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2021: The Year’s Top Ten Stories in Quantum Computing and Quantum Technology

2021 was a year of highs and lows.

Except in quantum computing and quantum technology, where the research institutions and businesses involved in turning quantum science into practical uses seemed to achieve one new high after another.

And while it’s too, too early in a too, too young industry, 2021 may go down in history as an inflection point for the quantum industry. Time will tell — but here are some of the key news stories from The Quantum Insider that suggests that a real turning point has been reached.

StoQ Market? IonQ Takes Quantum to Wall Street

Quantum Wall StreetIonQ became the first full-stack quantum computing company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The move began with another giant story in quantum when IonQ announced it would go public through a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, early in 2021. Peter Chapman, President and CEO on IonQ described the moment this way: “The era of quantum computing has arrived, and IonQ is leading the way with our revolutionary trapped ion technology.”

Quantum Leaders Entangled to Become Quantinuum

Quantinuum LogoHoneywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum officially became Quantinuum. The companies announced the merger of the two companies in June. Separately, the two companies were leaders in quantum hardware and software. Honeywell Quantum Solutions (HQS) is a pioneer in ion-trap quantum computer development and Cambridge Quantum has been in the forefront of the creation of quantum software and the commercialization of quantum technology.

Quantum SPAC Attack: Rigetti Announces SPAC

Rigetti LabRigetti entered into a merger agreement with a publicly traded Special Purpose Acquisition Company — SPAC — company, Supernova Partners Acquisition Company II, Ltd. The company will be named Rigetti Computing, Inc. and its common stock is expected to be listed on the NYSE under the ticker “RGTI.” The deal is estimated to value Rigetti at $1.5 billion. The Rigetti move continued a trend of quantum companies looking to SPACs as a way to go public.

Predictions For a (Quantum) Cloudy UK

Ilana WisbyOxford Quantum Circuits — OQC — announced that the company has launched the UK’s first commercially available Quantum Computing-as-a-Service built entirely using its proprietary technology. The move is a boost for the UK’s quantum goal to be a leader in quantum and a benefit for the country’s businesses that want to explore the possibilities of quantum computing.

China’s Origin Quantum Eyes 1,000-Plus Qubit Device

quantum originChina’s Origin Quantum delivered its roadmap this year, which listed the development of a 1024-qubit quantum computer by 2025 as a key goal. The company’s roadmap predicts the company would launch a 64-bit superconducting quantum chip and further improvements would continue in three stages over the next few years.  Origin is located in China’s Hefei High-tech Zone, a Silicon Valley, or sorts, of China.

615 Million Euro Investment Boosts Quantum In Netherlands

Quantum Delta NLThe Dutch government moved to strengthen the country’s position in quantum computing with a €615 million investment in the technology. The infusion will bolster country’s charge to build out and attract talent. The funds come at a pivotal time, officials said. The Netherlands is already home to a bustling quantum ecosystem, but officials and researchers hope that these funds push quantum beyond borders and help shape a global industry.

Double Supremacy! China Sets Superconducting Record

China QuantumA Chinese team of researchers reported that they demonstrated quantum supremacy yet again with a superconducting quantum computer. They named the computer Zuchongzhi. The researchers perform random quantum circuits sampling for benchmarking on the superconducting quantum processor developed by the team. They reported on their efforts initially in ArXiv before publishing it in a scientific journal later in 2021.

IBM Hits Triple Digit Qubits

IBM, Institutions in India Join Hands to Develop Quantum Computing Skilling in IndiaIBM unveiled its “Eagle” quantum computer processor in 2021. The 127-qubit quantum processor contains nearly twice the qubits of the company’s 65-qubit Hummingbird processor and smashed through the 100-qubit limit, which many experts believe is critical to achieving practical results on a quantum device. The company expects more advances as it follows its roadmap to 1,000-qubit quantum computers and beyond.

The Finland Five

Finland VTTVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland reported the country’s 5-qubit quantum computer is operational. Together with the quantum computing hardware startup IQM, VTT said the computer will enable the building of quantum computers that will be both scalable and easier to manufacture, allowing more companies to begin their quantum computing journey.

AWS Opens Its Center for Quantum Computing

The AWS Center for Quantum Computing is located on the Caltech campus in Pasadena, CA.AWS announced that it has opened the AWS Center for Quantum Computing in Pasadena, California. Investigations at the AWS Center for Quantum Technologies will be focused on moving the quantum era away from the NISQ — noisy intermediate-stage quantum — to fault-tolerant machines and operations.

And the Self-Serving Runner-up Award for 2021: The Quantum Insider Launches Its Market Intelligence Platform

Matching the explosive growth of the quantum industry, the quantum technology’s leading media and data provider announced today that it will formally launch its market intelligence platform and rebrand the company to reflect its integrated intelligence offering: The Quantum Insider. The Quantum Daily, which launched in 2019, has built an unparalleled reputation in the industry for providing commercial news focused on the quantum technology market. As the business has grown, it has increasingly provided data and advisory support for its clients which include key quantum stakeholders, national consortiums, venture capital investors and government organizations.

If you found this article to be informative, you can explore more current quantum news here, exclusives, interviews, and podcasts.

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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