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Quantum Computing Review Q3 2021

It’s been another busy quarter for quantum computing, with fresh rounds of investment and continuing advances in performance. Here are some of the highlights from the last three months.

Quantum Supremacy

Back in 2019, Google published the results of a Quantum Supremacy experiment, in which it had developed a 54-qubit processor (named Sycamore) that performed a target computation in 200 seconds. Is that good? To put it into context, the company determined that it would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years to produce a similar output.

In an article published on arXiv, a Chinese Group describes the development of a two-dimensional, programmable superconducting processor (called Zuchongzhi) that comprises 66 functional qubits. It estimates the computational power of this processor to be 2-3 times that of Google’s Sycamore and claims it provides unambiguous proof of quantum computational advantage (supremacy).


Quantum Improvements

Earlier this year, two of the giants of computing, Honeywell and Google, both announced incremental improvements in their quantum technologies. Honeywell’s Model H1 was introduced a year ago with a modest quantum volume of 128. By March 2021 that had ben increased to 512 and Honeywell has just announced it has doubled the volume again to 1024. Commenting on the path of continuous innovation, Tony Uttley, President of Honeywell Quantum Solutions said:

We are always fine tuning our system and making improvements. Our goal always has been, and continues to be, to have the highest-performing quantum computer available.


In a recent Quantum Symposium, Google highlighted some of the enhancements they have made to their Sycamore processor. Error correction has been the main focus of recent updates, as this will be essential if they are to achieve their stated aim of a one million physical (one thousand logical) qubit computer by the end of the decade.

Videos of Day 1 and Day 2 of the Symposium are available on YouTube.


Funding Update

One of the most notable investment stories in recent months was that of PsiQuantum, which secured over €380million in Series D funding. The company has a stated objective of building a 1 million physical qubit, error corrected quantum computer by the middle of the decade.

Other notable investments include a further round of VC-driven activity in the start-up market. Rigetti Computing recently announced €68million of Series C funding for its quantum computing platform. Israeli startup Quantum Machines has raised an additional €43 million, bringing its total to €63million. Plus, Multiverse Computing, a start-up dedicated to the finance market, has secured seed funding of €10million.

Whilst not, strictly speaking, a funding story. IonQ was listed on the NYSE in October, becoming the first publicly traded, pure-play quantum computing company. The company claims to have the world’s most powerful, trapped-ion quantum computer. Its technology is uniquely made accessible through Amazon Bracket, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.


Understanding Quantum Technologies

Olivier Ezratty shares a free 836-page in-depth eBook on how to understand quantum technologies. The eBook has been in the making for over three years, and mixes science, technology, and differentiation, benefitted by Ezratty’s unique perspective attained through many years of writing about consumer electronics, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence.

Quantum Technology forecast



Other News

In legislative news, the US Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with NIST released its roadmap to help organizations protect their data and systems from the risks associated with the advancement of quantum computing technology. Building on the vision outlined in March by Secretary Mayorkas, the roadmap includes a 7 step approach to transitioning to post-quantum cryptography.


IDQ in the news:

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