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Quick Quantum Quips: Integrations and abstractions quicken quantum readiness

Welcome to TBR’s monthly newsletter on the quantum computing market: Quick Quantum Quips (Q3). The overall activity around quantum computing has been accelerating as more pieces of the quantum ecosystem inch closer to commercial readiness.

For more details, reach out to Geoff Woollacott or Stephanie Long to set up a time to chat.

May 2020 Developments

Selecting five key announcements becomes more challenging as quantum activity begins gaining market momentum. The highlighted excerpts illustrate the growing visibility quantum has among governments, venture capitalists, and a variety of researchers seeking to gain familiarity with the technology for application discovery. That said, TBR recently conducted interviews for next month’s Quantum Computing Market Landscape, which will focus on professional services, and found respondents from services firms are less optimistic about economic advantage being achieved within the next year but believe large enterprises need to be experimenting with quantum tool sets now for application discovery to capitalize on the technology when it achieves economic advantage. Similarly, governments are backing different entities to ensure their nation states have competencies in quantum technology as a way to protect their economies and increase national security.

  1. Congress had a bill introduced by Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., called the Advancing Quantum Computing Act, that would mandate the Department of Commerce and other relevant agencies conduct four different studies on quantum computing to assess the technology’s impact on U.S. commerce and society. Within two years of the bill’s passage, the Department of Commerce and other relevant agencies are to conduct studies that 1) rank industries and the extent to which they are leaning into quantum, 2) calibrate all federal interagency activities related to quantum, including agencies with regulatory oversight of private sector quantum activity, 3) rank the activities of at least 10 and not more than 15 different countries, including how these country activities compare to U.S. quantum market maturity, and 4) focus on the quantum ecosystem supply chain to assess the current, emerging and long-term risks. The Department of Commerce would then have six months to share its findings with the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committees. While it is a well-intentioned bill, TBR questions the lengthy timeline for enactment of these studies, believing the quantum market will evolve rapidly and that six-month-old market information could be dated when addressed by the relevant agencies.
  2. Australia aims to grow its domestic quantum computing capabilities through a working partnership between the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and Quantum Brilliance intended to begin implementing the recommendations of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency. Quantum Brilliance is using diamond to develop quantum computers that operate at room temperature without the need for cryogenics or complex infrastructure. Quantum Brilliance CEO Andrew Horsley makes the bold claim: “Diamond means that instead of filling up a room with cryogenics, you can hold a quantum computing in your hand.” Quantum Brilliance machines will be on-site at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and will be available to “anyone, anywhere” interested in working on quantum engineering.
  3. Entropica, a Singapore-based quantum computing software startup, raised S$2.6 million in seed funding led by tech investor Elev8. U.S.-based Rigetti Computing also participated in the round. Entropica’s co-founders Tommaso Demarie and Ewan Munro previously worked at Singapore’s Centre for Quantum Technologies before starting Entropic in May 2018. Entropica is another entrant aiming to build the integration layer between classical and quantum computing that is vital to broader commercial adoption of the technology. In addition to Rigetti, Entropica cites collaborating with quantum systems manufacturers IBM and Microsoft.
  4. QuTech and Intel released a paper on their work to develop a faster turnaround testing and validation of quantum materials and devices. The approach reduces the complexity of cryogenic components by allowing them to be readily integrated in any type of cryostat. The researchers claim the approach increases the number of wires that can operate at cryogenic temperatures in the cryostat by an order of magnitude. This discovery mitigates a current input/output bottleneck based on the current limitations of the number of wires operating at cryogenic temperatures. The cryogenic multiplexer platform is based on common CMOS componentry and has the potential to reduce the form factor of existing superconducting systems. QuTech is a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO.
  5. IBM announced enhancements to its Qiskit Quantum Algorithms and Applications (QA&A) toolset. First, IBM announced a circuit library consisting of feature-rich circuits suited for practical applications or for complex theoretic properties; second, IBM introduced the Optimization module, which is a library for researchers and beginners to engage in development and experimentation in quantum combinatorial optimization; and third, IBM rebuilt Qiskit’s core algorithmic tools to optimize them for research and prototyping. The Qiskit enhancements have also been fashioned to address users with eight different backgrounds from beginners to experienced quantum information theorists as well as software engineers, quantum chemists, optimization researchers, finance researchers, physics researchers, and machine learning researchers.

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. The next iteration, scheduled to publish in June, will focus on the quantum-related professional services being deployed to increase business awareness and technical skills that will be in short supply once quantum’s economic advantage becomes reality.

And, lastly, on behalf of the entire TBR team, we hope you stay healthy and safe in these unique times.

Quick Quantum Quips: Economic advantage nears as software development advances

Welcome to TBR’s monthly newsletter on the quantum computing market: Quick Quantum Quips (Q3). Market activity remains strong despite the impact of COVID-19 on daily lives, as researchers spider out through many different elements of the quantum ecosystem in pursuit of scientific discoveries that will bring the quantum era into clearer view and closer proximity.

For more details, reach out to Stephanie Long or Geoff Woollacott to set up a time to chat.

April 2020 developments

Announcements continue in different scientific discoveries to enhance quantum systems and bring them closer to economic advantage. More interesting are the flurry of announcements aimed at developing software for live applications, especially for financial services use cases.  

  1. Singapore Management University (SMU) and Tradeteq announced they are working on a project to develop a quantum-based credit scoring method for companies. The work will be underpinned by a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FSTI) – Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA) Grant Scheme. To TBR, this is a clear example of the kind of application that will become a proof point of quantum’s economic advantage. The goal of the application will be quicker credit assessments based on greater volumes and varieties of data. This speed to insight can underpin fintech instruments based on AI credit checks.
  2. QC Ware’s France subsidiary announced it had been selected as one of 32 BPIFrance Concours d’Innovation i-Nov award winners. QC Ware’s award was in the deep tech category for its work on quantum machine learning. Like SMU and Tradeteq, QC Ware’s initial focus has been computational finance applications in concert with Goldman Sachs. Like many early quantum leaders, the efforts have been to create software tools for classical data scientists as the initial “bridge” between the classical and quantum computing worlds. 
  3. The IBM Quantum Challenge, timed to coincide with IBM (Virtual) Think in May, serves multiple purposes. First, it provides a reference point to how far IBM efforts have grown since quantum systems were made available in the cloud — now at 16 systems accessed by 225,000 registered users performing 500 million circuit calculations daily. Second, it seeks to foster broader market education on the technology as well as on the tool sets IBM has available for those seeking to familiarize themselves with the technology and its potential commercial use cases.  
  4. Terra Quantum, based in Switzerland, announced it has raised €10 million to advance the European quantum tech ecosystem. This announcement has geopolitical implications as different regions see the strategic implications of quantum technology and seek to establish their in-region competencies. The startup intends to use its funding to build infrastructure and software solutions leveraging quantum technologies. Initially, the efforts will revolve around developing hybrid quantum algorithms ahead of the development of commercial-grade quantum computing systems.
  5. University of New South Wales and Delft University of Technology announced independent efforts using silicon spin, or “hot,” qubit devices. These devices operate at 1 kelvin, which is 15 times hotter than current technologies can tolerate. Reduced cooling costs and the ability to locate traditional computing instances near the quantum systems are two of the proposed benefits of this new technological approach.

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. The next iteration will be placing attention on the Quantum-related professional services being deployed to increase business awareness and technical skills that will be in short supply once quantum’s economic advantage becomes reality. Vendors interested in being considered for inclusion in the report should reach out to Geoff or Stephanie directly to arrange a briefing.

And, lastly, on behalf of the entire TBR team, we hope you stay healthy and safe in these unique times.

Quick Quantum Quips: Integrations and abstractions quicken quantum readiness

Welcome to TBR’s monthly newsletter on the quantum computing market: Quick Quantum Quips (Q3). Market activity heats up as more mainstream outlets begin taking notice of quantum computing developments as economic advantage nears. As that advantage nears, the integrations into the existing legacy network become more and more important for readying markets to exploit quantum computing to its fullest.

For more details, reach out to Stephanie Long or Geoff Woollacott to set up a time to chat.

March 2020 Developments

TBR scoured recent market announcements and found there is greater activity in ecosystem components beyond scientific discoveries and ongoing advancements into the competing systems architectures under development. Circuit abstractions and the ability to write algorithms independent of any specific quantum system knowledge due to the abstraction layer can accelerate application discovery for applied use cases in parallel to the ongoing scientific discovery needed at the system level to make quantum economic advantage a reality. Additionally, TBR is anticipating a happy accident may someday result in much easier-to-operate quantum systems. Not all scientific discovery proves intended outcomes, but as we’ve learned, sometimes a broken antenna can result in an “aha” moment.  

  1. Quantum Computing and Splunk announced a technology alliance for quantum-ready applications. Quantum Computing works on developing applications and tools for early quantum computers, focusing on the abstraction layers to allow developers to work on the code without needing to focus on the quantum-specific hardware details. The Splunk and Quantum Computing collaboration will enable the build-out of quantum-ready algorithms executable now on classical computers but ready for quantum systems once economic advantage is achieved. The initial partnership efforts will focus on network security, dynamic logistics and scheduling.
  2. Google announced a similar initiative ahead of active quantum systems called TensorFlow Quantum (TFQ) that brings Google on par with existing services from Azure Quantum and IBM Q. TFQ will provide an open-source library for prototyping quantum machine learning models. Integral to this development are quantum computer circuit simulations that will essentially become the virtualization or abstraction layer between actual quantum systems and their respective circuitry and these abstraction circuit standards.
  3. Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) announced support for Honeywell’s trapped ion quantum processor. Honeywell has rolled out a series of announcements this month around its technology. CQC adding a new optional python package, pytket_honeywell, will boost both companies. Honeywell needs to court developers, while CQC continues to expand the underlying quantum systems architectures its quantum software development platform supports. Currently, CQC’s pytket supports superconducting devices from IBM and Rigetti. The continued extension of software tool kits across the competing quantum architectures suggests there will be ample opportunity for peaceful coexistence of the competing architectures optimized for specific algorithms.
  4. Honeywell has entered the quantum systems market with a splash, claiming it will release a trapped ion quantum computer with a quantum volume of 64 by the middle of 2020. With more than a decade of research behind the announcement, Honeywell refers to its latest breakthrough as quantum charge coupled device (QCCD) architecture. At the time of the announcement Honeywell also mentioned JPMorganChase & Co. as an early customer for the system in addition to Honeywell Ventures’ investments in Cambridge Quantum Computing and Zapata Computing, two better known software and algorithm startups in the space.
  5. University of New South Wales announced a scientific discovery entirely by accident that can enable scientists to control the nucleus of an atom using electric fields rather than magnetic fields. The discovery was described as having been a “happy accident” that was the result of having blown up an antenna by pushing too much power to it. While unlikely to push the advancement of quantum technology in the near term, it may some day be added to the legion of happy accident discoveries from naturally inquisitive people that have brought great good to society.

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. The next iteration will focus on the quantum-related professional services being deployed to increase business awareness and technical skills that will be in short supply once quantum’s economic advantage becomes reality.

Lastly, on behalf of the entire TBR team, we hope you stay healthy and safe in these unique times.