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Honeywell Plans To Launch World's Most Powerful Quantum Computer

Honeywell is planning to launch a new quantum computer later this year that it claims will be two times more powerful than any other machine of this type.

The company says it is on track to release a computer with a "quantum volume" of at least 64, which is twice that of the closest alternative in the industry. The computer will be based on the company's trapped-ion QCCD (quantum charge-coupled device) architecture.

Quantum volume (QV) is a standard for measuring the computational capability of quantum computers, originally proposed in 2017 by IBM. The QV is a single numerical value measured by calculating the number of quantum bits (qubits) in a computer, the connectivity among qubits within the system, errors present in the quantum operations used for calculations and time to quantum decoherence, plus factors such as the available hardware gate set and the number of operations that can be run in parallel.

"The larger the quantum volume, the more complex problems you can solve," said Dr. Patty Lee, chief scientist for Honeywell Quantum Solutions, in a statement. "When our quantum computer is released, we will be able to execute larger quantum circuits better than any other quantum computer available."

The trapped-ion QCCD architecture is the technological breakthrough that enables the accelerated quantum capability, the company said. Honeywell has published a paper describing in detail the integration of its trapped-ion QCCD architecture into a robust, fully connected and programmable quantum computer.

Honeywell is not famous for its work in quantum computing -- yet. The American multinational conglomerate provides a wide range of commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems for a broad base of customers ranging from private consumers to major corporations and governments. But it began dedicating resources to quantum computing several years ago and established the Honeywell Quantum Solutions group in 2018. The group comprises "a complete team of technologists" that includes scientists, engineers and technicians who specialize in the design and development of trapped-ion quantum computers, the company said.

Honeywell is making this level of investment, said CEO Darius Adamczyk, because the company expects quantum computing to impact a wide range of industries significantly in the not-too-distant future.

"Materials companies will explore new molecular structures," he said in a statement. "Transportation companies will optimize logistics. Financial institutions will need faster and more precise software applications. Pharmaceutical companies will accelerate the discovery of new drugs. Honeywell is striving to influence how quantum computing evolves and to create opportunities for our customers to benefit from this powerful new technology."

Financial services company JPMorgan Chase is poised to be among the first to use Honeywell's new quantum computer.

"Honeywell's unique quantum computer, along with the ecosystem Honeywell has developed around it, will enable us to get closer to tackling major and growing business challenges in the financial services industry," said Marco Pistoia, managing director at JPMorgan Chase, in a statement

Honeywell is also partnering with Microsoft as a part of its Azure Quantum services. The partnership will allow end users to use Azure classical computing resources while accessing Honeywell's quantum computer, the company said.

Honeywell's announcement is part of a wave of quantum computing announcements that followed hard on the heels of Google's claim last October that it had achieved "quantum supremacy," a kind of black belt earned by computing devices that can solve problems no classical computer can handle.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at jwaters@converge360.com.


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