The More Honeywell Flexes Its Quantum System, The Better It Gets
(By Becky Bracken) Honeywell has been using its System Model H1 quantum computing power in coordination with some of the world’s biggest companies, including Merk, DHL and BMW, to help improve everything from phone batteries and supply chain management to investment; and all parties involved are seeing benefits.
The trapped-ion-based System Model H1 hasn’t just helped corporate partners, Honeywell researchers said the know-how they’ve picked up along the way has allowed their team to quadruple the machine’s performance, the third time in nine months it has set an industry record, a new announcement said.
Honeywell measures the performance of its quantum computers with a metric called “quantum volume (QV).” The concept was developed by IBM to measure quantum computing benchmarks without regard to hardware configurations, which are still under development.
The QV score measures a combination of the number of qubits, connectivity and both gate and measurement errors.
“Quantum Volume is a single number meant to encapsulate the performance of today’s quantum computers, like a classical computer’s transistor count,” Ryan F. Mandelbaum from IBM said about the performance measurement. “The (QV) tests how well a quantum computer can run a circuit consisting of random two-qubit gates acting in parallel on a subset of the device’s qubits. These circuits have a width, meaning how many qubits are involved, and a depth, meaning the number of discrete time steps during which the circuit can run gates before the qubits decohere. The protocol allows the quantum computer to rewrite or ‘transpile’ the circuit into one that it can actually run based on its available gates and how its qubits are interconnected. The Quantum Volume protocol identifies the largest square-shaped circuit — one where the width and depth are equal — that can be run on a given quantum device.”
Honeywell Credits Milestone to Solving Partner Problems
Honeywell reported this week the H1 has set a new record QV score of 512. This is the third time in less than a year the company has set a record. The first was in June 2020, when the System Model H0 achieved a QV of 64. In September, the H1 hit 128.
“It’s a remarkable accomplishment when you consider we launched our first commercial technology less than a year ago,” said Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions. “The System Model H1 is once again the highest performing quantum computing system in the world.”
Uttley attributes the rapid advancements to projects the team has taken up with partners like Samsung, where they are using quantum computing to boost the life of phone batteries. The Honeywell quantum team along with Professor Myungshik Kim, chair of Theoretical Quantum Information Sciences at the Department of Physics at Imperial College London, set up a simulation to have the System Model H1 run “deep circuits.” Professor Kim called the results, “encouraging.” BMW used the H1 to run a Recursive Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm to mitigate industrial logistics lags and DHL, Merk and Accenture are also accessing Honeywell’s quantum technology to solve various problems.
“We learned a lot by running projects for customers and then taking the time to refine operations,” Uttley added. “By providing a workspace for our partners to explore and push the bounds of what is possible, we were able to make improvements to the hardware and eventually quadruple our quantum volume.”