In the second quarterly review of 2020, we take a look at some of the breaking stories from the quantum computing industry.
Momentum behind investment in, and development of, quantum computing continues apace. As the race towards a viable commercial product hots up, tech giants such as Honeywell and Microsoft have announced their latest technological breakthroughs.
Meanwhile, countries from all corners of the globe are announcing fresh rounds of investment, as the realities of what a quantum computer may be capable of are beginning to hit home.
Honeywell claims to surpass IBM with the world’s fastest quantum computer
Just three months ago, Honeywell made the bold claim that it would produce the world’s most powerful quantum computer by the middle of 2020. True to its word, in June it announced a new device that boasts a quantum volume of 64, twice that of its closest rivals.
What makes our quantum computers so powerful is having the highest quality qubits, with the lowest error rates. This is a combination of using identical, fully connected qubits and precision control.
Tony Uttley, President of Honeywell Quantum Solutions
Back in March 2020, Honeywell also claimed it was in a position to improve performance by a factor of ten, year on year. If this also proves to be true, by 2025 they would have a quantum computer 100,000 times faster than the current incarnation.
China reaches new milestone in space-based quantum communications
In the latest of a series of technological firsts attributed to the Micius Project, Chinese scientists have succeeded in establishing a secure link between two ground stations, separated by over 1,100km.
In a new paper published in June 2020 in Nature, project leader Jian-Wei Pan of the University of Science and Technology of China demonstrates how entanglement-based quantum key distribution is used to secure a quantum communications network.
By eschewing the use of the satellite as a communications relay and simply using it for simultaneous transmission of keys, the team eliminated the need for the satellite to “know” anything, removing a point of potential weakness within the key exchange process.
£70million in funding to secure UK position as world leader in Quantum Technology
In June 2020, to mark the beginning of Quantum Tech Digital Week, the UK Government announced a further round of £70million investment to help power the development of quantum technologies across the UK.
The investment covers 38 new projects and adds to the £153million announced last year. The investment is part of the UK Government’s Quantum Technologies Challenge project, which involves some 80 companies and 30 universities and research institutes.
I am delighted the government is able to provide this thriving sector with the backing it deserves. The projects I have announced today will help to maintain the UK’s status as a world leader in quantum technology.
Science Minister, Amanda Solloway
One third of the projects concern quantum computing, lending further weight to the UKs growing reputation as a go-to location for next-generation quantum technologies.
Australian quantum technology could become a $4billion industry
In a recent article the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) highlighted its quantum technology roadmap, which predicts the Australian quantum computing market has the potential to create over 10,000 jobs and generate $2.5bn in annual revenues by 2040.
The CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency recognises the importance of quantum computing, pointing to the stimulus for drug development, industrial process transformation and machine learning.
It also recognises that other quantum technologies may be quicker to market, acknowledging it is likely to see applications of quantum sensing and communications networks much sooner.
Defence, utility management and secure communications applications are seen as keys to enhancing productivity in Australian industry and helping to ensure national security.
Microsoft releases a preview of the Azure Quantum Computing platform
In May 2020, Microsoft announced Azure Quantum was now in limited review. The new platform combines technologies from the likes of Honeywell, IonQ, QCI, 1Qbit and Microsoft itself to deliver an environment for developers who are keen to get started with quantum computing.
Still very early in its development lifecycle, Azure Quantum represents an early move from Microsoft to capture some of what is destined to become a competitive development community as the technology matures over the coming years.
More quantum news
In its 2020 Data Threat Report, Thales acknowledges the influence quantum computing is having on cybersecurity planning. In an IDC survey of over 1,700 IT influencers, 72% recognised that quantum cryptography was going to have an impact on their organisation in the next five years.
Inside Quantum’s Post Quantum Cryptography Report includes a ten-year market forecast that puts the PQC market value at $9.5billion by 2029.
TechRepublic points to the potential of quantum computers to significantly improve the speed and capacity of medical research to find a cure for complex viruses like COVID19.
ID Quantique in the news
IDQ and SK Telecom announce their technical report ‘Security Considerations for Quantum Key Distribution Network’ has received final ITU-T approval.
IDQ announces the launch of two high throughput QRNG PCIe cards. Integrating NIST compliant post-processing they provide entropy data rates of 40Mbps or 240Mbps.
IDQ’s QRNG chip features in the world first quantum mobile phone. Samsung’s Galaxy A Quantum is a custom edition of its A71 5G smartphone, brought to market by SK Telecom.
Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co implements QKD to improve the security of its core network infrastructure connecting offices in Gyongjue to its power plant in Samrangjin.