QUANTUM COMPUTING COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

QUANTUM COMPUTING COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

IonQ

Overview

  • IonQ was founded in 2015 by Jungsang Kim and Christopher Monroe.
  • The company is still mostly focused on research and development, however, they recently began offering quantum computing products via Microsoft and Amazon marketplaces.
  • As of 2019, the company had begun to focus on bringing their quantum computers to market for industries such as chemistry, medicine, finance, logistics and others through the formation of strategic partnerships.
  • IonQ is unique for their use of trapped ions, which are suspended by electromagnets. This makes it easier for the company to create qubits and allows their computers to run at room temperature. However, this approach also means that their computers run slower than other quantum computers in development currently, but the company says that this is less important because their computer can perform more powerful computations than competitors.
  • IonQ has multiple partnerships, including with Amazon Web Services as one of their quantum computing providers for Amazon Braket and Microsoft’s Azure Quantum offering, which first brought IonQ’s quantum computers to market.

Achievements and Patents

  • IonQ is also in partnership with Duke University and the University of Maryland for research and development of their quantum computers.
  • The most significant achievement of IonQ is their development (in December 2018) of the “most powerful [quantum computing] system built to date.” This was following their development of the “first programmable quantum computer in 2016.”
  • In May 2019, IonQ announced the hiring of a new CEO, Peter Chapman. Chapman is the former Director of Engineering for Amazon Prime and was hired for his expertise in forming strategic partnerships, engineering, and artificial intelligence.
  • In March 2019, IonQ published the results of testing on their computers using the Bernstein-Vazirani algorithm and the Hidden Shift algorithm. These results showed that their computer could “solve significantly more complex problems with greater accuracy than results published for any other quantum computer.”
  • In February 2019, IonQ created the first “quantum computer simulation of the water molecule.”
  • IonQ holds many patents, especially when also considering patents held by the founders and by the University Of Maryland, College Park, a research partner of IonQ. One of the most recent patents is for a “Quantum computer architecture based on multi-qubit gates.”
  • Christopher Monroe also holds patents, including one issued in 2008 for an “Ion trap in a semiconductor chip” and one issued in 2018 for a “Fault tolerant scalable modular quantum computer architecture with an enhanced control of multi-mode couplings between trapped ion qubits.”

Marketing

  • The key audience for IonQ is government and industry leaders in industries such as medicine, chemistry, energy, logistics and others with a demand for large computational power.
  • IonQ markets their computer as “The World’s Most Advanced Quantum Computer.”
  • IonQ has recently Tweeted promoting their partnership with Amazon Web Services, for example: “Our quantum computers are now available for everyone to use via Amazon Braket!”
  • In terms of marketing tactics, IonQ is focused on courting well-respected business press (like Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, Reuters and the Baltimore Business Journal) to highlight the amount of funding the company has received and position themselves above more well-known competitors, including IBM, Google, and Rigetti.
  • They utilize content marketing via their online publications as well as social media marketing, mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Rigetti

Overview

  • Rigetti Computing, founded in 2013, is focused on designing, manufacturing and marketing full-stack quantum computers. While the company is still executing research and development, they are also actively marketing their product to businesses in multiple industries.
  • Rigetti is unique as being the “only quantum-first company”, developing standalone full-stack quantum computers. They are also focusing on the practicality of these computers, with a focus on decreasing the time for commercial use of quantum computing power.
  • Rigetti is also unique in their coupling of quantum processing with classical computing systems. All resources are available through Rigetti’s Quantum Cloud Services platform, allowing users to both develop and run quantum-classical programs.
  • Rigetti is partnered with Amazon Web Services as one of three quantum-computing platform providers.
  • Rigetti is a member of the Chicago Quantum Exchange.
  • Rigetti is a core industry partner with the Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems Center (SQMS) led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab.
  • Rigetti formed a partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in March 2020 after winning a DARPA grant for $8.6 million to “develop a full-stack system with proven quantum advantage for solving real world problems.”

Achievements and Patents

  • One key achievement of Rigetti is Forest 1.0, “the world’s first full-stack programming and execution environment for quantum/classical computing.” Forest 1.0 was released in 2017.
  • Another key achievement of Rigetti was the creation of Fab 1, also in 2017. Fab 1 is the “world’s first commercial quantum integrated circuit fab.”
  • In November 2019, Rigetti and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia were able to show “for the first time, how a quantum computer can optimize a portfolio rebalancing strategy, including real-world factors such as the number of portfolio assets, total investment value, and trading costs.”
  • In September 2020, Rigetti announced that they would be developing the first commercial quantum computer in the UK through a three-year program in partnership with Oxford Instruments, University of Edinburgh, quantum software start-up Phasecraft, and Standard Chartered Bank.
  • Rigetti & Co holds many patents, most assigned to either the founder Chad Tyler Rigetti or William J. Zeng, former head of product development. One recent patent was titled “Operating a multi-dimensional array of qubit devices.”

Marketing

  • Rigetti is focused on industry leaders in the pharmaceutical, finance, agriculture, aerospace and energy industries, as well as the government sector.
  • Rigetti’s messaging focuses on highlighting their technology’s ability to solve global problems while also highlighting that it can be used by “everyone.”
  • Rigetti focuses on sharing news articles from respected publications about their company on social media as well as their website.
  • Based on a job description for Head of Communications for Rigetti, the company’s marketing is based on sharing their fascinating story with “customers, partners, developers, and other core audiences.”
  • Rigetti utilizes social media including GitHub, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Amazon Web Service’s Braket

Overview

  • Amazon Web Service Braket provides a “vendor-agnostic view of quantum cloud computing.” Currently, Amazon has not released any plans to build their own quantum computing hardware, instead providing access to the hardware of their quantum computing partners for the masses.
  • AWS is a very recent entrant into the quantum computing market, having only been launched in August 2020.
  • Braket is run in partnership with three quantum computing companies — IonQ, D-Wave and Rigetti.

Achievements and Patents

  • Since Braket was only launched in August 2020, it has not had many major achievements. However, the next expected achievement is to make the service available in more locations.
  • Amazon Technologies holds many patents, however, the research team was unable to locate any specifically tied to Braket.

Marketing

  • The audience for Amazon Braket is developers, industry leaders and academic researchers.
  • Amazon’s messaging about the service includes highlighting how quantum computing could solve computation problems that current computer systems cannot complete, including in industries such as “chemical engineering, material science, drug discovery, financial portfolio optimization, and machine learning”. They argue that by making quantum computing power available to more people, these solutions could be found faster.
  • Amazon markets Braket as part of their full suite of Amazon Web Services. They highlight that with Braket, users can get started quickly, experiment with different quantum technologies, “run hybrid quantum and classical algorithms,” and use quantum computing on the cloud. Additionally, users can obtain help with quantum computations through the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab.
  • Amazon relies heavily on press releases and news articles to market their Braket service.
  • In one video highlighting the new platform, AWS technology VP Bill Vass described Braket as a “launch pad for people to go explore quantum computing.”

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