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IBM Quantum offers incremental improvements to commercializing exponential technology

Two of IBM’s core quantum offerings are of particular interest, as each is indicative of the growing market interest in becoming quantum ready and in trialing different prototypes ahead of the development of commercial-grade quantum computing capabilities.

Will the quantum computing investment summer of 2021 continue?

Volume of information being released around quantum initiatives leads TBR to believe the so-called quantum winter has passed

Last year the demand for agile solutions to persistent global challenges helped raise awareness of quantum computing’s potential. Investors took notice, as the quantum computing industry saw unprecedented backing from investors and progress in alliances around innovation, commercialization and workforce development. TBR believes this uptick in enterprise interest in quantum potential will continue throughout 2022.

In 2021 we saw some of the main hardware players continue to hit development road map milestones, new entrants in the market, and increased commitment to the technology stack, all of which we discuss further in our recently published 4Q21 Quantum Computing Market Landscape. While intimidating performance development gaps remain, the amount of funding that has been committed to the industry has provided clarity in a critical ingredient of innovation.

To access the entire 4Q21 Quantum Computing Market Landscape or speak with our subject-matter experts on quantum’s impact on your business, sign up for a 60-day free trial of TBR Insight Center™.

Additional developments highlighted in our recent 4Q21 Quantum Computing Market Landscape include:

  • Rigetti, the only pure play superconducting quantum computing startup, announced plans to become a public company via Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC), Supernova Partners Acquisition Company II Ltd. As is customary with SPAC acquisitions, the deal will result in Rigetti receiving a massive cash infusion of $358 million, plus additional investor funds and $100 million in Private Investment via Private Equity. Rigetti would be the second company to go public, after IonQ, which went public in October. The $458 million Rigetti is to receive from this SPAC deal would well position the company to refocus on R&D objectives and invest in the system development race. To do so, the company would need to hire aggressively, as the talent pool that has the capability to lead and contribute to quantum system development is extremely limited. Based on the timeline of the IonQ deal announcement to execution, TBR predicts Rigetti will become public in May or June 2022.
  • It seemed to only be a matter of time until Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched its own initiative to build a quantum computer. In October the cloud computing division announced it has built and operationalized AWS Center for Quantum Computing, located in Pasadena, Calif., officially launching AWS into the quantum computing race. AWS plans to build its quantum computers based on the superconducting architecture, positioning it to compete directly with IBM, Rigetti and Google. AWS has teased its intent to build a quantum computer hosted on Amazon Braket, its quantum computing resource provisioning service via AWS Cloud, and has released several quantum research papers, most notably one regarding a new method to build a fault-tolerant quantum computer based on Schrödinger’s cat qubits. The theoretical method incorporates both active and passive quantum error correction to combat the two main types of errors prevalent in quantum computing, bit flip and phase flip errors. It should be noted that, to this point, AWS has not yet realized a full prototype, or at least has not made such progress public.
  • IonQ, a leading vendor in the development of ion-trap quantum computers, made international commercial progress with its partnership with South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company. The two companies plan to codevelop what will be the largest Variational Quantum Eigensolver algorithm run on a quantum system to date. The purpose of the algorithm is to simulate the properties of lithium oxide to improve battery technology used in electric vehicles. This partnership marks the second major alliance in South Korea, after IonQ’s three-year deal with Quantum Information Research Support Center at Sungkyunkwan University. TBR believes this activity is largely a result of co-founder and CTO Jungsang Kim’s strong ties to the country. Kim attended Seoul National University, widely regarded as the top university in the country, before receiving his Ph.D. in physics at Stanford University. In addition to his role at IonQ, Kim is a professor at Duke University and serves as a member of the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee.
  • Quantinuum, the newly minted business combination of Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum Computing, released one of the first true quantum offerings in 2021 in its cryptographic key generator service, Quantum Origin. While relatively narrow in use, the service generates truly random cryptographic keys, something that could previously only be simulated. In January the company announced a deal to make Quantum Origin available within the Strangeworks ecosystem. Strangeworks is attempting to create value in the enterprise space via a quantum ecosystem that allows members to access quantum offerings, software tools and educational services as well as a community of quantum-involved companies.
  • Capgemini and IBM announced a partnership to explore quantum use cases, particularly in the quantum communication and sensing areas, and to launch Capgemini’s Quantum Lab, which has quantum computer facilities in the U.K., Portugal and India. Capgemini will also serve as an IBM hub, meaning IBM will build an on-premises quantum computer for Capgemini, which will effectively expand IBM’s quantum system reach to European customers with lower latency. The deal includes IBM’s latest 127-qubit quantum processing unit, Eagle, which it released in December. 

Quick Quantum Quips: August quantum developments advance multiple rival architectures, with education and standards rising in importance

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 Geoff Woollacott or Jacob Fong to set up a time to chat.

August Developments

The overall quantum market has seen an uptick in announcements and a trickle of introductory articles hitting mainstream media. On the one hand, quantum articles delivered to a broader audience can exacerbate the so-called hype cycle, but on the other hand the articles highlight that ongoing efforts in scientific discovery across the broader quantum landscape are beginning to show promise for delivering commercial-grade quantum computing infrastructure for businesses, academia and governments to use for advantage rather than just for exploration and experimentation with quantum logical constructs. For example, both Honeywell/Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) and Q-Ctrl released research signaling improvements in quantum error correction (QEC), which is crucial to the development of fault-tolerant quantum systems — the aspirational objective — of all quantum systems vendors today. In turn, IonQ announced a reconfigurable multicore quantum architecture (RMQA) that it believes has the potential to increase qubit counts into the triple digits on a single chip. Xanadu made announcements regarding advancements in photonic — or light-based — quantum computing in a form factor the size of a penny that could one day eclipse the early advantage of the superconducting and trapped ion architectures.

IBM hosted a two-day virtual event for academia to discuss the curricula necessary to provide native quantum credentials to those entering the workforce at the dawn of this era in the ever-evolving technology sector. The Hudson Institute’s Quantum Alliance Initiative (QAI) added another partner, Quantum eMotion, to its efforts to create global standards for quantum communications that will be necessary for the scaled utilization of this game-changing compute technology.

Honeywell/CQC and Q-CTRL: Both entities promoted advancements in QEC in an effort to optimize qubit computational accuracy. QEC is a critical tool many quantum system vendors, such as IBM, are investing considerable time and energy in trying to perfect, as it is necessary to achieve fault-tolerant quantum that can address not only noise on stored quantum information but also faulty quantum gates, quantum preparation and measurements. QEC is at the heart of quantum advantages in computation by delivering precise outputs with lower time and cost input. The importance of QEC also indicates that a broad quantum ecosystem is necessary to make the computational potential of quantum a reality.

IonQ made a major announcement in late August about a patent-pending chip design offering tighter ion confinement, improved ion lifetime and reduced ion heating that relies on IonQ’s technological platform, which is called Evaporated Glass Traps (EGTs). The architecture is expected to allow IonQ to scale qubit count on its quantum chips without suffering qubit fidelity performance losses.

Xanadu and imec: Xanadu, a Canada-based quantum computing company, collaborated with Belgium-based fabricator imec around photonic or light computing and has moved to the point of early production. The partnership illustrates the need for a broad ecosystem of quantum adjacent businesses capable of taking lab innovations into scaled production.

IBM Quantum Educators Summit: IBM sponsored a virtual summit Aug. 3-4 aimed at high school and undergraduate educators seeking to learn how to incorporate foundational quantum computing elements into their courses. Of interest to TBR in auditing the conference was the premise put forth by the speakers that the world’s quantum experts are actually quantum immigrants, having come to the field from other academic tracks such as physics and mathematics. As such, the fundamental impetus for the summit was to assist academia in assembling the proper curricula to prepare native quantum professionals for students interested in the growing number of quantum — and quantum-adjacent — professional tracks that will arise as the leading innovators develop fault-tolerant quantum.

Quantum eMotion: Montreal-based Quantum eMotion announced it joined the Hudson Institute’s QAI, which is an international consortium of companies, institutions and academics. QAI seeks to establish policies that will serve as guardrails for quantum as the technology emerges into a mature and mission-critical element of global business and research. A primary focus for the organization is looking at the impact the domain will have on national security and on the economy and how QAI can foster global standards for securing quantum communication. With individual nation states and regions all vying to assure a quantum gravity center and the high value jobs that will come with it, the establishment of these standard protocols has been both a delicate and sclerotic process.

Quick Quantum Quips: July quantum developments encompass the entirety of the ecosystem

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 Geoff Woollacott or Jacob Fong to set up a time to chat.

July Developments

July quantum industry events spanned the full spectrum of the quantum stack. IBM installed its second quantum system internationally with a research center as part of its ongoing collaboration efforts, which are focused as much on skills development as they are on system innovations. Additionally, incremental scientific improvements are occurring across rival technology stacks in the race to achieve fault tolerant quantum computing. PsiQuantum received large cash infusions for its photonics research, Honeywell released papers outlining its high-fidelity single-qubit and two-qubit gates and China outlined a series of breakthroughs that may give analysts pause from a geopolitical perspective.

Lastly, Dartmouth College announced a collaborative research effort on the various materials that can be utilized in the manufacture of qubits. This last announcement, while low in the overall quantum stack, will be critical for manufacturing yields as these rival quantum architectures inch ever closer to viable, economically advantageous systems to apply against real-world intractable problems. 

IBM: Big Blue continued its global quantum expansion with its second international deployment of its flagship quantum computer, IBM System One, in the Kawasaki Business Incubation Center, located just outside Tokyo in Kawasaki, Japan. The deployment is part of a 2019 partner agreement between IBM and the University of Tokyo, and is IBM’s second-ever on-premises quantum installation, following the one it completed for Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute in June.

These international deployments should prove advantageous as IBM improves relations with influential organizations, which will allow IBM to tap into their deep academic talent pools. Another benefit of having closer relations with academic and research institutions is the ability to evangelize the technology and skills development needed to grow the talent pool from the roots up, a strategy IBM has supported for years. The company’s partnerships and recent deployments illustrate how it is tactically executing on the early phases of that strategy.

PsiQuantum: This quantum startup came out of stealth mode last year with a $215 million venture capital investment round with notable investors such as Blackrock and Microsoft, which caught the attention of the quantum industry. PsiQuantum, a quantum computing hardware company that is using photonics as its qubits, has the ambitious goal of creating a 1 million qubit processor — a milestone that is expected to unlock the potential of a universal quantum computer.

In late July PsiQuantum announced another colossal funding round with Blackrock and Microsoft as returning investors in its Series D round that net the company $450 million. In May the company signed a deal with GlobalFoundries to house PsiQuantum’s quantum chip manufacturing inside GlobalFoundries’ fabrication facilities. This partnership is critical as PsiQuantum plans to leverage fabrication techniques used in classical semiconductors being produced today. While the company asserts it has customers in various industries and is providing use-case and algorithm identification services, it has had limited means to produce meaningful revenue without a prototype. While development of a million-qubit processor is still a long way out, the investment provides PsiQuantum additional capital to scale its R&D operations while maintaining significant cash runway.

Honeywell: In September 2020 Honeywell Quantum Solutions introduced its latest 10-qubit ion trap quantum computer, System Model H1. Since then, the company has made strides to improve the fidelity of the system and the overall system performance metric created by IBM, called Quantum Volume (QV). When the system was released, it had a QV of 128, and in March the system reached a QV of 512. In July IBM announced it doubled its QV once again, achieving a QV of 1024. The system averaged a single-qubit gate fidelity of 99.99(1)% and an average two-qubit gate fidelity of 99.72(6)%. The company attributed the improvement to techniques involving real-time error correction by creating a logical qubit out of seven linked ion trap qubits.

China: Three papers on quantum computing and communication achievements of physicists at the University of Science and Technology of China were published in arXiv.org, an open-source archive owned by Cornell University that contains pre-peer reviewed scientific papers. One of the three papers reported that the physicists had successfully transmitted single photons over 300km of fiber using quantum dots. A second paper reported an achievement in photonics where scientists were able to detect 113 individual photons using Gaussian boson sampling (GBS), which was an improvement on the 76 detected photons from previous experiments. The third paper discussed an experiment that built on Google’s 2019 Sycamore demonstration, using a 66-qubit superconducting computer. The paper claims that the sampling problem the quantum computer finished was “2-3 orders of magnitude higher than the previous work on 53-qubit Sycamore processor” in computational difficulty.

Since none of these papers have been peer reviewed yet, it is imperative the results be taken with a grain of salt. However, considering the concealed nature of China’s quantum computing developments, the papers provide a window into the country’s progress. With techno-nationalism and geopolitical tensions peaking, there is a likelihood that in the coming months political action will take place in the West in the form of investment as the quantum race heats up.

Dartmouth: The Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College is launching a three-year initiative that will be led by the school’s Engineering Professor Geoffroy Hautier and include researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Funded by a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the initiative’s focus is to identify various materials that can be used as viable qubits for quantum computing. There are currently a handful of materials being used — depending on the compatibility of their properties with the architectural framework of the device — to create differing qubits, with the synonymous goal of storing quantum information. Some examples of these qubit foundations include Ytterbium ions (ion trap), silicon atom electrons (spin qubit) and photons (photonic), among many more. Research into the raw materials and those that are best suited for production will provide the long-term benefit of improving manufacturing yields at scale.

Quick Quantum Quips: Public investment continues to drive quantum computing development

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 Geoff Woollacott or Jacob Fong to set up a time to chat.

April 2021 Developments:

Activities this month illustrate the burgeoning signs of early quantum commercialization more so than the research discoveries advancing the computational power of quantum architectures themselves would suggest. Microsoft landed a new enterprise partnership; QC Ware established a public military partnership; the University of Maryland furthered its goal of becoming a quantum hub by creating a quantum-focused incubator; and CQC added talent to its rich scientific team. In addition, we highlight infinityQ Technology, which introduced its first quantum computer using what it describes as “quantum analog computing.”

Microsoft: In late April Microsoft announced an early quantum partnership with Ally Financial, the parent company of Ally Bank, to explore quantum algorithm use cases. Through Azure Quantum, Ally will gain access to quantum computing expertise and the ability to upskill its team on specific quantum software development through Microsoft’s quantum development kit.

Near-term enterprise quantum activity will likely continue to look very similar to this type of partnership. While full-scale enterprise quantum applications are still several years away, enterprises will want to begin learning about the fundamental technology, current and anticipated capabilities, and high-level application and integration scenarios specific to their industries and businesses if they intend on capitalizing on early adoption advantages. As we see with the Microsoft-Ally partnership, enterprises are beginning to take the important steps to most effectively utilize the capabilities quantum computing will bring by developing these relationships with quantum vendors and cultivating talent and subject-matter expertise.

Additionally, TBR believes the leading cloud platform and infrastructure providers in enterprise, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and IBM Cloud, will play a large role in quantum computing distribution, as buying and deploying on-premises quantum computers will not always be necessary or practical in use cases that do not have strict low-latency requirements.

QC Ware: The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the primary research and development branch of the Air Force, formed a partnership with QC Ware to use its quantum machine learning algorithm, q-means, to infer unmanned aircraft mission objectives based on the observed flight paths. A core objective of the AFRL has been to facilitate the advancement of key areas of quantum algorithm development such as optimization, machine learning and quantum simulation.

University of Maryland: The University of Maryland is creating a quantum incubator to help nurture early-stage startups that spawn from the university, such as academic spinoffs and companies started by entrepreneurial graduates. Initially budgeted at $25 million, the incubator will presumably provide funding and operational resources such as access to offices and labs, high-speed internet, and networking opportunities for executive advisers, talent and potential customers.

Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC): The U.K.-based quantum startup bolstered its scientific team by naming Professor Stephen Clark as head of artificial intelligence. He transitioned from DeepMind, an AI subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., where he was a senior staff research scientist. DeepMind notably created some of the strongest AI engines with its games Chess and Go, which are well suited for AI experimentation due to the astronomically large number of permutations achievable in a bounded environment. Clark specializes in natural language processing and led a team at DeepMind that was working on grounded language learning in virtual environments. Prior to his work in the private sector, Clark was a faculty member at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.  

infinityQ Technology, Inc.: This Montreal-based, woman-founded and -led quantum startup introduced its first-generation quantum computer, which uses a unique approach the company calls “quantum-analog computing.” The approach falls outside the categories found in other system architectures that use elements of superconductivity or ion-trap technology to reap the benefits of quantum mechanics in computing.

InfinityQ describes quantum-analog computing as using “artificial atoms to exploit the superposition effect and achieve quantum computing capabilities without the error correction and cryogenics tax.” The company reported that the quantum-analog computing approach offers certain advantages, including extreme energy efficiency, a compact form factor and the ability to operate at room temperature — all characteristics that are in direct contrast to the shortcomings of the superconductive quantum architecture. The company claims it has demonstrated the ability to solve the famous traveling salesman problem for 128 cities, compared to the 22 cities that other, presumably quantum, machines have been able to solve.

If you would like more detailed information about the quantum computing market, please inquire about TBR’s Quantum Computing Market Landscape, a semiannual deep dive into the quantum computing market. Our latest edition, published in December, focuses on the software layer of quantum systems.

Atos Named a Leader in the TBR Quantum Market Landscape

“Atos announced today that it has been named a Leader in Technology Business Research Inc.’s (TBR) Market Landscape for Quantum Computing. Atos was identified as a Leader for its ability to advance the exploration and development of quantum algorithms, reflecting its commitment to deliver early and concrete benefits of quantum computing by bringing forth new use cases.” — HPC Wire

Quick Quantum Quips: Vendors seek ways to increase quantum accessibility

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.

February 2021 Developments

As the power of quantum computing becomes more widely understood, accelerating access to quantum technology and quantum-like capabilities has become a key focus of vendors in the industry worldwide. The COVID-19 vaccine has highlighted the value quantum computing can have in accelerating drug discovery, creation, manufacture and distribution once the technology can be fully harnessed. Additionally, direct application of quantum computing exists in climate change, a top global concern, and sustainability, a focus of major corporations.

  1. Quantum Computing Inc. (QCI) unveiled Qatalyst, a quantum application accelerator. The aim of this software-centric offering is to leverage quantum principles with classically trained computer scientists to harness the power of quantum technologies for complex optimization problems such as supply chain and delivery route optimization by bypassing QPUs and leveraging APIs in their place. While Qatalyst is likely to accelerate near-term access to quantum computing capabilities, TBR believes advancements in other quantum computing technologies will surpass it in the long term. Qatalyst and related QPU and CPU resources are all available via the cloud and do not require on-premises resources to access.
  2. Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) partnered with CrownBio and JSR Life Sciences on cancer treatment research. The companies will leverage CQC’s quantum capabilities and CrownBio and JSR’s years of cancer-related research and data to identify multigene biomarkers for cancer treatment drug discovery. It is generally accepted throughout the quantum community that drug discovery will be one of the initial use cases for quantum systems that will be able to achieve economic advantage due to the costly and laborious techniques currently employed in drug discovery. Quantum computing could accelerate this process and reduce the amount of wet-lab research necessary to bring new drugs to market.
  3. IonQ is in early talks to merge with public company DMYT Technology Group Inc., which is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created for the purpose of acquiring an existing company. The merger would enable IonQ to become a public company without going through a lengthy initial public offering. This would be the first U.S.-based pure play quantum computing vendor to go public through a SPAC if it comes to fruition. IonQ is also one of the leading vendors in the trapped ion quantum architecture space, and an IPO would provide the vendor with access to additional capital, which could accelerate its innovation efforts.
  4. D-Wave expanded the availability of its Leap quantum cloud service to Singapore, providing users in the country with real-time access to D-Wave’s Advantage quantum computer, hybrid quantum/classical solvers, and the Quantum Application Environment (QAE).
  5. Microsoft has acknowledged the potential positive impact quantum computing could have on energy, including reducing emissions and power consumption. Further, the research enabled by quantum technologies could lead to discoveries around cleaner energy sources and more efficient electrical power systems. TBR notes there has been an industrywide increase in focus on sustainability so while these acknowledgements by Microsoft of the environmental benefits of quantum computing are not unique, they mesh well with industrywide marketing efforts.

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.

Collaboration is key to the advancement of quantum computing technology

Collaboration is key to the advancement of quantum computing technology

Key Insights

Commercialization is both a challenge and a solution in the quantum space. Commercializing systems will help alleviate some of the anticipated investment shortages as investors want faster ROI than the quantum landscape road map can promise.

Training can help end customers better understand the practical uses for quantum computing, as well as the capabilities of current systems and the approximate timeline of when systems will be powerful enough to meet unique business needs.

TBR’s Quantum Computing Market Landscape, which is global in scope, deep dives into the quantum computing-related initiatives of key players in the space. It lays out the vendor landscape, details current leaders and laggards, and discusses the differing strategies of vendors in the market. The report discusses alliances as well as the tie-ins between quantum computing vendors and their nonquantum computing counterparts. Predictions around use cases and workloads that will benefit initially from quantum computing are explored as well as current customer sentiment around the technology.

Collaboration enables software vendors to purpose-design solutions optimized for each quantum architecture

The rise of quantum components vendors

TBR research shows that quantum components vendors are gaining steam, even though a commercial-grade quantum system has not yet been made available. This is atypical and highlights the fact that the quantum computing market landscape is one in which discoveries are made in tandem across hardware, software and services — unlike the classical computing market. The variety of smaller firms working on quantum computing components indicates that once a commercially viable system is developed, scaling will be faster than if system vendors had to develop all unique components in-house.

Collaboration still has roadblocks

While the quantum community is working to remove communication barriers to increase the speed at which scientific discoveries can take place, there are roadblocks to fully open communication, such as governments incentivizing working locally and imposing barriers to exports such as tariffs. While you cannot place a tariff on thoughts, these types of actions could also hamper collaboration and information sharing.

The race for qubit volume continues

Qubit volume remains the key measuring stick of progress in the quantum computing community, and as a result, increasing qubit volume is a common goal across quantum system vendors’ road maps. However, physical qubit volume alone does not predict success. Achieving an increased volume of logical qubits will be the ultimate way that quantum system performance will improve.

TBR’s Quantum Computing Market Landscape, which is global in scope, deep dives into the quantum computing-related initiatives of key players in the space. It lays out the vendor landscape, details current leaders and laggards, and discusses the differing strategies of vendors in the market. The report discusses alliances as well as the tie-ins between quantum computing vendors and their nonquantum computing counterparts. Predictions around use cases and workloads that will benefit initially from quantum computing are explored as well as current customer sentiment around the technology.

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.