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​Investing in Quantum Computing: What Every Investor Needs to Know

Quantum computing has moved from research to reality, as companies increasingly turn to the power of quantum mechanical effects to solve complex computational problems and maximize efficiencies throughout their businesses. When considering the quantum computing landscape, it's important to note that not all quantum computing technologies are the same and approaches vary.

Press release from D-Wave
August 10th 2022 | 111 readers

Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash
Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash
While some companies are focused on building quantum systems that won't be available for many years to come, others are offering real, practical quantum computing applications available today to help tackle a myriad of complex business challenges. Hundreds of early quantum applications have already been built to address complexities in resource scheduling, mobility, logistics, drug discovery, portfolio optimization, and manufacturing processes. Despite a growing marketplace of quantum computing players, only a handful are currently commercially viable. Industry pioneer D-Wave Quantum Inc. (NYSE: QBTS) (Profile) is the first company with real-world commercial annealing quantum computing services and the only company building both annealing and gate-based quantum computing products. D-Wave, which just became public via a SPAC merger, is at the vanguard of the quantum sea change in computing alongside other computer juggernauts such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) and Honeywell International Inc. (NASDAQ: HON).

- Boston Consulting Group estimates quantum computing to create a total addressable market (TAM) between $450­–$850 billion in the next 15 to 30 years.
- D-Wave is the only annealing quantum computing company in the world, and the only company working on both annealing and gate-model quantum computers.
- The company commercialized the first annealing quantum computer in 2011, now offers a fifth generation, and has released a sixth-gen prototype.
- The QBTS client list boasts more than two dozen Forbes Global 2000 companies that use the Advantage(TM) quantum computer and quantum hybrid applications in the Leap(TM) quantum cloud service for resolving complexities in resource scheduling, mobility, logistics, drug discovery, portfolio optimization and more.

D-Wave Delivers Solutions Companies Need

Quantum computing has been around in theory and development for decades, but only recently has it made substantive progress, building momentum to go mainstream and overcome shortcomings of traditional computers related to power and processing speed. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) sees the potential for quantum computing to significantly impact multiple industries, creating a total addressable market (TAM) between $450 billion and $850 billion over the next 15 to 30 years in the process. BCG estimates $5 to $10 billion of the anticipated TAM growth will come in the next three to five years, with 20% of the overall TAM to apply to quantum hardware, software and service providers like D-Wave; the rest is expected to be captured by commercially developed quantum applications.

451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, echoed the bullish sentiment. In its study of Fortune 1000 companies in North America and Europe, the firm found that 39% of respondents were experimenting with quantum computing today and 81% have a use case in mind to run in the next three years. Why? Because nearly all (97%) of the enterprises rate solving complex problems as high importance or business critical.

As the world's only annealing quantum computing company, and with annealing quantum computing best suited for optimization problems, D-Wave (NYSE: QBTS) is uniquely positioned to capture a significant portion of the TAM for combinatorial optimization problems.

In a world where 39% of enterprises have abandoned complex problems because of time and difficulty to solve limitations, D-Wave has proven commercial viability and market leadership. D-Wave is the first company to bring to market a real-time, cloud-based annealing quantum computer solution. The company is one of the newest public quantum computing companies and members of the NYSE, but it has a long history of more than two decades of technology innovation unlocking the power of quantum computing, commercial successes (including building the first commercial quantum computer that is now on its fifth generation) and hundreds of use cases built by customers, including more than two dozen of the Forbes Global 2000.

Annealing vs. Gate-Based

It's important to have a general understanding of the state of quantum computing and why D-Wave is differentiated in the space.

In quantum computing, the two common approaches are: 1) Annealing, those inspired from neural net-based architectures and used today for optimization problems; 2) Gate-based, those inspired by the way traditional silicon architectures constructed for when error-corrected use cases are required, as in materials science and pharmaceutical research. D-Wave is building both types of quantum computers, and its cross-platform approach is expected to bring both annealing and gate-based technologies to enterprises' toughest problems. As an example, in the life sciences industry, quantum computing broadly unlocks applications including patient trials (annealing), drug toxicity (annealing + gate-model), and designer drug discovery (gate-model). According to the CEO of D-Wave, Alan Baratz, gate-based systems are several years away.

D-Wave is the only annealing quantum computing company in the world, says Baratz. When the company set out to build its first quantum computer in 2010, management picked annealing over gate-based for a number of reasons, including a faster path to commercialization and business value for customers. Annealing is best suited for solving optimization problems and has shown this this in a demo built for the Department of Homeland Security.  D-Wave demonstrated how it could use quantum-hybrid approaches to determine the most efficient use of resources at 1,000-plus hospitals during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sounds simple, but all the possible variations of facilities, locations, beds, ventilators and more are mind boggling, and the problem becomes far too complex for traditional computers.

The ability to input vast amounts of data and turn out the most efficient course of action is invaluable for countless applications, such as employee scheduling, autonomous vehicle routing, peptide design, fraud detection, optimizing clinical trials and much more.

Relentless Product Progression

D-Wave has established a history of relentless product delivery, developing the D-Wave One annealing computer in 2011 and bringing to market five generations of quantum computers, now commercially branded as Advantage(TM) quantum systems, and accessible through D-Wave's real-time quantum cloud service, Leap(TM). In June 2022, D-Wave unveiled an experimental prototype of the sixth-generation annealing quantum computer, called Advantage2(TM), also available through Leap. Advantage2 is expected to feature a 7,000 functioning quantum bits, or qubits.

In addition to multiple generations of quantum computers and a real-time quantum cloud service, D-Wave's product portfolio includes Ocean, a toolbox of open-source developer products, and Launch, its professional services/customer onboarding service. The company's intellectual property is protected by a robust patent estate of 200+ patents applicable to both annealing and gate-based quantum computing.

Consistent Commercialization

With a legacy of building and delivering commercial annealing products for more than a decade, D-Wave is an established player in the sector. The company's products and services have attracted more than two dozen Forbes Global 2000 companies, which use Leap and Advantage to build custom optimization solutions across diverse areas such as resource scheduling, mobility, logistics, drug discovery, portfolio optimization, manufacturing processes and more. A few well-known customers include Deloitte, Volkswagen, Save-on-Foods, DENSO, BBVA, NEC and Lockheed Martin. In 2021, 68% of D-Wave's Quantum Computing as a Service (QCaaS) revenue came from commercial customers.

Quantum as a Strategic Imperative

A recent 451 Research report found that 39% of Fortune 1000 enterprises are experimenting with quantum computing today, while 78% see quantum computing having a significant impact on creating a new product. As enterprises look to incorporate quantum computing into their operations, they are expected to consider D-Wave and its competitors to optimize the process from development to distribution.

Based on their public statements:

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is building Azure Quantum, which takes a comprehensive approach to all layers of the computing stack. Microsoft currently has all the building blocks of a topological qubit, a new and unique qubit that will be faster, smaller and more reliable than other qubits. In time, topological qubits are expected to power Microsoft's fully scalable, highly secure, next-generation quantum computer.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) recently spun off its quantum technology group Sandbox AQ, an enterprise SaaS company delivering solutions at the nexus of quantum tech and AI. The Google parent is provider of tools dedicated to quantum computing, including Cirq, an open-source framework for programming quantum computers.

International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) has released its quantum computing roadmap, including plans for four new quantum processors. In its initiatives, IBM has amassed a community of clients and partners comprised of Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, national labs and startups, along with what it says are 20-plus of the most powerful gate-based quantum systems in the world.

Honeywell International Inc. (NASDAQ: HON) has spent more than a decade working on quantum computing to shape the adoption and integration of quantum information systems into the industries it serves. In November 2021, Honeywell's Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum combined to form Quantinuum, a company it touts as "the world's largest integrated quantum computing company."

There's consensus that quantum computing has the potential to open new vistas, enabling us to do things we can't even imagine today. With the tailwinds building behind quantum computing, there is room for multiple players to emerge, but that by no means implies that all companies are created equal. One thing that is certain is that there is no shortfall of problems that quantum computing can solve and benefit business and society.

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