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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, national rivalries, business restructurings and process innovation heat up

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.

June Developments:

June quantum computing market activities illustrate the growing public sector interest in quantum as both a source of high-paying jobs and a technology vital to a company’s strategic sovereign interests. Legacy technology innovation has always hinged on early funding for “protection of the commons” initiatives, where the funding was essentially for scientific discovery that, once hardened, could be retooled for commercial use cases. Quantum systems are no different in that regard.

Similarly, the Honeywell spin-merger with CQC also enables the new entity to participate in several national initiatives around cybersecurity and national defense by combining U.S. and U.K. firms into one operating unit. Scientific discovery and manufacturing process innovation also merited mention this month as Rigetti announced a chip manufacturing process that it claims will facilitate the manufacture of highly scalable systems of hundreds, if not thousands, of qubits.  

  1. Federated Quantum System (FQS) announced during the G-7 summit that the U.S., U.K., Japan, Canada, Italy, Belgium and Austria will collaborate on a on a satellite-based quantum technology encryption network based on assets being developed by British startup Arqit. Companies from those countries will also join the initiative to help design and test the system. With ransomware attacks bringing cybersecurity to the forefront of the news, this multinational encryption initiative for military communications between allied nations represents encouraging signs for international cooperation that can potentially produce the funding necessary to advance quantum to a point where it is commercially advantageous.
  2. Germany formally announced its quantum data center facility, to be located near Stuttgart and  managed by prominent applied research organization Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The event underscores the strategic importance many nation states place on ensuring a center of gravity within the quantum world within their sovereign borders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a unique political figure in that her formal education is in quantum chemistry. While keeping a watchful eye on quantum developments in the U.S. and China and wanting to maintain and build quantum intellectual property indigenous to Germany, the quantum system is being installed by IBM, which maintains a dominant early lead in the nascent industry. The European Union (EU) has taken a leadership position in establishing policy legislation around data sovereignty. Integral to this installation will be the localization of the data within Germany.
  3. The EU loosened restrictions it had imposed on non-EU nations participating in its quantum research initiatives. Launched in February under the legislative banner Horizon Europe, which calls for funding of 95.5 billion euros in total, the initiative calls for curiosity-driven proposals from the European Research Council. Viewed as strategically important to the overall security of the EU, a month-long parliamentary debate occurred on whether to allow non-EU nations such as the U.K., Switzerland and Israel to participate. The final compromise allows for limited participation by non-EU nations provided they agree to special “assurances” regarding protecting the confidentiality of the technology. This agreement and the wrangling over who can participate underscores the growing political interest in a technology that, once hardened, will radically alter cybersecurity and military weapons systems.
  4. Honeywell and Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) announced a spin-merger combining Honeywell’s quantum assets with those of CQC. An early investor in the ion trap hardware stack, Honeywell will retain a majority stake in the combined entity, which will include CQC’s software stack as well. CQC will remain system-agnostic. Honeywell claims the impetus for creating a stand-alone quantum entity was to facilitate investment from various capital sources that may have been reticent to invest in the operation when it was a wholly owned Honeywell subsidiary. Each entity has been an early leader in the space. In addition to increasing funding opportunities, the combined entity also aims to create a consolidated talent pool of quantum experts at a time when human talent capable of scientific discovery in this domain is in short supply.
  5. Rigetti Computing held an early lead in full-stack quantum development but has struggled lately to keep pace with the investment funding necessary to compete with heavily capitalized firms such as IBM, Google and Microsoft. In June Rigetti announced it had developed a scalable manufacturing design process for quantum chips manufacturing in its fabrication plant in California. Rigetti claims it has a multichip approach that will allow the company to connect multiple identical dies into a large-scale quantum processor. Rigetti alleges connecting multiple smaller dies reduces manufacturing complexity and allows for accelerated, predictable scaling.  

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 next edition, publishing in July, will focus on evolving services and overall market maturation indicators.

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.

Quick Quantum Quips: The quantum industry introduces its first public company

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.

March 2021 Developments:

Quantum developments this month saw IBM score its first on-premises quantum computer deal, Honeywell push the ball forward by achieving a record quantum volume (QV), more newcomers join the IBM Quantum Network, and the first pure-play quantum computing startup to sign a deal to go public.

IBM: IBM announced a partnership with Cleveland Clinic, dubbed Discovery Accelerator, to utilize quantum computing for scientific research and discovery. What makes this partnership particularly unique is that IBM will supply Cleveland Clinic with a quantum machine on premises — a major milestone as the first order for an on-premises quantum installation. Other quantum engagements up to this point have utilized quantum computing through cloud infrastructure providers such as IBM, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Despite the nascency of quantum applications in real-world scenarios, the IBM-Cleveland Clinic partnership makes sense for multiple reasons. For starters, “wet labs” for scientific and novel drug discovery are one of the hypothesized earliest use cases as healthcare organizations have the means to purchase and house the popular superconducting quantum computer architectures, which require extremely cool environments, much like the Pfizer vaccine does, albeit at considerably lower temperatures. Additionally, the practical compatibility of early quantum applications for optimization problems creates large incentives such as increased scientific discovery efficiency, which reduces time & materials and labor costs. Moreover, the sharp increase of investments into the healthcare and quantum industry, catalyzed by COVID-19, put the two industries on a collision course.

IonQ: IonQ officially announced a deal to became the first pure play quantum computing company to go public, via a merger with dMY Technology Group III, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The entity has an estimated combined market cap valuation of $2 billion. It is a significant milestone for the still-nascent quantum computing industry. Notably, however, IonQ did not choose the IPO route in going public, which may indicate wariness to test the public appetite for not-yet-commercially-ready quantum. Additionally, merging with a SPAC has several advantages, including bypassing the arduous IPO process, securing a prequantifiable cash infusion and gaining experienced guidance from leadership of the SPAC.

Honeywell: On the hardware system side, Honeywell achieved a QV of 512, a new record in the industry, on its latest form factor, System Model H1. QV is a metric developed by IBM in the pursuit of a better way to measure quantum computing performance, in place of the less-than-objective measure through qubit count. This achievement by Honeywell’s System Model H1 is notable as it debuted in September with a QV of 128.

On the commercial side, BMW announced a dual partnership with Honeywell and Entropica Labs to run a quantum proof-of-concept for BMW’s supply chain. The presumed role of Honeywell is as the supply-side quantum hardware vendor, while Entropica Labs provides the demand-side algorithms required for BMW to reap the benefits of quantum computing tied to the automaker’s bespoke problem set.

Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC): On the scientific discovery side of the quantum industry, CQC published a paper demonstrating that quantum machines can employ machine learning (ML) techniques to “learn to infer hidden information from broad probabilistic reasoning models. The implications of these findings open the door to quantum applications in previously unconfirmed use-case scenarios. The biggest near-term beneficiaries are expected to be quantum hardware and software developers as well as ML scientists.

Phasecraft: This U.K.-based quantum software company joined the IBM Quantum Network, a global consortium of hundreds of quantum computing companies, startups, academic institutions and research organizations in the name of wholistically advancing quantum development from physical systems to algorithms and applications. Phasecraft currently develops algorithms aimed at optimizing and utilizing near-term quantum computers.

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 edition, published in December, focuses on the software layer of quantum systems.

Note to readers: As of the March edition of Q3, Stephanie Long, the creator of this blog, has moved on from TBR Inc. and bestowed this series to me, Jacob Fong. TBR and I would like to thank Stephanie for all her phenomenal work and analysis at the company and through this blog series on the ever-fascinating industry that is quantum computing.

Quick Quantum Quips: Quantum use cases expand to new industries

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.

January 2021 Developments

An increasing number of companies across a variety of industries are making deals and forming partnerships to seize opportunities for first movers in emerging quantum technology. Many organizations and several international governments are focused on laying a broad foundation for quantum innovation. However, with quantum expected to be a major disruptor in biopharma research and development as the technology matures, a considerable number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies are approaching quantum investments from a narrower perspective. Together, private organizations and public entities will continue to drive the emergence of new quantum use cases through investments that will also accelerate the adoption of the technology.

  1. Atos announced its commitment to participate in France’s quantum plan to take advantage of new and upcoming quantum-related capabilities. Through the strategy, the French government will collaborate with private industry partners and academic institutions to leverage quantum technology in a way that addresses wide-ranging socioeconomic issues, including healthcare, finance and the environment. Atos will contribute its post-quantum cryptography and will develop Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) simulators and accelerators and integrate them into high-performance computing platforms. Atos’ industry expertise and international business relationships will also play a role in advancing France’s national quantum strategy as well as the European Union’s (EU) quantum strategy, which seeks to leverage EU-based quantum innovations across the continent. Atos’ actions will not only benefit the French government and the country’s residents but also strengthen the company’s posture in the global quantum space.
  2. Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) appointed Bob Coecke as chief scientist. Coecke was a University of Oxford professor for the past 20 years and served CQC as a senior scientific adviser prior to his appointment. His quantum knowledge makes him a strong asset for CQC. The quantum computing company also announced a solution that addresses a multiphase flow classification problem within the energy sector. Working in partnership with Aker BP, a European energy company, CQC developed and validated a quantum machine learning (QML) algorithm delivered by IBM quantum processors. The QML algorithm stands as one of the industry’s first use cases in the energy sector, paving the way for related innovations.
  3. Google entered into a collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim, a Germany-based pharmaceutical company, to support its biopharma research and development with quantum technology. Over the course of three years, Boehringer will co-lead the project from its new Quantum Lab and will leverage Google’s Quantum AI division to simulate biological mechanics. The companies anticipate these simulations will contribute to the discovery of modern medical treatments, and Boehringer expects that quantum will redefine the pharmaceutical industry by accelerating R&D processes.
  4. Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced it will collaborate with India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to establish a quantum computing applications lab in the country. Once the lab is complete, government agencies and other local entities will be able to take advantage of quantum computing “as a Service,” addressing use cases in industries ranging from healthcare to agriculture. AWS will continue to support the lab, providing hosting and technical assistance. This collaboration will expand AWS’ footprint in the region, which will prove valuable as India’s digital transformation gains momentum.
  5. Microsoft will host its second Azure Quantum Developer Workshop on Feb. 2. The event will feature technology from select members of Microsoft’s Azure Quantum ecosystem. Honeywell, 1QBit and IonQ will highlight how Azure Quantum supports their respective quantum technologies and associated use cases. Microsoft will use the event to market the value of Azure Quantum to outside developers.

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.

Quick Quantum Quips: Quantum systems become increasingly accessible

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.

November 2020 Developments

Access to quantum systems and vertical-specific use cases is beginning to emerge in more commercially available ways. While quantum computing has yet to achieve economic advantage, these developments are necessary next steps toward this goal.

  1. IQM Quantum Computing (IQM),a quantum hardware startup based in Finland, was selected to produce Finland’s first quantum system. The company committed to delivering a 50-qubit system by 2024. IQM has a geographical advantage in the quantum computing market because it is located in Europe and there are few vendors on the continent investing in quantum hardware. IQM’s partnership with Atos on quantum provides IQM with increased visibility into the European Union.
  2. Zapata Computing closed its latest round of funding, a series B round that raised $38 million. Comcast’s and Honeywell’s venture capital arms both invested in this round of funding, with Honeywell as an existing investor and Comcast as a new addition. The investments in quantum computing from vendors working in adjacent fields demonstrate the value quantum computing can provide. TBR believes Zapata’s software capabilities are some of the most mature in the industry, making it a valuable long-term partner to Honeywell in the quantum computing market.
  3. Duke University has begun expanding its existing quantum computing facility at its Chesterfield location in Durham, N.C., adding 10,000 square feet. The expansion will be completed by March 2021, and the facility is one of five in the U.S. gaining support from a $115 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy. Duke University’s quantum computing efforts focus on trapped-ion quantum systems. The systems in development at Duke will be purpose-built to solve specific problems.
  4. AlgoDynamix unveiled a behavior-forecasting use case for financial services customers underpinned by D-Wave quantum annealing technology. This offering is consumed as a cloud service and is significant in the quantum computing market for two reasons, according to TBR. First, it is a very specific vertical use case that leverages quantum computing technology. Second, it demonstrates that a quantum-specific vendor partnering with a vertical-specific vendor can create very practical applications in the greater quantum ecosystem. The analytics of this use case are SaaS-based and do not require customer-specific data to be leveraged, making onboarding new customers to the offering relatively simple.
  5. Honeywell unveiled a 10th-generation 10-qubit quantum system named System H1. The computer leverages Honeywell’s quantum charge-coupled device (QCCD) trapped-ion technology, which is a differentiator in that the QCCD makes it easier to upgrade the system throughout its lifetime. This enables existing customers to take advantage of system advancements as they are developed. System H1 can be accessed as a cloud service either directly through a cloud API or through partners including Microsoft Azure Quantum, Zapata or Cambridge Quantum Computing. All access to System H1 is billed as a subscription service.

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 upcoming version, publishing in December, will focus on the software layer of quantum systems. You can also sign up for our webinar on the topic, which will be held on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. EST.

Quick Quantum Quips: New firms add their names to the quantum landscape

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.

October 2020 Developments

Niche entities within the quantum ecosystem are starting to gain notoriety as big-name scientists place bets on smaller firms with big ideas. At the same time, big brands not typically associated with quantum computing are beginning to throw their own hats in the ring as the monetization opportunities become nearer term and the upside of quantum grows massive. Meanwhile, firms are reallocating funding as the accessibility and functionality of quantum systems increase.

  1. Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC) gains new talent with John Martinis leaving Google as its top quantum scientist and joining the Australia-based startup. Silicon Quantum Computing, one of the few quantum computing organizations with a female lead, was founded in 2017 by Professor Michelle Simmons. Martinis said he joined the organization because he believes its unique approach to silicon-based fabrication at the atomic level could be a differentiator in the space. His contract with SQC will last at least for the next six months.
  2. Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) unveiled the latest updates to its quantum software development kit named t|ket>. The recent updates increase the number of supported quantum devices and improve circuit optimization and noise mitigation. CQC’s t|ket> is supported on Amazon Bracket and IonQ systems and also supported specifically for application development on Windows operating systems.
  3. Toshiba unveiled plans to develop commercial-grade quantum key distribution (QKD). The vendor has a deal inked with the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan to install its QKD at multiple points on NICT’s network. The system is expected to be rolled out in 4Q20 and deployed in 2Q21. Toshiba intends to capitalize on this niche within the larger quantum ecosystem and currently is not planning to expand beyond the QKD space. TBR believes this demonstrates that classical computing vendors are preparing to update security protocols ahead of key advancements in quantum technology.
  4. IBM, in partnership with The Coding School, has committed to providing free quantum education to 5,000 students globally. This investment is aimed specifically at high school students with the goal of increasing overall accessibility and diversity among those studying quantum computing. There is currently a well-known skills shortage in the quantum computing space, and as the technology becomes more mainstream, the gap will widen. IBM is one of the leading vendors proactively investing in education at both the university and high school levels to help bridge this gap.
  5. D-Wave made headlines this month for an undesirable reason as its valuation was slashed nearly in half. This development came following a refinancing effort on the part of the annealing quantum company. Specifically, D-Wave’s initial $450 million valuation was cut to about $170 million during a restructuring that raised $40 million in funds, of which NEC Corp. contributed $10 million. D-Wave has undergone executive leadership changes recently, including the promotion of Alan Baratz to CEO to replace Vern Brownwell, who retired. TBR believes D-Wave’s valuation slump may have to do with advancements in quantum computing. We believe that annealing is a valuable tool in the quantum ecosystem but that as true quantum computers become more capable, a true quantum system could replace quantum annealing in some places.

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 December 2020 iteration will focus on the software layer of quantum systems. Additionally, register for our Dec. 16 webinar on the topic.

Quick Quantum Quips: Quantum commercialization is on our doorstep

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.

September 2020 Developments

Recent developments in the quantum computing industry make one thing certain: The commercialization of quantum systems will occur during this decade. The vision of what quantum commercialization will look like varies from something that is very similar to classical systems and is consumed in the cloud to something as miniature as a desktop form factor. Regardless, quantum systems will have computational capabilities for commercial and academic use. TBR expects early production-grade systems to be used in a hybrid configuration with high-performance computing (HPC). As with many other elements of the economy being disrupted by technological innovation, the challenge will be in finding skilled labor to harness the power of quantum systems for economic advantage.

  1. IBM unveiled its quantum road map in September. Included in its road map are the release of a 433-qubit system named Osprey in 2022 and a 1,121-qubit system named Condor in 2023, the latter of which will be capable of enabling scalability. IBM also introduced a super-fridge, named Goldeneye, which is 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. This development will support the eventual creation of a 1 million-qubit quantum system, which is expected to be released by 2030. This road map makes it clear that at IBM, commercialization of quantum computing is expected within the decade, and therefore, the time has arrived for companies to explore becoming quantum-ready at scale.
  2. Zapata Computing unveiled a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to help better align its research agenda around quantum computing with the business needs of global companies interested in pursuing quantum computing within their road maps. Zapata seeks to expand scientific innovation more rapidly than it could do on its own while using SAB-initiated collaboration to pursue advancements that are targeted at customer demand. Expanding within academia remains a goal even though the SAB targets enterprise-level collaboration.
  3. D-Wave, in partnership with the Universities Space Research Association and Standard Chartered Bank, announced a quantum research competition with the goal of bringing quantum computing to nonprofits and universities. The competition aims to advance developments around quantum computing and AI, and the prize for the winner is free time to access the D-Wave 2000Q system.
  4. D-Wave appointed Daniel Ley as SVP of sales and Allison Schwartz as Global Government Relations and Public Affairs leader in September. These appointments highlight that D-Wave is targeting the public sector for sales of its quantum systems, and rightfully so as many governments have allocated budget dollars for quantum investments.
  5. Q-CTRL partnered with Quantum Machines to integrate Q-CTRL’s quantum firmware with Quantum Machines’ orchestration hardware and software offering. The quantum computing market is becoming crowded as startups emerge and more established firms devote some resources to quantum computing innovation. As such, smaller firms like Q-CTRL and Quantum Machines partnering to augment individual capabilities will become more commonplace the closer we get to commercialization at the end of the decade.
  6. Microsoft, in partnership with the University of Copenhagen, has discovered a new material that can be used to simplify topological quantum computing. Presently, large magnetic fields are necessary for computation to take place. The research combined aluminum, europium sulfide and indium arsenide, which together enable a quantum wire device to be an additional and necessary component of topological quantum systems. Ridding the system of the need for magnetic fields is a major breakthrough because the inclusion of a strong magnetic field, while advantageous for the system, could result in unintended negative impacts to other components or systems located within close proximity to the quantum system.

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 upcoming version, which will publish in December, will focus on the software layer of quantum systems. You can also sign up for our webinar on the topic as well, which will be held on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. EST.

Quick Quantum Quips: Vendors roll out software applications to increase customer connections through partnerships and internal innovation

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.

July 2020 Developments

Tying systems and software together has been a general focus of July quantum computing activity. These ties increase quantum computing vendors’ ability to more adequately address and meet the emerging needs of their customers. The finance and banking industry remains a key customer base for quantum as more financial customers partner to develop industry-specific applications for the technology.

  1. Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) and IBM partnered to make CQC the first startup-based hub in IBM’s Q Network. This move grants CQC cloud-based access to IBM’s army of 20 commercially available quantum computers. Leveraging this cloud-based access and Qiskit, CQC along with members of its hub will work on advancing quantum capabilities for specialized use in areas such as chemistry, finance and machine learning.
  2. D-Wave has expanded its Leap quantum cloud service into India and Australia, increasing the global footprint of its quantum technology. D-Wave’s quantum cloud service is now available in 37 countries. In addition to the Leap Quantum Cloud Service, customers in India and Australia will now also have access to D-Wave’s Hybrid Solver Service, Integrated Developer Environment and Problem Inspector solutions as well as access to flexible increments of computing time in a hybrid computing model. D-Wave offers this flexible access in free and paid plans.
  3. Atos unveiled its Quantum Annealing Simulator, which is compatible with Atos’ Quantum Learning Machine and enables the company to provide customers with access to quantum capabilities via a simulator as well as gate quantum computing through its existing portfolio. TBR believes this approach is strategically advantageous for Atos, as quantum annealing gives customers access to a quantum-like solution that achieves a lower error rate faster than a traditional system, enabling Atos customers to become familiar with the technology while the system developments continue to reduce error rates and expand capabilities.
  4. Atos also unveiled an open innovation accelerator program — called Scaler, the Atos Accelerator — which is geared toward vertical-centric experts and startups. As part of this program, 15 startups and vertical-specific experts will be selected annually to participate in developing quantum-specific projects fueled by customer interest. The research will further support the development and enrichment of Atos’ existing quantum computing offerings and also reinforce, in TBR’s view, Atos’ ability to provide quantum services. TBR notes that this approach to innovation is similar to that of other services firms involved in quantum computing, where innovation is largely customer driven to address specific demands.
  5. Standard Chartered Ventures unveiled its commitment to researching potential uses for quantum computing in the finance and banking industry through its academic partnership with Universities Space Research Association (USRA). USRA is a U.S.-based nonprofit with 49 university members. Standard Chartered Ventures noted that some use cases being explored through quantum computing include simulating portfolios and significantly increasing the speed of market data generation.

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 most recent version was released in June.

Quick Quantum Quips: Vendors lay the groundwork for regional and technological differentiation as commercialization of quantum computers looms

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.

June 2020 Developments

Various developments and investments in quantum computing highlight the vastness of the opportunities that exist in this field for vendors willing to endure the long haul between research and development and commercialization. While major players continue to make strides, quantum computing startups still stand strong in the market, receiving additional funding and forming strategic partnerships to push forward with their individual goals. Globally, skills shortages remain a challenge and a threat to rapid commercialization once the technology is available. As such, courses at the high school level are being developed so students are familiar enough with the technology to know if they would be interested in pursuing a related degree at the higher-education level. This is essential as in some ways, introducing students to the quantum field after they have entered college may be too late as many of these students may have already decided on their specialization.

  1. D-Wave and NEC partnered on quantum computing sales and marketing opportunities in addition to product development to bolster the prevalence of the technology globally. This partnership in particular increases D-Wave’s presence in Japan and provides NEC with assets to compete against Fujitsu in their respective local markets. The product development portion of the partnership combines NEC’s supercomputing technologies with D-Wave’s quantum expertise to bring hybrid compute solutions to market. Early activity in the quantum space suggests a hybrid compute model is the most likely way early quantum computers will be leveraged commercially.
  2. Honeywell claims to have the world’s highest-performing quantum computer as of June, leveraging IBM’s measuring tool for quantum computing, called Quantum Volume, to back up its claim. The system has a quantum volume of 64, and marks the delivery of promises Honeywell made regarding quantum computing performance in March. TBR notes that a key customer example Honeywell leveraged in the March announcement was JPMorgan Chase, which is also a strategic quantum customer for IBM and highlights the highly fluid nature of the quantum systems space, which will see systems vendors leapfrogging each other’s performance claims for the foreseeable future.
  3. Fermilab designed an introductory quantum computing course for high school and lay people interested in gaining a grasp on the subject without prior quantum mechanics familiarity. TBR believes this is a win for both the quantum space and the education space in the U.S. Public education increasingly emphasizes STEM and this course falls squarely in this area, reinforcing some public education goals while also working to improve knowledge of quantum computing at the high school level, which in turn will encourage students leaving high school and entering college to pursue degrees related to the subject. As the skills gap in the quantum field remains large, which will hinder scaling the technology’s commercial use, promoting quantum-related fields in higher education is paramount to the long-term viability of the technology at the commercial level.
  4. IQM, a Finnish startup that produces quantum hardware, secured another round of funding in June. This news came while the Finnish government announced it would acquire a quantum computer for the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Multiple European countries are making similar investments, with Germany also commissioning at least two quantum computers. With its team in Munich, IQM also has the potential to capitalize on investments in Germany in quantum systems. TBR notes these government-centric quantum system purchases are currently for research purposes. These developments highlight that despite having clear front-runners in the quantum computing space, such as IBM, Google and Honeywell, there is still a well-defined space in the market in which startups can thrive. In some cases, there are regional advantages that major players cannot capitalize on as well as startups. For example, governments outside the U.S. and China have a perceived threat of taking advantage of quantum technologies that are not locally native due to the potential security threat the systems could cause. As such, vendors such as IQM and Atos are able to secure funding in Europe that other players cannot.
  5. QC Ware entered a research partnership with AISIN Group, a major manufacturer of automotive components, to develop ways to leverage quantum optimization and quantum machine learning algorithms for automotive applications. QC Ware has partnerships with Rigetti Computing and D-Wave for quantum computing hardware, and this partnership with AISIN grants it access to their hardware capabilities too. A key advantage of this relationship with AISIN Group for QC Ware is not only increased exposure of its value within the quantum computing industry but also an expanded presence in Asia.

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 most recent version was just released in June.