Agnostiq, the first-of-its-kind quantum computing SaaS startup, has announced its latest benchmark research which analyzed the state of quantum computing hardware to determine its current and future practicality as a mainstream solution. The findings show that quantum computing hardware has improved over time and that application-specific benchmarks can serve as a more practical yardstick for comparing the capabilities of alternative types of quantum hardware.
“This is clear evidence that things are heading in the right direction for quantum optimization,” says Jack Baker, a quantum algorithms researcher at Aqnostiq. “With quantum hardware receiving increasing interest and investment every year, these performance increases are poised to accelerate.”
With the steady increase of quantum bits (qubits) made available by hardware providers in recent years, the relative performance and practical value of quantum computers has been difficult to assess. General benchmark studies have been conducted and deemed inconclusive, as they are not predictive of performance.
Agnostiq utilized application-specific benchmarks and conducted its research using a portfolio optimization task to determine whether quantum computers have improved over time for specific use cases. The team discovered that the performance of gate-model quantum computers has improved in recent years for performing optimization problems, which is further indication the field is on a path towards commercialization. For more complex variations of the algorithm, the team also discovered that solution quality can improve as more quantum resources are added. This was a novel and previously unseen result. These findings should encourage organizations who depend on large scale optimization, simulation, or machine learning for mission critical tasks to invest in quantum computing technologies.
Among the findings:
- High quality portfolios were produced using quantum circuits requiring larger numbers of gates (operations on the qubits) than previously demonstrated. Since increasing the number of gates produces more noise, this shows the quality of hardware has improved for performing combinatorial optimization.
- The peak solution quality was observed at higher depth (p=4) on 3 qubits on an IonQ trapped ion machine.
- As a non-trivial effect of studying application dependent performance, an IBM machine with the lowest qubit quality (quantum volume = 8) performed best of all the IBM machines tested.
- Quantum computers presently give variable results depending on the time they were accessed. Variability needs to be considered with all benchmarking numbers, as it can be as high as 29%.
“We are at an interesting point where every hardware paradigm has its own set of performance metrics that they are optimizing against, and each of them is improving across different dimensions” says Agnostiq’s head of R&D, Santosh Kumar Radha. “We recognized a need to better understand how these non-trivial improvements translate to real-world applications.”
Fueled by the technology’s rising popularity, the global market for quantum computing is expected to reach $5 billion by 2028. Quantum computing has the capabilities to speed up computations in the coming years, which is anticipated to accelerate innovations in many industry verticals. But it remains largely inaccessible to the enterprise, due mainly to the novelty of the technology and the high level of expertise required to build applications. Agnostiq is building a suite of tools to lower the barriers for enterprises to enter the world of quantum computing.
The company recently released Covalent, the first open-source workflow orchestration platform designed specifically for quantum and high-performance computing. Covalent aims to make quantum and high-performance computing resources more accessible to practitioners, including researchers, machine learning engineers and data scientists. The company has secured $5 million in funding to date. Investors include Differential Ventures, Scout Ventures, Boost VC, Tensility Venture Partners, and Green Egg Ventures.