2014 UK start-up Cambridge Quantum (CQ, formerly Cambridge Quantum Computing) and US technology provider Honeywell have announced reaching three significant milestones in quantum technology.

Tackling these scientific and technical issues demonstrates that we are “closer than expected to large-scale quantum computing with commercially viable business and industrial applications”, claim the companies.

CQ and Honeywell’s Quantum Solutions division merged last month in a deal that is expected to be finalised in Q3 2021, forming what is described as world’s largest standalone quantum computing provider.

The three “breakthrough” announcements are:

A method of achieving quantum error correction (QEC) repeatedly and in real-time. This is significant as noise in quantum circuits is a longstanding problem for the nascent industry.

Honeywell researchers have also achieved a Quantum Volume of 1024 with their 10-qubit ion-trap hardware, doubling the existing industry performance record set by the company in March.

Meanwhile, partner CQ has announced the development of a proprietary algorithm that solves optimisation problems, enabling quantum computers to use their few qubits (at present) to perform some tasks up to 100 times faster than classical machines.

The new algorithm, which the company says will benefit a range of sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain, and utilities, can run on today’s noisy, intermediate-scale quantum computers.

“Faster quantum algorithms can have a profound impact on a variety of industries that face complicated optimisation problems,” said Ilyas Khan, CEO and founder of Cambridge Quantum.

“A very good example is steel manufacturing where global steel companies typically produce a variety of products. Manufacturing at this scale and complexity on-time at minimal cost requires complicated scheduling of several production processes that are challenging for even the largest classical computing systems currently available.

“Logistics companies, airlines, and in a slightly different context, diversified financial services companies and banks need the same type of solution. By optimising these processes, companies and, ultimately, their customers and consumers in general, can see the positive effects.”

This month Cambridge Quantum also became the first company to use fellow varsity spin-out Oxford Quantum Circuits’ (OQC) new quantum computing as a service (QCaaS) cloud platform, which was launched last week. CQ is using it to demonstrate its IronBridge quantum cybersecurity system.

OCQ claims its own quantum computer is the first proprietary system of its type to be built in the UK. It is now available to strategic partners and enterprise clients in a private cloud.