Quantinuum’s H-Series hits 56 physical qubits that are all-to-all connected, and departs the era of classical simulation

June 5, 2024

Quantinuum’s H-Series combines full scalability with market-leading fidelity, performance, and error correction capabilities. In a demonstration with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Quantinuum’s H2-1 with 56 qubits achieved a massive uplift in an iconic demonstration.

The first half of 2024 will go down as the period when we shed the last vestiges of the “wait and see” culture that has dominated the quantum computing industry. Thanks to a run of recent achievements, we have helped to lead the entire quantum computing industry into a new, post-classical era.

Today we are announcing the latest of these achievements: a major qubit count enhancement to our flagship System Model H2 quantum computer from 32 to 56 qubits. We also reveal meaningful results of work with our partner JPMorgan Chase & Co. that showcases a significant lift in performance.

But to understand the full importance of today’s announcements, it is worth recapping the succession of breakthroughs that confirm that we are entering a new era of quantum computing in which classical simulation will be infeasible.

A historic run

Between January and June 2024, Quantinuum’s pioneering teams published a succession of results that accelerate our path to universal fault-tolerant quantum computing. 

Our technical teams first presented a long-sought solution to the “wiring problem”, an engineering challenge that affects all types of quantum computers. In short, most current designs will require an impossible number of wires connected to the quantum processor to scale to large qubit numbers. Our solution allows us to scale to high qubit numbers with no issues, proving that our QCCD architecture has the potential to scale.

Next, we became the first quantum computing company in the world to hit “three 9s” two qubit gate fidelity across all qubit pairs in a production device. This level of fidelity in 2-qubit gate operations was long thought to herald the point at which error corrected quantum computing could become a reality. It has accelerated and intensified our focus on quantum error correction (QEC). Our scientists and engineers are working with our customers and partners to achieve multiple breakthroughs in QEC in the coming months, many of which will be incorporated into products such as the H-Series and our chemistry simulation platform, InQuanto™.

Following that, with our long-time partner Microsoft, we hit an error correction performance threshold that many believed was still years away. The System Model H2 became the first – and only – quantum computer in the world capable of creating and computing with highly reliable logical (error corrected) qubits. In this demonstration, the H2-1 configured with 32 physical qubits supported the creation of four highly reliable logical qubits operating at “better than break-even”. In the same demonstration, we also shared that logical circuit error rates were shown to be up to 800x lower than the corresponding physical circuit error rates. No other quantum computing company is even close to matching this achievement (despite many feverish claims in the past 12 months).

Pushing to the limits of supercomputing … and beyond

The quantum computing industry is departing the era when quantum computers could be simulated by a classical computer. Today, we are making two milestone announcements. The first is that our H2-1 processor has been upgraded to 56 trapped-ion qubits, making it impossible to classically simulate, without any loss of the market-leading fidelity, all-to-all qubit connectivity, mid-circuit measurement, qubit reuse, and feed forward.

The second is that the upgrade of H2-1 from 32 to 56 qubits makes our processor capable of challenging the world’s most powerful supercomputers. This demonstration was achieved in partnership with our long-term collaborator JPMorgan Chase & Co. and researchers from Caltech and Argonne National Lab.

Our collaboration tackled a well-known algorithm, Random Circuit Sampling (RCS), and measured the quality of our results with a suite of tests including the linear cross entropy benchmark (XEB) – an approach first made famous by Google in 2019 in a bid to demonstrate “quantum supremacy”. An XEB score close to 0 says your results are noisy –  and do not utilize the full potential of quantum computing. In contrast, the closer an XEB score is to 1, the more your results demonstrate the power of quantum computing. The results on H2-1 are excellent, revealing, and worth exploring in a little detail. Here is the scientific paper and the complete data on GitHub.

Better qubits, better results

Our results show how far quantum hardware has come since Google’s initial demonstration. They originally ran circuits on 53 superconducting qubits that were deep enough to severely frustrate high-fidelity classical simulation at the time, achieving an estimated XEB score of ~0.002. While they showed that this small value was statistically inconsistent with zero, improvements in classical algorithms and hardware have steadily increased what XEB scores are achievable by classical computers, to the point that classical computers can now achieve scores similar to Google’s on their original circuits.

Figure 1. At N=56 qubits, the H2 quantum computer achieves over 100x higher fidelity on computationally hard circuits compared to earlier superconducting experiments. This means orders of magnitude fewer shots are required for high confidence in the fidelity, resulting in comparable total runtimes

In contrast, we have been able to run circuits on all 56 qubits in H2-1 that are deep enough to challenge high-fidelity classical simulation while achieving an estimated XEB score of ~0.35. This >100x improvement implies the following: even for circuits large and complex enough to frustrate all known classical simulation methods, the H2 quantum computer produces results without making even a single error about 35% of the time. In contrast to past announcements associated with XEB experiments, 35% is a significant step towards the idealized 100% fidelity limit in which the computational advantage of quantum computers is clearly in sight.

This huge jump in quality is made possible by Quantinuum’s market-leading high fidelity and also our unique all-to-all connectivity. Our flexible connectivity, enabled by our QCCD architecture, enables us to implement circuits with much more complex geometries than the 2D geometries supported by superconducting-based quantum computers. This specific advantage means our quantum circuits become difficult to simulate classically with significantly fewer operations (or gates). These capabilities have an enormous impact on how our computational power scales as we add more qubits: since noisy quantum computers can only run a limited number of gates before returning unusable results, needing to run fewer gates ultimately translates into solving complex tasks with consistent and dependable accuracy.

This is a vitally important moment for companies and governments watching this space and deciding when to invest in quantum: these results underscore both the performance capabilities and the rapid rate of improvement of our processors, especially the System Model H2, as a prime candidate for achieving near-term value.

So what of the comparison between the H2-1 results and a classical supercomputer? 

A direct comparison can be made between the time it took H2-1 to perform RCS and the time it took a classical supercomputer. However, classical simulations of RCS can be made faster by building a larger supercomputer (or by distributing the workload across many existing supercomputers). A more robust comparison is to consider the amount of energy that must be expended to perform RCS on either H2-1 or on classical computing hardware, which ultimately controls the real cost of performing RCS. An analysis based on the most efficient known classical algorithm for RCS and the power consumption of leading supercomputers indicates that H2-1 can perform RCS at 56 qubits with an estimated 30,000x reduction in power consumption. These early results should be seen as very attractive for data center owners and supercomputing facilities looking to add quantum computers as “accelerators” for their users. 

Where we go next

Today’s milestone announcements are clear evidence that the H2-1 quantum processor can perform computational tasks with far greater efficiency than classical computers. They underpin the expectation that as our quantum computers scale beyond today’s 56 qubits to hundreds, thousands, and eventually millions of high-quality qubits, classical supercomputers will quickly fall behind. Quantinuum’s quantum computers are likely to become the device of choice as scrutiny continues to grow of the power consumption of classical computers applied to highly intensive workloads such as simulating molecules and material structures – tasks that are widely expected to be amenable to a speedup using quantum computers.

With this upgrade in our qubit count to 56, we will no longer be offering a commercial “fully encompassing” emulator – a mathematically exact simulation of our H2-1 quantum processor is now impossible, as it would take up the entire memory of the world’s best supercomputers. With 56 qubits, the only way to get exact results is to run on the actual hardware, a trend the leaders in this field have already embraced.

More generally, this work demonstrates that connectivity, fidelity, and speed are all interconnected when measuring the power of a quantum computer. Our competitive edge will persist in the long run; as we move to running more algorithms at the logical level, connectivity and fidelity will continue to play a crucial role in performance.

“We are entirely focused on the path to universal fault tolerant quantum computers. This objective has not changed, but what has changed in the past few months is clear evidence of the advances that have been made possible due to the work and the investment that has been made over many, many years. These results show that whilst the full benefits of fault tolerant quantum computers have not changed in nature, they may be reachable earlier than was originally expected, and crucially, that along the way, there will be tangible benefits to our customers in their day-to-day operations as quantum computers start to perform in ways that are not classically simulatable. We have an exciting few months ahead of us as we unveil some of the applications that will start to matter in this context with our partners across a number of sectors.”
– Ilyas Khan, Chief Product Officer

Stay tuned for results in error correction, physics, chemistry and more on our new 56-qubit processor.

Kaniah Konkoly-Thege

Kaniah is Chief Legal Counsel and SVP of Government Relations for Quantinuum. In her previous role, she served as General Counsel, Honeywell Quantum Solutions. Prior to Honeywell, she was General Counsel, Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technologies, LLC, and Senior Attorney, U.S. Department of Energy. She was Lead Counsel before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Kaniah holds a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and B.A., International Relations and Spanish from the College of William and Mary.

Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller is Chief Information Officer for Quantinuum. In his previous role, he served as CIO for Honeywell Quantum Solutions and led a cross-functional team responsible for Information Technology, Cybersecurity, and Physical Security. For Honeywell, Jeff has held numerous management and executive roles in Information Technology, Security, Integrated Supply Chain and Program Management. Jeff holds a B.S., Computer Science, University of Arizona. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of Commander.

Matthew Bohne

Matthew Bohne is the Vice President & Chief Product Security Officer for Honeywell Corporation. He is a passionate cybersecurity leader and executive with a proven track record of building and leading cybersecurity organizations securing energy, industrial, buildings, nuclear, pharmaceutical, and consumer sectors. He is a sought-after expert with deep experience in DevSecOps, critical infrastructure, software engineering, secure SDLC, supply chain security, privacy, and risk management.

Todd Moore

Todd Moore is the Global Vice President of Data Encryption Products at Thales. He is responsible for setting the business line and go to market strategies for an industry leading cybersecurity business. He routinely helps enterprises build solutions for a wide range of complex data security problems and use cases. Todd holds several management and technical degrees from the University of Virginia, Rochester Institute of Technology, Cornell University and Ithaca College. He is active in his community, loves to travel and spends much of his free time supporting his family in pursuing their various passions.

John Davis

Retired U.S. Army Major General John Davis is the Vice President, Public Sector for Palo Alto Networks, where he is responsible for expanding cybersecurity initiatives and global policy for the international public sector and assisting governments around the world to prevent successful cyber breaches. Prior to joining Palo Alto Networks, John served as the Senior Military Advisor for Cyber to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and served as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy.  Prior to this assignment, he served in multiple leadership positions in special operations, cyber, and information operations.