing for pulse access, which is unique because it provides users with increased control compared to more traditional gate-level control. This development is in conjunction with a new version of Qiskit, and IBM Quantum Experience members have public access to this new capability. Pulse access provides users with an in-person feel to their quantum computing experience. Because of the delicate and expensive nature of quantum systems, they are currently available only via the cloud.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS), in response to Microsoft Azure Quantum, unveiled Amazon Braket (currently only a preview of the offering), which is Amazon’s initial attempt to turn quantum computing into an easily accessible cloud service. Currently, only AWS corporate accounts will have access to the service, and access will be granted to systems from AWS partners D-Wave, Rigetti and IonQ. Like offerings from IBM and Microsoft, this cloud offering will provide a hybrid computing model for customers that will provide choice of underlying quantum architectures abstracted from the software programming. Innovations at the hardware level will not impede the ongoing software development or hedge customers’ and cloud providers’ bets on the technology.
  • Russia entered the quantum arms race this month, as Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov announced that Russia will invest $790 million into basic and applied quantum research over the next five years. The primary goal is for the country to build its own working quantum computer, with secondary goals of developing algorithms to run on this system to mine databases and create highly secure communication networks. The country is behind major players China and the U.S. in terms of the number of government initiatives that it has made public, but TBR believes Russia has likely been investing in the technology prior to making this announcement. Still, this is the first major public quantum announcement by Russia to date.
  • Accenture opened a NanoLab in Colombia designed to provide local Accenture customers with access to emerging technologies, including AI, robotics, blockchain and quantum computing. TBR believes that because Accenture’s quantum services play is funded by early adopters to jointly develop capabilities, increasing exposure of customers to the technology can increase interest in quantum computing overall as well as funding once more customers are able to uncover the advantages they can employ through such a relationship with Accenture.

If you would like to receive 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.

Quick Quantum Quips: Hardware entrants gain VC funds while established innovators partner across architectures to secure a place in the broader quantum ecosystem

The quantum market changes rapidly, and the hype can often distract from the realities of the technological developments. In our new monthly newsletter, Quick Quantum Quips (Q3), TBR will brief readers on the latest market announcements, stripping that hype to dig deeper into how recent events will impact the market as a whole. Contact Stephanie Long ([email protected]) or Geoff Woollacott ([email protected]) to schedule a time to chat on any of the insights below.

November 2019 developments:

  1. Microsoft partnered with IonQ and Honeywell, which will provide the foundational quantum hardware for Microsoft’s Azure Quantum cloud. This was a major announcement in the quantum computing space in terms of real-world application of the technology. Microsoft can now tie its traditional cloud capabilities in with quantum offerings, addressing customer demands for a hybrid computing and flexible quantum experience. TBR notes that IonQ and Honeywell both focus on trapped ion quantum computing, suggesting Microsoft deliberately chose these vendors for their unique hardware capabilities. Partnerships in the quantum space have been ramping up in general, especially between hardware and software players, as these vendors take lessons from classical computing speedbumps and streamline their processes for the quantum era.
  2. Fermilab launched a new Institute for Quantum Science, reaffirming the U.S. government’s interest in leveraging the technology for various uses. Fermilab is more formally known as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and has been investing in particle physics and accelerator technology for more than 50 years.
  3. IBMcontinues to pursue its cross-technology strategy to partner for accelerated innovation. We have seen this strategy play out for IBM in various markets, including blockchain and AI with Watson. Most recently in the quantum space, IBM unveiled a partnership with the Unitary Fund to jointly develop open-source projects for quantum computing. Additionally, IBM’s recent partnership with IonQ regarding QisKit reinforces IBM’s overall vendor agnosticism despite targeted hardware investments in superconducting quantum computing. The vendor seeks to capitalize on the most lucrative aspects of the larger quantum market.
  4. PsiQuantum is a stealth quantum startup focused on developing quantum hardware. Of  significance is PsiQuantum’s ability to recently raise $230 million while remaining relatively quiet, suggesting the startup’s road map is highly desired by investors. It is likely that the investment PsiQuantum received is one of the largest in the quantum industry to date, making this even more significant. PsiQuantum has offices in the U.K. and the U.S. and is developing a general-purpose silicon photon quantum computer. Its U.S. location in Palo Alto, Calif.,  positions the startup nicely within Silicon Valley, where it can readily access chip manufacturing expertise.  PsiQuantum’s founder, Jeremy O’Brien, is a professor at the University of Bristol and the director for the Centre for Quantum Photonics.
  5. Atos partnered with Zapata with the goal of delivering an end-to-end quantum computing solution by combining Zapata’s Orquestra quantum software with Atos’ Quantum Learning Machine. The solution is expected to be able to address specific vertical market demands. TBR believes the software functionality will be tweaked to enable this vertical differentiation.

That is all for this month’s Quick Quantum Quips from TBR. If you wish to receive 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.

Quick Quantum Quips: A call for quantum supremacy sends ripples through the market

The quantum market changes rapidly, and the hype can often distract from the realities of the technological developments. In our new monthly newsletter, Quick Quantum Quips (Q3), TBR will brief readers on the latest market announcements, stripping that hype to dig deeper into how recent events will impact the market as a whole. To schedule a time to chat with Analyst Stephanie Long or another one of TBR’s quantum analysts about any of the insights below, contact her at [email protected].

October 2019 developments:

  1. Google claimed it achieved quantum supremacy in mid-October, sending ripples through the quantum community. Quantum supremacy is a key milestone many leaders in the quantum computing space have been working toward for years. If true, this milestone would mean that quantum theory has successfully been translated into practical applications, so such a claim has major implications for the industry overall. Google claims its quantum computer was able to perform a truly random number generation in 200 seconds — and that the task would have taken a supercomputer 10,000 years to complete. Further, truly random number generation is necessary for quantum-safe security solutions, making this announcement a multifaceted milestone in the quantum community. Critics of Google’s claim state that it is possible to achieve very similar results in 2.5 days on a supercomputer, although it would require 250 petabytes of storage to do so, potentially diminishing the size of Google’s “milestone” achievement but confirming it as an achievement nonetheless.
  • IBM has been in the news consistently during October for its strong claims against Google’s quantum supremacy claims. TBR believes that the strong opposition signifies the power being the first company to achieve quantum supremacy can hold as well as the damage to the industry an unrealistic claim can cause through false hyping of the technology. The industry already struggles with hype, which pushes C-Suite executives to invest in and expect quick results from a technology that is meant for the long game, and skewed claims only stand to increase the negative impacts of the hype. As such, IBM has made a significant effort to minimize the hype surrounding Google’s announcement to reveal the complete facts surrounding the achievement.
  • IonQ received its latest round of funding in October — to the tune of $55 million. Samsung and a sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates led the funding this round, while Google, Amazon and New Enterprise Associates re-upped their commitments from earlier funding rounds. The investments in IonQ are significant, as the list includes some potential competitors such as Google. TBR notes that Google is investing in superconducting quantum computing, which presently leads the charge in terms of advancements. However, IonQ’s theory of trapped ion quantum computing is unique in that it does not require cryogenically cold environments to function, making its approach seem more realistic in that it would have broader, more practical commercial applicability. TBR believes Google’s investment in IonQ demonstrates its strong cash position and focus on the applied uses for quantum over being wedded to any particular hardware structure. Google, like many enterprises, is more focused on application exploration rather than the sale of quantum systems.

  • In a true demonstration of the sheer power quantum computing can unleash, customers are jumping on the innovation train to accelerate the development of both the technology and related skills. Airbus announced that it has compiled a list of leading experts to act as judges for its quantum computing competition. The Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge launched earlier this year and is designed to encourage experts and those interested in quantum computing to tackle some of the more complex computational problems for aerospace. All proposals needed to be received by Oct. 31 and are now being reviewed by the team of judges that Airbus compiled. Jury members come from all geographies and from both industrial and academic organizations, including QC Ware, Horizons Quantum Computing, the University of Waterloo, the University of Technology Sydney, QuSoft, the University of California and more. The announcement is significant because a commercial enterprise is recognizing the value quantum can bring to its business and displaying an eagerness to contribute to the advancement of the quantum ecosystem.
  • QC Ware unveiled the list of speakers for its upcoming quantum computing event, Q2B. The event will take place in California in December. Program details can be found at the link provided.

If you would like your company’s announcement featured in an upcoming Q3, contact Geoff Woollacott to coordinate a conversation.