Quantinuum: A New Quantum Computing Company Is Formed From Merger Of Honeywell Quantum Solutions And Cambridge Quantum

By Patrick Moorhead - December 16, 2021

The anticipated merger of Honeywell Quantum Solutions (HQS) and Cambridge Quantum (CQ) has finally occurred. The two companies have merged under its new name: Quantinuum (pronounced Quan-tin-you-um), a blend of Quantum Continuum. 

Honeywell Quantum Solutions (HQS) is a quantum hardware company that uses trapped-ions for quantum computing.  HQS was the brainchild of Darius Adamczyk, CEO of Honeywell. His innovation led to the company being formed in 2015 as a business unit of Honeywell International, a $32 billion conglomerate.  Adamczyk believed that quantum computing would evolve into a full-stack technology that ultimately would be needed by almost all customers of Honeywell's various business units that included aerospace, building technology, performance materials, safety, and productivity solutions.

Cambridge Quantum (CQ) creates agnostic quantum software. It was founded by Ilyas Khan in 2014. CQ develops quantum software for many disciplines, including quantum chemistry, quantum machine learning, and quantum augmented cybersecurity. 

When the merger announcement was first made, it came as no surprise. Honeywell International has been an investor in CQ since 2019, and it now owns a majority stake in Quantinuum. As part of the spinoff and merger, Honeywell International agreed to invest $300 million in the new company while retaining a 55% ownership. Honeywell International also has a long-term agreement to continue manufacturing ion traps used by HQS.  However, IP associated with the ion traps remain with Quantinuum. Honeywell’s businesses will continue to serve as a proving ground for the new company’s quantum offerings.

As separate companies, HQS and CQ were both strong commercially and technically. However, the merger of CQ’s software and Honeywell Quantum Solution’s Model H1 quantum computer strengthens the new company’s competitive position. If Quantinuum becomes a public listing, which is likely, it will make an interesting investment. 

Quantinuum’s new leadership team consists of Ilyas Kahn as CEO, Tony Uttley as president and chief operating officer, and Darius Adamczyk as its chairman. The combined company will have over 400 people and is heavily weighted with about 300 quantum scientists and engineers. From its inception, Quantinuum will be an international company with half of its employees in the United States and half in Cambridge, London, Tokyo, and Munich. Quantinuum will maintain a European headquarters in Cambridge, UK, and a North American headquarters in Colorado.

According to Ilyas Khan, Quantinuum will continue to reinforce the Cambridge quantum brand within the quantum ecosystem. He explained the company’s rationale this way: “Obviously, Cambridge Quantum has been an icon in quantum software since its inception. It has hundreds of thousands of users of open source TKet middleware across the globe. It has many customers who have come to rely on the expertise and the capabilities of Cambridge Quantum. So Quantinuum will be the overall umbrella name of the company. But we also have Cambridge as the brand for the software and the middleware.”

But Khan explained there is another fundamental reason that Cambridge Quantum will remain its own brand. He said, “Cambridge Quantum is an IBM content hub, and we will remain an IBM content hub. So, for that reason alone, we will continue to be Cambridge.”

New products coming 

Quantinuum indicated it would be making several significant announcements within the next few weeks. The first announcement relates to a device-independent cybersecurity product that is platform agnostic. The product will be marketed under the Cambridge Quantum brand. It will use the Honeywell Model H1 to provide an important function for the product output.

Additionally, Honeywell has conducted extensive research on error correction for quantum computing over the past several years. Without error correction, it will not be possible to scale a quantum computer to the size necessary to perform large and important calculations. Tony Uttley, Quantinuum president, and COO said Quantinuum would shortly make several important error correction announcements.

Quantinuum likely has several other planned product announcements, including hardware announcements related to the Honeywell System Model H1. 

Analyst notes

  1. Cambridge Quantum recently submitted a research paper that identifies and eliminates quantum threats in blockchain networks. The current blockchain algorithms are not quantum-resistant. Only post-quantum keys, like Quantinuum’s pending announcement, will be able to protect these networks. The paper can be found here.
  2. Quantinuum describes its cybersecurity product as the world's first true quantum product. It can be used today by corporations, customers, and governments, which is beyond the capability of classical computers. Moreover, it has no dependency on future upgrades, therefore the product is complete in and of itself today.
  3. Quantinuum is not a startup. It is well funded with $300 million from Honeywell International. Also, IonQ provided data on the amount of investment interest for quantum computing. There is much interest.  Likely, Quantinuum has already been approached by strategic investors, either wanting to invest directly in the company or as potential PIPE investors. 
  4. Is it likely that Quantinuum will go public? It is not certain, but likely.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article. 

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.