Zapata Computing, which spun out of Harvard in 2017, has launched an ambitious unified Quantum Operating Environment, Orquestra. Orquestra offers one location to use any quantum hardware or software, creating a convenient work environment for quantum programmers. Currently, Orquestra supports software platforms like Qiskit, Cirq, Q#, Pyquil, and others, and supports submitting jobs to hardware from IBM, Rigetti, Honeywell, Microsoft, Atos, and more. Orquestra’s goal is to orchestrate workflows across multiple different coding languages and across both classical and quantum computers. Submit an algorithm to Orquestra and it will handle the rest.
The launch of Orquestra on April 21, 2020, is the culmination of years of work and funding. Back in 2019, Zapata raised $21 million in an investment round led by Comcast Ventures and Prelude Ventures, and more recently, on March 3, 2020, Zapata has partnered with Honeywell Ventures. Combining the ease-of-use of Orquestra with Honeywell’s powerful quantum computers—including the most powerful quantum computer in the world, with a quantum volume of 64—will greatly benefit both partners.
Zapata has zero issued patents, but several are on the way. Since the beginning of 2020, Zapata has had six patent documents publish (the most recent publishing on July 16, 2020). These patent applications were filed in late 2018, and so are only now reaching the 18-month publication date—the first date that they become visible to the rest of the world. Judging from the number and frequency of documents published just over the past few months, it is likely that Zapata has many more patent applications filed with the USPTO that we cannot see yet. Quantum computing is a collaborative effort, and Zapata seems to have all the connections. With a large patent portfolio, they would obtain even more leverage for an eventual acquisition.
Quantum computing is the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform computation.