Quantum computing might sound like a sci-fi term, but it’s one of the most exciting innovations in the digital landscape. Through quantum computing, today’s IT leaders can quickly solve complicated computations using countless variables. This means that quantum computing can help with things like predicting stock market fluctuations, designing artificial intelligence (AI), and even cracking complex encryption keys.
As one of the technologies at the heart of digital transformation, quantum computing is an area that’s seen a lot of investment and growth in recent years. In light of this, we take a look at the companies leading the way in quantum computing.
10. Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin started its exploration of the quantum computing landscape in partnership with the University of Southern California. Together, the two groups co-founded the USC-Lockheed Martin Centre for Quantum Computation. This environment focuses on harnessing the value of adiabatic quantum computing. This refers to an environment where problems are coded into the state that requires the lowest possible energy.
Lockheed Martin has used its quantum computing research to address a range of challenges, like improving manufacturing and aircraft design logistics.
9. Alibaba Quantum Computing
Most people know Alibaba as a merchant selling and dropshipping site. However, the Alibaba community also began investing in quantum computing tools back in 2015. With its own quantum computing lab, Alibaba has been able to focus on exploring the various possibilities of quantum computing applications in fields like AI, ecommerce, and also security.
By 2018, Alibaba had also launched a new cloud-based quantum computing service that runs alongside the company’s range of additional solutions like elastic GPUs, auto-scaling tools, and elastic compute services.
8. D-Wave Solutions
D-Wave Solutions is a business completely dedicated to unlocking the benefits of quantum computing. The company is the force behind more than 150 user-developed quantum applications, including tools for airline scheduling, chemistry simulation, logistics, healthcare, and automotive design. D-Wave helps businesses of all sizes discover quantum computing opportunities in everything from material science, to optimisation and machine learning, through their Leap quantum cloud service.
Leap offers real-time access into live computing solutions, quantum application environment open-source tools, and interactive demonstrations. Users can also access coding examples, an online community, and a host of other resources committed to the evolution of quantum computing tools.
Honeywell is one of the major pioneers in the quantum computing landscape. The company started its adventure in 2014 when participating in an advanced intelligence research project to investigate the technology. Honeywell now focuses heavily on a concept called trapped ion quantum computing. This approach uses ions suspended in space to transmit information through the movement of those ions.
In May this year, Darius Adamcyzk, CEO at Honeywell, said that the technology had achieved record-breaking high-fidelity operations. Honeywell is currently one of only a handful of corporations working on the potential of trapped ion technology.
NTT’s subsidiary companies, NTT Basic Research Laboratories and NTT Secure Platform Laboratories, are exploring ultra-cold atoms and their relation to quantum information processing. In 2014, NTT Device Technology Laboratories partnered with the University of Bristol to develop a chip that uses photons to test theories in cold quantum computing. Furthermore, in 2017, NTT was opening its prototype quantum computing solution for public testing.
This year, NTT Research opened a new centre focusing on quantum computing’s applications in encryption and precision medicine. The research centre will draw on the strengths of NTT’s previous explorations into the area to bring more groundbreaking research into quantum computing.
Toshiba’s main investments into quantum computing began with the arrival of the quantum key distribution system. This solution provides digital keys to cryptographic applications in fibre-optic computer networks. By February 2018, Toshiba had unveiled it’s first 12.7 Mbps quantum distribution device, which was several times faster than the previous solution designed in 2015.
This year, Toshiba announced a new partnership with American developer, Quantum Xchange, to double the capacity of the Phio quantum essential distribution network. At present, the Phio project is active for a range of asset management firms and banks in New York City. In particular, the project helps customers maintain security and move data in their environments.
One of the best-known companies in the technology world, Intel invested $50 million in funding to QuTech (a research institute in the Delft University of Technology) in 2015. During the CES conference of 2018, Intel also announced that it had created a 49 qubit chip called Tangle Lake, one of the biggest innovations ever made in Intel chip development.
As well as this, Intel has announced the arrival of a testing tool designed to evaluate quantum computers. The tool enables researchers to validate quantum technology and also examine the performance of qubits in a quantum processor. What’s more, with this new development, Intel could help drive the next generation of quantum computing research.
Today, the majority of quantum computing companies are focusing their attention on the universal gate model. This is an area where IBM excels. In the quantum gate model, qubits are placed into circuits, rather than traditional one-and-zero bits. IBM has developed around eight different gate-model prototypes, with one option as high as 50 qubits. Furthermore, in 2019, IBM unveiled its new Q System One solution for commercial quantum research.
Additionally, IBM also announced a partnership with a range of universities to encourage greater study into quantum computing. The global VP believes they will have quantum computers in the commercial landscape within the next five years.
Microsoft is another market leader in the quantum computing environment. The Microsoft team started exploring the benefits of quantum computing in 2011. In particular, they focused on the design of solutions for use on a fault-tolerant and scalable computing environment. By 2014, Microsoft had revealed that it was researching the area of topical computing. This helps to improve the engineering of quantum states. Microsoft has also made significant steps towards improving the development layer of quantum computing. By the end of 2017, Microsoft announced its development kit for quantum computing programming.
In May 2019, Microsoft announced that its quantum development kit with libraries and instructions for quantum development had been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Additionally, the Microsoft team has open-sourced its Q# compiler, language, and simulator for developers too.
Finally, Google operates a D-Wave quantum computer from their Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab, which is hosted by the universities space research association and NASA. In 2018, Google announced that it had designed a new quantum processing solution called Bristlecone. This incredible 72 qubit device is a significant improvement on many of the other options on the market. The closest competitor at the time was the IBM 50 qubit machine.
Google has also presented a custom-made circuit for quantum computing at the IEEE conference in San Francisco. The new quantum circuit operates with cryptographic enclosures to support the scaling up of quantum computer systems for the years to come.