Honeywell recently unveiled the world’s highest-performing quantum computer, which it claims could be a successor to the supercomputer.

The industrial conglomerate claims that their new superior computer scored high on the quantum volume metrics that determine the performance of a quantum. The Honeywell’s computer has a quantum volume of 64, making it “twice as powerful as the next alternative in the industry,” the company said. Honeywell has already shown prowess with computers of 16 and 32 quantum volume.

“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,” said Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions.


Image: Honey Quantum

The earlier leader in the field, IBM, also one of the pioneers, has built a quantum computer with a quantum volume of 32.

IBM proposed that quantum volume be used to assess the power of a computer rather than gate speed or fidelity or even qubits. Qubits or quantum bits are the preferred way to measure the power of computing. Qubits, unlike the binary 0 and 1 method of computing, can exist in multiple states, superimpose and entangle to give greater processing power, which a classical computer would take millions of years to make.

Quantum volume, on the other hand, factors in other zillion characteristics, including the stability, fidelity, error rate, and ease of programming.

The other competitor besides IBM in the market is Google. Google announced in 2019 that it had found the quantum computing answer. But their demonstration was unconvincing—it involved an arcane calculation based on random number sampling.

The computer called Sycamore used 53 qubits to calculate the number. The process is so complex that the outcome is impossible to calculate, and is therefore effectively random.

IBM, a rival to Google in the race for building quantum computers, reported that the problem could be solved in just 2.5 days using a different classical technique. This put a dampener on Google’s feat of doing a calculation much faster than a classical computer, but not something that is beyond its reach.

Other companies working on quantum computers include Intel Microsoft, and startups Rigetti and IOnQ.

JPMorgan Chase experts are testing the Honeywell quantum computer. According to Honeywell, these are companies and organizations that are related to chemistry, materials science, machine learning, and more, which have shown an interest. Honeywell, along with Microsoft, will provide access to the new quantum computer through the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Quantum computers are being built to help solve complex, unwieldy databases or large numbers used in encryptions, etc. But its applications are miles away. The quantum bit used for calculating in quantum computers are fragile as they exist in a fluid state and throw up millions of permutations. Practical applications of quantum computers in everyday life are a lot of years away. What is happening is the process and experimentation and an architectural model that throws up random models, which can be replicated to scale like in molecular and electoral calculations and cryptocurrencies.

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