Honeywell Debuts Quantum System, ‘Subscription’ Business Model, and Glimpse of Roadmap

By John Russell

October 29, 2020

After outlining its ambitious plans to jump into the quantum computing fray last spring, Honeywell today introduced is first quantum computer roughly on schedule, the System Model H1, which features 10 fully-connected qubits and has a quantum volume (QV) rating of 128. QV is a performance metric developed by IBM and the QV of 128 is the highest yet reported. IBM’s highest rated systems are QV 64.

Honeywell is betting big on trapped-ion qubit technology as various qubit technologies compete for sway. The trapped-ion approach depends upon manipulating single atoms (ions); the ions are inherently identical and, among other things, are somewhat less susceptible to the “noise” that effects all quantum systems. Trapped-ion qubits, for example, tend to have longer coherence times but also have longer switching times.

The majority of quantum systems being developed today use semiconductor-based superconducting qubits and requires near-zero (Kelvin) temps. Among the leaders there include IBM, Google, and Rigetti Systems. Honeywell and start-up IonQ are among prominent trapped-ion technology users.

Honeywell quantum computer control room

Honeywell is touting its control systems expertise as a key strength in pursuing quantum computing technology. The company says its H1 has unique capabilities such as mid-circuit measurement and qubit re-use that derive, at least in part, from Honeywell’s control systems expertise. The H1’s achievement of such a high QV value seems to be strong indicator of Honeywell’s contention. QV is a composite metric with many elements – gate error rates, decoherence times, qubit connectivity, operating software efficiency, etc. – baked into it. IBM’s highest rated system today is QV 64 (see HPCwire article).

Honeywell restated its commitment to rapidly increase its system’s QV by “at least” an order of magnitude annually for the next five years.

Quantum watcher Bob Sorensen of Hyperion Research, said, “Honeywell is perhaps the most horizontally integrated company currently working on quantum computing system development today. Unlike the bulk of other QC hardware developers, Honeywell can tap into the collective expertise across their broad technology and product base, which includes aerospace, materials, and manufacturing, to support the development of their QC systems. However, the jury is still out on determining the extent to which Honeywell benefits from using these more general-purpose in-house capabilities versus tapping into outside sources that explicitly support the QC supply chain ecosystem.”

Sorensen was impressed with Honeywell’s approach and embrace of QV as a metric, “The announcement of an industry-leading QV of 128 clearly delineates Honeywell’s committed to demonstrated performance gains on a regular cadence, especially when combined with its efforts to build confidence of a long-term commitment QC development. It is important to note that Honeywell’s emphasis here is not limited exclusively to touting qubit counts. Indeed, this QV number is based on a relatively low qubit count configuration at ten, below the qubit count currently available from many other QC supplier aspirants. Here, Honeywell is trying to move the needle on QC assessments based on a larger, more comprehensive set of parameters. Discussions about the relative strengths and weaknesses of quantum volume aside, it is encouraging to see a major QC developer embracing a more sophisticated QC benchmark.”

Business models for providing access to emerging quantum systems are still evolving. IBM and D-Wave (quantum annealing systems) both sell standalone systems but also offer web-based access IBM/D-Wave-owned and operated quantum computers. Most observers say the latter approach is likely to dominate, at least near-term, because quantum computers can be tricky to operate and maintain and because advances are happening so quickly that it makes more economic sense for vendors to provide access to the latest and greatest systems rather than having buyers struggle with an endless upgrade cycle.

Honeywell is making the H1 directly accessible to enterprises via a cloud API, as well as through Microsoft Azure Quantum, and channel partners Zapata Computing (collaboration and workflow) and Cambridge Quantum Computing (software and algorithms). A subscription service provides customers access to Honeywell’s most advanced quantum computer at the time.

Currently, there are two subscription levels (standard and premium) based on timed access to the quantum computer. “Standard” includes eight dedicated hours of time per month, unrestricted queuing; “premium” has 16 hours per month with unrestricted queuing. During the dedicated hours, subscribers also have access to Honeywell scientists for real-time cooperation. Honeywell say pricing is only disclosed under NDA and that the subscription model is available now.

“By approaching the commercial landscape through a subscription-based model, enterprise customers ensure they are accessing Honeywell’s most advanced system available,” said Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions in the official announcement.

Honeywell says its methodology enables it to systematically and continuously ‘upgrade’ the H1 generation of systems through increased qubit count, higher fidelities and unique feature modifications. Uttley likened this approach to a streaming service, “Imagine if the streaming service to which you subscribed became twice as good in a few weeks, ten times as good in a few months and thousands of times better in a few quarters.” The company says it has already begun integration activities for its H2 generation as well as development activities in support of its H3 generation.

Spectrometer subcomponent of Honeywell’s H1 trapped ion quantum computer

Virtually all current quantum computers remain R&D machines in the sense that putting them to practical use in a production environment is still distant. That said, several quantum system makers have begun showing promising early progress. Moreover, there’s an expanding quantum ecosystem of companies providing tools, software, and consulting to help the growing potential user community.

Talking about its work with Merck and Accenture, Honeywell said, “These partners represent the far-reaching use cases of quantum computing in the pharmaceutical and logistics fields in addition to the internal use cases that Honeywell is working across its own Aerospace and Performance Materials and Technologies businesses.”

Honeywell provided these testimonials:

  • Kam Chana, director, computational platforms, Merck, is quoted saying, “It was illuminating to experience the properties of real quantum hardware first-hand. Seeing one of Orquestra’s native QML algorithms run on Honeywell’s H1 system was an exciting moment for Merck in our journey to quantum readiness. The combination of Orquestra’s programming environment with quantum hardware opens up quantum computing widely to our data scientists and brings new approaches for development of AI/ML based models.”
  • Marco Pistoia of JPMorgan Chase said, “Our partnership will allow us, as well as the broader financial services industry, to further develop key elements aligned with fraud detection services as well as further optimizing investment decisions for our clients.”
  • Justin Baird, head of innovation, Asia Pacific, for DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation, said,  “We believe that addressing tomorrow’s global logistics challenges requires an unwavering commitment to advancing some of today’s most promising technologies, and that includes Quantum Computing. By attempting to solve computationally complex problems with Honeywell, we have taken another step towards exploring improving operational efficiencies, and leveraging quantum computing’s potential to innovate within the logistics industry.”

Turning a few of these pilot efforts into commercially valuable results is, of course, what the entire quantum computing community is pushing for.

Sorensen said, “There is no doubt that Honeywell’s large and diverse customer base could be a significant advantage, serving as a key testbed and development environment for the advancement of QC uses cases across a wide range of critical sectors. However, it is too early in the quantum computing  life-cycle for any user to lock into any one vendor, and as such, Honeywell needs to maintain, or even expand, its partnership base in the QC sector to ensure that users can have easy access to the most promising developments in the sector including those than may not originate from a Honeywell lab.”

Feature image: Optical signal conditioning for use when interacting with trapper ion qubits (credit: Honeywell)

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Nvidia Aims Clara Healthcare at Drug Discovery, Imaging via DGX

April 12, 2021

Nvidia Corp. continues to expand its Clara healthcare platform with the addition of computational drug discovery and medical imaging tools based on its DGX A100 platform, related InfiniBand networking and its AGX develop Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fledged partner to CPUs and GPUs in delivering advanced computi Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” The newly announced SuperPods come just two years after the Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fle Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire