Quantum-computing devices are getting closer to commercial use. On Friday, Honeywell (NASDAQ:HON) accelerated the arrival of usable quantum computers by announcing a new quantum computer with record-breaking performance.

What's new?

Honeywell's device comes with a quantum volume (QV) of 64, doubling the 32 QV processing capacity of a quantum system that IBM (NYSE:IBM) unveiled in January.

A 64-QV computer is able to process data through six cubits. A cubit is a quantum-computing unit capable of storing and processing more than the two states (0 or 1) that a digital computer system can process. The Honeywell system also boasts a fidelity of more than 99.997%, which allows the system to generate calculations and simulations of very high quality.

A student fills an oversized blackboard with complicated equations.

Image source: Getty Images.

What's next?

The Honeywell system is another step forward in a long and difficult process. Scientists expect quantum computers to handle problems that are essentially unsolvable with current technology in fields such as cryptography, weather forecasting, artificial intelligence, and drug development. However, that future lies many years ahead. These are very early days in the development of usable quantum systems.

"Imagine what you think of computers of 60 years ago looking like where they take up a full room and they have wires running everywhere," said Honeywell Quantum Solutions president Tony Uttley in a prepared statement. "We're back there."

We're talking about ultra-clean vacuum chambers held at nearly absolute-zero temperatures to manipulate and read a handful of individual atoms.

Fortunately, scientists and businesses can start to explore the possibilities of quantum computing without setting up these sensitive and expensive systems themselves. Honeywell offers remote access to its quantum systems in a partnership with Microsoft Azure, and IBM's solutions are available through its own Blue Cloud platform.

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