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Honeywell claims groundbreaking quantum computer is ready for action

Written by Mon 22 Jun 2020

Honeywell’s quantum system will soon be available to organisations via Microsoft Azure

It appears Honeywell has come good on its pledge to build the “highest-performing” quantum computer in the world.

Last March, the operational technology multinational claimed it cracked a quantum computing conundrum that would enable it to build the record-breaking machine in three months.

And three months later (well, three months and 18 days – but who’s counting?), the company has revealed its qubit-chomping beast is ready for action.

Quantum volume

Quantum computers leverage qubits instead of bits to solve problems that ordinary computers would take millions or even billions of years to solve.

The new systems are expected to accelerate applications such as drug development, weather forecasts and materials design.

Honeywell’s system is so exciting because it comfortably beats the competition on a key quantum metric, quantum volume, which indicates the relative complexity of a computational problem that can be solved by a quantum computer.

Honeywell’s system has a quantum volume of 64, twice as powerful as the next alternative in the industry.

In a blog post, Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions, explained why Honeywell’s machine is such a game-changer and lifted the lid on its appearance.

“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,”  he said.

The system comprises an ultra-high vacuum chamber the size of a basketball which is cryogenically cooled with liquid helium to bring the internal temperature to 10 degrees above zero (which if you’re wondering, is colder than the surface of Pluto).

Even though the computing power is harnessed from a few individual atoms, two 5ft x 20ft optical tables surrounding the computer are needed to keep the algorithms under control.

In time, the machine will be available to organisations via Microsoft Azure, either via the Azure Quantum Portal or Honeywell’s own quantum interface.

Honeywell was one of the largest computing companies in the 1960s and was even a competitor of IBM during that period, but its IT division was rested in the early 1990s.

The company’s main focus is now operational technology for sectors like aerospace, manufacturing, construction, and oil and gas — areas where research could be dramatically accelerated by quantum computing power.

Written by Mon 22 Jun 2020

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