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21 July, 2021 - 14:06 By Tony Quested

Honeywell and Cambridge Quantum hit new milestones

The newly combined technology powerhouse of Nasdaq-quoted Honeywell and Cambridge Quantum has reached three major milestones to help bring quantum computing to real-world applications.

Industries such as aviation, steel manufacture and logistics stand to benefit hugely from the advances the partners are effecting as they blitz the boundaries.

The technical milestones demonstrate the viability of large-scale quantum computing and underline that quantum-enabled solutions for optimisation are closer than expected.

For the first time, researchers at Honeywell Quantum Solutions demonstrated repeated rounds of real-time quantum error correction (QEC) – an advancement that represents a significant step toward the realisation of large-scale quantum computing. 

The company also achieved a quantum volume of 1,024 – beating its own record – which was the highest measured on a quantum computer to date. 

Additionally, Cambridge Quantum also unveiled details of a proprietary quantum algorithm that uses far fewer qubits than has previously been assumed, to solve critical optimisation problems vital for industrial and financial applications.

Since first announcing its commercial quantum computers in March 2020, Honeywell has continuously exceeded its own milestones. The latest doubles the performance of the System Model H1, which set a global record just four months ago. 

Simultaneously, in ground-breaking advances, Honeywell researchers created a single logical qubit from ten physical qubits available on the System H1 Model and applied multiple rounds of QEC – protocols necessary to protect quantum information. 

Protected from the main types of errors that occur in a quantum computer – bit and phase flips – this logical qubit combats errors that accumulate during computations. 

Tony Uttley, President of Honeywell Quantum Solutions, said: “Big enterprise-level problems require precision and error-corrected logical qubits to scale successfully. “These technical milestones of quantum volume and quantum error correction, together with advanced software from Cambridge Quantum, will allow us to increase the viability of quantum computing in the real-world.”

As reported here, Honeywell and Cambridge Quantum announced in June that they were combining to form the world’s largest, stand-alone quantum computing company. Closing of the combination transaction remains subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions. 

The two companies have long worked together to develop quantum-enabled solutions to address optimisation, scheduling and other enterprise-level challenges. 

The new quantum algorithm illustrates the combined impact of Honeywell and Cambridge Quantum and the type of quantum-enabled solutions to expect from the new company. This latest collaboration speeds up convergence, accuracy, and scalability of quantum algorithms for combinatorial optimisation problems such as supply chain challenges in manufacturing or route optimisation scenarios in logistics.

More specifically, Cambridge Quantum has developed new methods to accelerate convergence up to 100 times faster, improve the solution quality and reduce hardware resource requirements compared to standard Variational Quantum Eigensolver and Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm.

These new methods were successfully implemented on the System Model H1, Honeywell’s most advanced quantum computer currently available.

Ilyas Khan, CEO and founder of Cambridge Quantum, said: “Faster quantum algorithms can have a profound impact on a variety of industries that face complicated optimisation problems. 

“A very good example is steel manufacturing where global steel companies typically produce a variety of products. Manufacturing at this scale and complexity on-time at minimal cost requires complicated scheduling of several production processes that are challenging for even the largest classical computing systems currently available. 

“Logistics companies, airlines and – in a slightly different context – diversified financial services companies and banks need the same type of solution.

“By optimising these processes, companies and ultimately their customers and consumers in general, can see the positive effects. Honeywell and Cambridge Quantum are making it easier for businesses to do their jobs well and effectively.”

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