Article by: Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio
The merger brings together two companies that have specialized in complementary areas, namely hardware and software.
Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum have made an important leap into that Quantum computing with plans to merge and form an independent company combining Honeywell’s Trapped Ion hardware with Cambridge Quantum software platforms.
Honeywell’s quantum computer uses trapped ion technology, which uses numerous individually charged atoms (ions) to store quantum information. Honeywell’s system uses electromagnetic fields to hold (capture) each ion so it can be manipulated and encoded with laser pulses. These high-performance operations require in-depth expertise in multiple disciplines.
Honeywell caught the attention of the quantum computing world last year when it launched its first quantum computer model. On the other hand, Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) focuses on the development of software solutions for quantum computers.
The newly formed company will continue to work with Honeywell to create the ion traps needed to power quantum computers. In an interview with EE Times Europe, Duncan Jones, Head of Quantum Cybersecurity at Cambridge Quantum, said that quantum computers now need excellent hardware and software that are able to do the right programming through Python, for example with different configurations.
The merger brings together two companies that have specialized in complementary areas, namely hardware and software. Although CQC’s solutions will remain hardware independent, it is easy to see how controlling hardware and software will lead to better and tighter integration and faster development of both components.
Jones commented, âTo accelerate the technology, developers need some common tools that they can use. That is really our ambition. We see the next phase towards a quantum operating system, or a full layer, that developers can interact with and then use quantum computers in a much more natural way. We think there will be natural standardization, and the Honeywell agreement is designed to do just that. Our mission is to remain agnostic and work with any type of architecture at any computer manufacturer. If we can build this layer, access to quantum computers, I think it will be very useful for industry. “
The new company will offer a quantum computer and a full suite of software, including a quantum operating system. These technologies will support customer needs for improved computing in a variety of areas including cybersecurity, drug discovery and delivery, materials science, finance and optimization in all major industrial markets. The company will also focus on advancing natural language processing to take full advantage of quantum artificial intelligence.
“In the quantum computer revolution, we will be the first company with a complete solution from hardware to compilers and the operating system,” said Jones. “We think this is a big step forward and should help accelerate the adoption of quantum computers.”
Jones is currently focused on a short-term use of quantum computing in Online Safety, and particularly in the field of cryptography. He pointed out that the main challenge is algorithms based on mathematical problems that we know quantum computers cannot solve. “Industry needs to turn to these issues as the foundation for computer security,” said Jones.
Vulnerable algorithms aren’t the only threat quantum computers pose to infrastructure, however. The way in which cryptographic keys are generated must also fundamentally change.
âQuantum computers will be very good at simulating complex systems. That’s why they’re so exciting for chemistry and many other useful use cases. Unfortunately, they’ll also be good at modeling the systems we use today to generate our cryptographic keys, âsaid Jones.
Cryptographic keys essentially consist of random numbers and are only secure if no one can guess these numbers. Today we generate these keys using entropy sources that seem to provide a long series of random numbers. But when you have a powerful quantum computer, “it’s not complicated at all,” said Jones. âIt is obvious what will happen in the system and you can predict the keys that will be generated. So we have to take a completely new approach to key generation. “
The real chance lies in quantum mechanics. âIf I toss a coin in the air, it’s heads or tails. But that’s not really coincidental. If you can measure the weight of my coin, the acceleration of my thumb, the atmosphere in the room, there is no doubt which side the coin will land on, âJones said. “With a solution called IronBrige, we can now access true randomness using quantum computers and solve this long-term cybersecurity gap by generating ‘perfect’ cryptographic keys.”
Jones pointed out that there are several different random number generators. Many use laser pulse technology with detectors to correctly locate the position of zero or one. âUsually you have two detectors to get a zero and a one. If these are not exactly the same quality, if everything is not exactly right, you begin to get no real randomness. In contrast, with these quantum computers we can achieve verifiable perfect randomness, âsaid Jones.
Quantum-based cybersecurity threats are not a future problem, he added. Adversary governments and other malicious actors have already begun infiltrating systems to collect data and files for later decryption when advanced quantum computing power will be able to break current encryption standards like RSA, Jones said.
In closing, Jones said that the collaboration with Honeywell aims to accelerate this development and provide quantum keys for every use case. At the same time, it will take several years for quantum computers to develop into widespread and widespread objects, especially in terms of their operating and programming capabilities.
This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.
Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio has a Ph.D. in physics and is a telecommunications engineer and journalist. He has worked on various international projects in the field of gravitational wave research. He works with research institutions to develop data acquisition and control systems for space applications. He is the author of several books published by Springer as well as numerous scientific and technical publications on electronics design.