Honeywell ready to take the lead with industry's most powerful quantum computer

Next goal is to increase qubit computing power every year for five years and sell quantum as a service.

IBM doubles quantum volume in the race for computing supremacy

Honeywell announced Tuesday that it is on track to have a quantum computer with a quantum volume of at least 64 qubits within the next three months.

Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell quantum solutions, said that at any scale quantum computing is a controls problem.

"Any quantum computer requires a set of vacuum systems, cooling, and vibration control, and these are things that Honeywell has been working on for decades," he said.

Quantum volume measures computational ability, indicating the relative complexity of a problem that can be solved by a quantum computer. When released, Honeywell's quantum computer will have twice that of the next alternative in the industry.

"Our trajectory is to increase the volume by an order of magnitude every year for the next five years," he said.

When Honeywell releases its quantum computer in the next three months, it will have a quantum volume of at least 64, twice that of the next alternative in the industry.

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James Sanders, a cloud transformation analyst at 451 Research, said that Honeywell's announcement shows the variety of ways there are to build quantum computers.

Honeywell's quantum computer uses trapped-ion technology, which leverages numerous, individual, charged atoms (ions) to hold quantum information. Honeywell's system applies electromagnetic fields to hold (trap) each ion so it can be manipulated and encoded using laser pulses. Honeywell's trapped-ion qubits can be uniformly generated with errors more well understood compared with alternative qubit technologies that do not directly use atoms.

Uttley also said that another element of Honeywell's quantum work is the ability to do mid-circuit measures, which is the quantum equivalent of putting an if statement into an algorithm.

"We will be able to pause mid-calculation, interrogate a qubit—it is a one or a zero—and then depending on the answer, you do something different with the rest of the equation," he said.

The key to doing that is long coherence times.

Selling quantum as a service

The company also announced it has made strategic investments in two leading quantum computing software providers and signed a partnership to develop quantum computing algorithms with JPMorgan Chase.  

Honeywell's quantum computer will be a full stack cloud computer via API.
 
Uttley said that Honeywell will offer access to its quantum computer through Microsoft Azure.

The company has been developing quantum use cases with aerospace, chemicals, and oil-and-gas applications, including creating new catalysts for use in oil-and-gas processing.

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Image: Honeywell