Honeywell's quantum computer is now commercially available after it was first announced in March. The company, best known in the US for making thermostats, says enterprise customers can access the machine either directly through one of its own interfaces or via Microsoft's Azure Quantum portal. As it did when it unveiled the device, Honeywell claims it's the world's most powerful quantum computer.
Typically, when most companies talk about quantum computers, they usually mention qubits. Honeywell is instead using a metric called quantum volume to play up the capabilities of its machine. The term tries to capture the "quality" of qubits. The larger the quantum volume value, the more complex problems the computer can solve. Honeywell says its computer features a quantum volume of 64. For context, IBM recently said its latest quantum computer had a quantum volume of 32.
Whether Honeywell's quantum computer is the most powerful in the world is something computer scientists are likely to debate. When Google claimed last year it had achieved quantum supremacy with its 53-qubit Sycamore quantum computer, the announcement was marred by controversy. IBM called Google's claim "indefensible" based on the fact the company built Sycamore to solve one specific equation.
What is clear is that quantum computers are coming, and they're likely to change computing as we know it. Cybersecurity is just one area that will be upended by their arrival. Cracking 128-bit and 256-bit AES ciphers could become trivial to organizations with quantum computers. That will have significant implications for almost everyone who has ever used a computer in their lives.