June 21, 2020


Quantum.Tech Digital Week Recap



Good Morning, This week the Quantum.Tech conference went digital and was held as a virtual event, with Archer staff accessing the event, and Archer a key conference partner. The purpose of the Quantum.Tech Digital Week was to continue to drive forward the commercialisation of quantum technology, and to provide a global, annual meeting place for the quantum ecosystem.

Archer’s quantum technology business unit is focused on the Company’s 12CQ technology, which aims to build a quantum computing processor chip that would operate at room-temperature onboard modern-day devices. The successful development of the 12CQ chip could allow widespread ownership and use of quantum computing powered devices.

Disruptive and revolutionary growth

Keynote speaker Prof. Graeme Malcolm, Founder of CEO of M Square, provided a jaw-dropping revelation from McKinsey forecasting the quantum technology industry to grow at 27% CAGR with a projected combined market volume of US$1.2 trillion by 2030 – nearly double the value reported by BCG at the September Quantum.Tech event. Simply put, ‘quantum computing’ in the future would most likely become ‘computing’.

‘If you build it, they will come’

The IBM team was led by Bob Sutor (VP, IBM Q Strategy) with a focus on applications of quantum technology. Sutor emphasised the importance of “authenticity”, in the sense of not falling for the hype and overselling within the field. While Sutor appreciated the need for promises, projections, and future plans, the only thing that truly matters is an established track record of achievement.

Sutor highlighted the emerging market dominance of the IBM Q Ecosystem, with dozens of companies and academic institutions actively using IBM’s superconducting qubit processor hardware via cloud access. In total, Sutor estimates that to date, around 150+ companies are working on quantum technology projects worldwide. Archer is the only Australian company building a quantum computer processor chip to join (by invitation) the global IBM Q Network as an ecosystem partner.

Quantum ‘supremacy’ – use sparingly

Google unsurprisingly made last year’s demonstration of quantum supremacy their key focus (claimed to be achieved on the 54-qubit superconducting “Sycamore” system). Google significantly toned down their initial supremacy claim that the same problem (random sampling problem) would have taken “10,000 years” compared to IBM’s most advanced supercomputer, instead stating that: it cannot be shown that any classical algorithm or system could have solved this problem in a time not substantially exceeding the 200 seconds of the google QC.

Google unveiled its soon-to-be-launched quantum cloud service dubbed the “Cirq” programming platform. Google’s focus was on their “Application Discovery” program partnering with, believe it or not, large companies, to identify the most relevant future application fields. Big and small alike, the partnership model seems to be the preferred early-stage entry point to capture market share.

Software loves hardware, and hardware loves software

Interestingly, Amazon, who only recently entered the quantum tech market via “Amazon Bracket” based on their Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform is positioning themselves as a customer-focused solutions provider (“Quantum Solutions Lab”), that is hardware ‘agnostic’. However, Amazon contrary to the agnostic claim, has recently announced a long-term plan on collaborative development of quantum hardware.

Applications in materials discovery featured strongly for quantum software developers and materials technology companies alike; BASF, Zapata, Honeywell etc., in the help to fight against climate change (in the fields of advanced chemical and materials science) as well as optimisation of smart electricity grids and logistics.

There is a hand-and-glove relationship between quantum computing, the financial services and telecommunications industry. As we know too well in Australia, there is increased concern about the impacts disruptive technologies like quantum computing may have on future digital financial transactions and communications. Global economies and national security will depend on near-term quantum security strategies proposed at the event, including the development of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) while simultaneously developing/validating quantum-secure algorithms in the longer term.

Many of the applications proposed by the software and algorithm gurus would also strongly benefit consumer and business devices that operate at room temperature, and therefore would require quantum computing chips that operate at room temperature on board modern devices – not just bulky ridiculously expensive set-ups that can then only be owned by government, military, and multinationals.

Uncertainty is the new certainty

The quantum computing economy continues to grow at a rapid pace, and it is critical to be a first mover, as it offers the opportunity to capture the largest potential market share. Developing quantum technology that can solve useful problems for businesses, consumers, and governments, will no doubt accelerate the widescale adoption of quantum computing, which is well and truly happening around the world, with Australia at the forefront of this paradigm shift.

It was wonderful to access the Quantum.Tech digital week, and we look forward to updating you with exciting news in the coming editions, with commentary and contributions from Archer staff.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Mohammad Choucair, FRACI FRSN GAICD
Chief Executive Officer
Archer Materials Limited (ASX:AXE)


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