Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, the Ferris wheel and the zipper were all introduced to the public eye by the US at world fairs past, setting the stage for decades of innovation.
Quantum computing will be added to that list at Dubai Expo 2020.
Technology company Honeywell announced on Tuesday that it will present the capabilities of the rapidly evolving field at the US Pavilion.
“Society still faces many complex challenges, from medical discoveries needed to keep us safe to the long-term sustainability of our planet. It is therefore with great pride that we are bringing our latest innovation milestone – quantum computing – to Expo 2020, a radical leap forward in technology that can unlock solutions to those challenges,” said Norm Gilsdorf, vice president of global high growth regions at Honeywell.
Honeywell, which began developing quantum computing for commercial projects in 2018, expects the cutting-edge technology to become a $1 trillion industry over the next three decades.
In June 2021, Honeywell announced it would invest $250 million to $300m to acquire and spin-off UK-based Cambridge Quantum Computing to form the world’s largest stand-alone quantum computing company.
Dubai Expo 2020 will be the first time Honeywell has presented its capabilities in quantum computing to the Middle East.
A quantum computer is a kind of supercomputer, defined as a machine that can compute at a much faster rate than a typical modern version.
Honeywell is part of a growing field of corporations, nations and universities that are racing for quantum computing supremacy. In March, Abu Dhabi announced it would start building its own quantum computer to focus on breakthroughs in medicine and battery technology.
Honeywell began developing quantum computing capabilities in 2018 and is now working with paying clients.
Logistics company DHL has worked with Honeywell to develop more efficient cargo packing, Samsung and Imperial College London are using Honeywell's quantum computing to create longer-lasting and more durable batteries, and BMW is looking to make improvements to its supply chain.
“You won't see a quantum computer doing Excel for you,” said Tony Uttley, president of the Honeywell quantum business. “That's not what quantum computing does.”
What it does, he said, is take on difficult problems that have a high number of probable variables and outcomes.
“Imagine that you are trying to solve the world's food problem. The world wastes 35 per cent of all food created on the planet, despite the fact that there are people who go hungry,” he said.
“That seems like a simple problem. But the variables are immense. It does not need to be refrigerated. How long does it take before it spoils?
"Those become very complex problems. And as powerful as our computers are today, they are problems that are what we call intractable. They are not solvable by today's classical computers. And that is where quantum really comes into play.”
Dubai Expo is expected to attract more footfall than the 2016 Olympics and 2018 World Cup combined, the US Pavilion organisers said.
The US Pavilion is being developed under the theme "Life, Liberty and Pursuit of the Future".
Honeywell and PepsiCo are the two major sponsors.
The pavilion is to include a replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, plus artefacts from telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The Mars Opportunity Rover and a piece of the Moon will also be on display.
In the courtyard, visitors will be able to roam under a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A nightly “blast off” is planned each night, where a projection will transform the rocket into a large canvas, showing the history of US space exploration.