Honeywells quantum computer, known as H0, scores 64 on a measurement called quantum volume. This test measures not only the total number of quantum bits (the basic elements of processing data in a quantum computer) of the machine, but also the use of these quantum bits by the machine. This result is much higher than that obtained by Raleigh in January.
Image: this chamber holds the brain of the Honeywell quantum computer
Quantum computing relies on the strange rules of atomic physics to solve the problems that ordinary classical computers can hardly solve. So far, quantum computers are mostly very difficult research projects, only in Googles narrow quantum supremacy test performance than classic computers.
But as researchers add more qubits and learn to protect them from interference, the performance of quantum computers is expected to become more powerful. According to the researchers, quantum computers are good at optimizing financial portfolios, machine learning and designing new materials such as solar panels or batteries.
Decades ago, Honeywell was primarily the top maker of mainframe computers, but it sold the business and stopped focusing on the computer industry. Until recently, the company quietly formed a team of 120 researchers in Colorado and Minnesota, and used its expertise in materials science and industrial operations to solve quantum computing problems.
Tony Uttley, President of Honeywell quantum computing, said the quantum volume of Honeywell H0 will increase from 64 million today as the company adds more qubits. You can think of quantum computers as auditoriums with lots of seats, and now were trying to fill them, he said
Utley also revealed that Honeywell is developing a system called H1, which will perform better than H0.
The number of qubits in a quantum computer is very important. The more quantum bits there are, the more solutions researchers can use to help solve more complex problems. But quantum bit number itself is not a perfect measure of computer performance, which is why IBM proposed quantum volume.
IBMs quantum volume benchmark is one of the first attempts to solve this problem, and as quantum computers become more powerful, other benchmarks will inevitably be eliminated, said James Sanders, research analyst But for now, at least its easy to compare the performance of IBM and Honeywell.
IBM now has 18 quantum computers, and it has made a promise to improve performance with a plan to double the number of quantum bits a year. Dario Gil, head of research at IBM, said IBM is confident in its approach, but thinks Honeywells approach has potential.
Honeywells quantum computer uses a design called an ion trap that can hold qubits. IBM and Google use a very different approach, called superconducting qubits, that requires quantum computers to be cooled to absolute zero. Microsoft and Intel are looking for other ways to outperform their competitors. It is not clear which method will win.
Utley of Honeywell said different aspects of computing problems could be outsourced to different types of quantum computers. To be sure, quantum computers will go hand in hand with classical computers to help improve their capabilities, rather than replace them completely. (small)
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