The new company will deliver advanced quantum computing products to support improved computation in areas like cybersecurity, drug discovery and delivery, material science, finance and optimization.
Honeywell and U.K.-based Cambridge Quantum Computing have announced plans to combine to form what is being touted as "the largest, most advanced standalone quantum computing company in the world. This sets the pace at what is estimated to become a $1 trillion quantum computing industry over the next three decades, according to Honeywell.
The new company will offer a full suite of quantum software, including the first quantum operating system. These technologies are geared at supporting customer needs for improved computation in areas including cybersecurity, drug discovery and delivery, material science, finance and optimization across all major industrial markets. The new company will also focus on the advancement of natural language processing to fully leverage the possibilities of quantum artificial intelligence.
"The new company will be extremely well-positioned to create value in the near-term within the quantum computing industry by offering the critical global infrastructure needed to support the sector's explosive growth," said Honeywell Chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk, in a statement.
The new company will offer both fully integrated hardware and software to large high-growth markets worldwide, he said.
Honeywell has been an investor in, and commercial partner with, Cambridge Quantum since 2019. Honeywell said quantum computing will remain a core initiative. When the transaction is complete, Honeywell will own a majority stake in the new company.
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Honeywell will invest between $270 million and $300 million in the new company and will have a long-term agreement to help manufacture the critical ion traps needed to power the quantum hardware. Honeywell's businesses will continue to serve as a proving ground for the new company's quantum offerings, the company said.
The combined company, which does not yet have a name, is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
"Since we first announced Honeywell's quantum business in 2018, we have heard from many investors who have been eager to invest directly in our leading technologies at the forefront of this exciting and dynamic industry—now, they will be able to do so," said Adamczyk. "The new company will provide the best avenue for us to onboard new, diverse sources of capital at scale that will help drive rapid growth."
Ilyas Khan, the founder of CQ, said that by joining forces, HQS and CQ will create and commercialize quantum offerings geared at addressing some of humanity's greatest challenges.
Honeywell's quantum computer uses trapped-ion technology, which leverages numerous individual charged atoms (ions) to hold quantum information. Honeywell said its system applies electromagnetic fields to trap each ion so it can be manipulated and encoded using laser pulses. These high-performance operations require deep experience across multiple disciplines, including atomic physics, optics, cryogenics, lasers, magnetics, ultra-high vacuum and precision control systems, Honeywell said.
Its ion-based quantum computing hardware recently achieved a quantum volume of 512—the highest measured on a commercial quantum computer to date—with further advances in progress, according to Honeywell.
Honeywell began its quantum computer development program a decade ago and uses trapped-ion technology that uses charged atoms to hold quantum information. The Honeywell System Model H1 consistently achieves the highest quantum volume—a comprehensive performance measurement used widely by the industry—on a commercial quantum computer, according to the company.
CQ said its quantum software business will remain hardware agnostic and will continue to be fully compatible with all global quantum hardware providers.
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