Quantum Technology Emerges From the Lab Into Real World to Spark a Mini Start-Up Boom
(WashingtonPost) Technology is starting to seep out of academic labs and into the real world. Several companies are making progress developing quantum computers and are selling access to the machines via the cloud. Software ventures are cropping up to write programs for the powerful new computers. .
Jeanne Whalen, Washington Post reporter who covers business around the world, discusses the state of the quantum technology sector and its emergence into out of the labs “the real world”. Whalen references the University of Chicago and partners that just launched Duality, the nation’s first program to support quantum-tech start-ups. IQT-News covers Duality’s Launch here.
Whalen goes on to explain the competition is global, with Europe and China also pouring money into quantum technology. In Canada, the University of Toronto has launched its own program to support quantum-tech start-ups.
Companies including IBM, Google, Honeywell and IonQ are making progress harnessing qubits for early stage computers, some of which users can access online.
IBM now has about 20 quantum computers hooked up to the cloud and is offering free access to about half of them so researchers and the general public can experiment, said Bob Sutor, the company’s “chief quantum exponent.”
IBM’s higher-end machines are available to paying customers, which have included ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Daimler and Boeing, Sutor said.
IBM is also laying plans to start installing the machines on-site to its customers. Last week the company announced a health-care research partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, which will involve the delivery next year of a quantum computer to the hospital’s labs.
Amazon Web Services and Microsoft also recently began offering cloud access to quantum computers built by IonQ and other companies.
Investor interest in the field has been growing. Maryland-based IonQ, founded by the physicists Chris Monroe and Jungsang Kim in 2015, has raised tens of millions of dollars from various investment funds — most recently from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the fund backed by Bill Gates that invests in technology related to clean energy.
Breakthrough Energy is interested in quantum computing as a tool for finding new materials to enable carbon sequestration, said Monroe, chief scientist at IonQ, which has announced plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange.
ColdQuanta, another venture based in Boulder, Colo., is hoping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in investor funding in the near term, said Dan Caruso, executive chairman at the company.