back to article Honeywell, I blew up the qubits: Thermostat maker to offer cloud access to 'world's most powerful quantum computer' within months

Honeywell International, a business known to most folks mainly for its thermostats, claims to have achieved a breakthrough in quantum computing. On Tuesday, the American mega-manufacturer plans to announce that within three months, it will offer cloud-based access to the world's most powerful quantum computer, as measured by …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Thank you for introducing us to the word "turducken" which I'm sure can acquire an entirely different meaning.

    1. W60

      I believe that is the action you take when the proverbial hits the fan

    2. cschneid
    3. Snake Silver badge

      Turducken

      Give never read about it on that side of the pond?

      You should also read about the other ridiculous holiday season bird idea, deep frying your 16+ pound turkey. And a few of the home-destroying fires that inevitably result from it :D

      Ah, America. (We're) Always entertaining on the "stupid human tricks" rating scale.

      1. keith_w Bronze badge

        Re: Turducken

        I have a friend who holds a garden party every year and deep fries one or two turkeys, in the back yard, well away from any well-lubricated guests, without risking either his home nor his neighbours. And the turkey is the moistest, most delicious bird I have ever tasted.

  2. Thoguht Silver badge

    Stands to reason Honeywell makes quantum computers because I'm pretty sure those need thermostats.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      It's the other way around. Thermostat makers have been turning to quantum computing to solve the problem of how to have the heating both on and off simultaneously.

      It's the only solution to the ever present argument between husband and wife as to whether it's too hot or too cold in the room.

    2. elkster88
      Headmaster

      Re: Honeywell thermostats as a brand

      On an uncharacteristically serious note, Honeywell has recently split off the thermostat business. It was spun off into an independent company, Resideo.

      Ah. I've been pipped to the post, I see.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "This is not a science project"

    Yes it is. Businesses see no clear problem-solving solution, and they have already invested billions in code and hardware that does solve their problems.

    The day quantum computing can solve the traveling salesman problem for actual marketing problems, then it will be invested in. But right now, I don't think that companies have a clue what to with quantum computing. Just like nobody knows what to do with the much-vaunted blockchain apart from pretending that it makes your transactions with funny money anonymous and secure.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: "This is not a science project"

      There are a number of good applications for general QC. There are practical problems in BQP (and probably not in P), such as some applications of Grover's algorithm - satisfiability and other Boolean evaluation problems in particular. Intelligence agencies wouldn't mind using a fast implementation of Grover's to find the relatively short keys1 used to symmetrically-encrypt some of the vast corpora of data they've stolen. And there's quantum simulation, which many physicists would certainly like to have.

      For that matter, Merkle trees ("blockchain" by its proper name) have practical applications, such as in filesystems. BTRFS and ZFS use Merkle trees, for example. So does git.

      1The speedup of Grover's algorithm over conventional brute-force search is \sqrt{N}, so for this application it effectively cuts the key size in half. That makes it potentially useful for breaking, say, AES-128, but much less useful for breaking AES-192.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "This is not a science project"

        And I forgot to note that NP is very likely not in BQP (assuming P != NP), so no one's going to be using a general QC of whatever size to solve the TSP. You could do an exhaustive search using Grover's algorithm but that quickly becomes infeasible for any NP-Complete problem, even with heuristic pruning. Meanwhile, we have techniques such as graph sparsification which often let us find close-to-optimal solutions for many problems in NP using conventional computing.

  4. Confudler

    They don't make thermostats anymore

    ...At least not the ones you see in houses. They spun this out into a new company called Resideo (which uses the Honeywell Home brand).

    1. Thoguht Silver badge

      Re: They don't make thermostats anymore

      Damn, you're right of course, I've been retired from Honeywell too long (well, not long enough really).

  5. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    The glorious future

    ...the American mega-manufacturer plans to announce that within three months...

    I think I preferred history done in retrospect. Now we are expected to gaze in awe upon promises. When someone tells me "This will be epoch-making, game-changing or (your own superlative here), I say "Tell me when it's happened, not when all you have is optimistic talk".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quantum supremacy?

    For those who haven't spluttered quite enough into their beards today:

    https://physicsworld.com/a/towards-a-quantum-advantage/

  7. herman Silver badge

    Turducken - what you get when three birds pass through a jet engine at the same time.

  8. herman Silver badge

    It sounds like a quantum leap of progress - a quantum being the smallest possible infinitesimally tiny energy change that one can get.

  9. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Pet insurance

    If you are taking your pet travelling, it will be reassuring to check with a quantum computer before putting your cat into its box.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    If Not AI Feast, Future Risk is Famine via Novel Proprietary Intellectual Property Deficit

    Uttley said Honeywell's quantum computer doesn't have a catchy name. That's perhaps because it isn't something customers will purchase. They'll access it through Microsoft Azure Quantum as a service. No price has yet been determined.

    The only real practical danger to guard against is the purchase of access through Microsoft Azure Quantum as a service proving itself to be mostly expensive vapourware rather than anything else much more worthy, valuable and impressive.

  11. Alister Silver badge

    Honeywell International, a business known to most folks mainly for its thermostats

    Some of us remember when they made proper computers.

    The Honeywell 516 and later the 316 were used as Interface Message Processors (think grandfather of routers) for the ARPANET.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Honeywell Multics. In many respects one of the most advanced systems for its time.

      1. Munchausen's proxy
        Windows

        And it lives again

        Multics and a simulator to run it on are freely available.

        http://multics-wiki.swenson.org/index.php/Main_Page

        is a good operational starting point and

        https://multicians.org/

        has the history.

    2. keith_w Bronze badge

      Learned on a Honeywell Series 200, model 128, with 16K of memory. Competed against the IBM 1401,

  12. Peter Galbavy
    WTF?

    I know I'm getting old because no matter how much I read about Quantum Computing I feel much like my parents generation felt when the home computer started turning up. Lost, I'm lost I tell you.

    Either that or I'm just too good at failing to see the Emperor's wonderful new outfit.

    I suspect the former in this case though.

  13. martian1031

    Quantum Volume = Turducken of ...

    I am going to nominate the author for Nobel prize in Literature and Physics.

  14. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    64-bit quantum volume

    A US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on quantum computing from December 2018 said it is "highly unexpected" a quantum computer will be able to crack RSA 2048-bit encryption within the next decade, for instance.

    Sure, but this new Honeywell machine has doomed our RSA-64 keys. (Mine was {4294967279, 4294967291}. There's no point in keeping it secret now.)

    On a slightly more serious note, 64 effective qubits might seem like enough to, say, break DES - not that we can't brute-force 56-bit DES keys trivially. But applying Grover's algorithm to breaking symmetric keys for Feistel ciphers turns out to require more effective qubits than are needed for basic Grover's alone. For example, breaking AES-128 appears to require at least 984 qubits.

  15. zappberg

    Nature link

    It's worth noting that this article was linked to in the Nature daily news email today. I don't know if this is a regular occurrence for El Reg, but it's impressive.

    Now if only I could get a replacement mug...

  16. Conundrum1885 Bronze badge

    Its qubits all the way down

    Hi, I read an article online posted by the nice folks on "Whistle" and it seems that qubits based on electroluminescence

    are a thing now.

    Incidentally its said that the phenomenon of trapped light in phosphorescent materials and to a lesser degree OLED is

    caused by quantum mechanical effects yielding fascinating effects like quenching it with infrared light.

    I have high hopes for my idea of using a ZnS spinning disk as a quantum computer but the problem is using conventional

    LEDs makes it too vulnerable to decoherence: has to be single photon ie based on an APD and PLED array.

    Incidentally if anyone happens to have a spare IR VCSEL or 10 ideally in the 900nm range, please let me know.

    A few spare AD500's wouldn't go amiss.

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