The quantum computing market is being driven by the growing need for large data modeling, simulation of complex data and of course the breaking of any known form of encryption. These three areas have led to billions of dollars spent and of course technology clashes between the US & China. The race is on and given the sheer scale of spending it’s very clear quantum computing is going to play a large part in the balance of global power and in our daily lives.
The quantum computing market today is led by a collection of very well funded companies like Google, Microsoft, AWS, D-Wave, IBM and of course a lot of Department of Defense funding for the various quantum computing efforts behind the curtain of our Government. As well, we have large nation states like China and Russia with brilliant engineers and technology that is rival if not more advanced than US led efforts. One thing is clear – the quantum market is heating up and it’s expected that by 2030 the enterprise quantum computing marketplace will be worth in excess of $9.1 billion. That’s just a subset of the market. So quantum computing is going to be a very, very large future market.
So lets look at what some of the key players are doing and how things are advancing with the United States based market leaders IBM, Google, Microsoft, Intel and Amazon.
IBM: IBM has developed the IBM Q quantum computer that boasts a 53-qubit (quantum bit) computer that is clearly aimed at business and academia markets. IBM recently announced a partnership with the University of Tokyo to form the Japan-IBM Quantum Partnership, with the goal of growing the capabilities of the IBM Q platform. IBM is also in partnership with Wells Fargo to transform the financial services industry by providing faster, more intelligent and more secure banking solutions.
With IBM’s strong patent portfolio and leading research in quantum it’s very clear IBM is a major player in the quantum space and will be focusing efforts on expanding the capability of it’s quantum computing platform.
Google: Google had a very big year in 2019 when it announced they had reached the coveted quantum supremacy. A milestone where they demonstrated a quantum computer could perform calculations that a traditional classical super computer could not. This was a very, very big deal. Although quantum researchers like those at IBM disputed the claims it’s very clear Google did in fact reach the quantum supremacy before IBM and is clearly making strides to emerge as one of the leaders in quantum computing.
Google is also trying to lead with the software built on top of quantum computing. It announced recently the open-source Python developer toolkit named Cirq, Google is helping developers experiment with quantum computing and is aiding in the development of exciting new algorithms. Google is still doing a lot of ongoing research and is developing new use cases for Google’s Bristlecone universal quantum computer that is a 72 qubit machine. This is at the heart of Google’s quantum efforts and I’m sure we will hear later this year or even early next year the qubit count increasing as Google adopts quantum chain technology to daisy chain multiple quantum computers together for even larger qubit counts.
Microsoft: Although most of Microsoft’s attention is spent on Azure consumption and the roll-out of platform products it’s very clear Microsoft has entered the quantum computing space and announced Azure Quantum which is a diverse set of services. Microsoft has partnerships already in place with 1QBit, Honeywell, IonQ, and QCI. It’s very clear Microsoft’s goal is to bring together leading quantum hardware and develop software.
Microsoft has a Quantum Development Kit, is working on a quantum programming language called Q# or Q-sharp. Microsoft’s goal appears to be creating a universal quantum computer with a solid foundation of software that developers can leverage. You cannot deny Microsoft’s leadership in software and believe they are certainly a company to watch in this space as the market starts to define itself.
Intel: Intel still remains an incredible trail blazer in computing and there is no doubt Intel has it’s future set in the direction of quantum computing. Intel Labs in concert with QuTech recently unveiled the “Horse Ridge” cryogenic control chip that is aimed at the commercialization of quantum computing. This exciting new chip has perfected the cooling problem that quantum computers face given the vast amount of power they consume when processing. Also, the fact Intel is building it’s quantum computing as a chip versus a large system is also unique. So we know their long-term ambition is the mass markets.
If or should I say ‘when’ Intel perfects it’s quantum chip technology they could quickly emerge as the leading hardware player in this space and could open the floodgates to billions in new revenues once the software catches up to the hardware.
Amazon: Due to market pressures and not wanting to be left out in the high-tech race Amazon has announced it’s quantum computing ambitions. Amazon Braket is a managed quantum computing service that enables customers of AWS to explore, and experiment with quantum computers. Amazon is using the D-Wave quantum computer in tandem with partners IonQ and Rigetti. Amazon’s idea of ‘platformizing’ quantum computing will certainly help customers take the ‘quantum leap’ and give customers developers an easy to onboard solution using a core set of algorithms. It will be fun to see how Amazon competes against other very well funded efforts from rivals Google and Microsoft.
What’s very clear is the quantum computing market is heating up and many of the most admired tech companies in the United States are upping the ante on their quantum computing efforts. Still, one has to wonder what’s happening behind the curtain of large nation states like China and Russia that are far ahead of our stateside efforts. In fact, China is finalizing the construction of it’s massive new multi-billion dollar quantum computing research center. As well, China is currently leading the quantum patent race with over 492 patents compared to only 248 patents in the United States.
Ultimately, we all know why there is a quantum computing race. It’s all about holding the keys to all the world’s data and being able to unlock any encrypted piece of information touching the internet or cloud. That’s the real story behind quantum computing. My concern is who will control it’s use and will these players resist the temptations that come from total access to the world’s encrypted information? A power worth potentially trillions of dollars. Thankfully, Secured2 is ready for this and has a way to eliminate the risk of quantum computers breaking encryption to access your data. It’s available now! 🙂