IonQ, Inc. (IONQ) Hits Amazon… Again: Should Investors Buy Into the Surge?

On May 17, at Commercialising Quantum Global 2023, IonQ, Inc. (IONQ), which develops general-purpose quantum computing systems and makes them available through various cloud platforms and direct API access, announced that its most-powerful commercially available quantum computer IonQ Aria would be available on Amazon Braket, AWS’s quantum computing service.

This announcement marks IONQ’s latest addition to Amazon’s cloud platform after the debut of its harmony system in 2020. Although both Aria and Harmony would be available on Braket to be used as per the users’ discretion, with 25 algorithmic qubits (#AQ), the former’s computing power is more than 65,000 times that of the latter.

Further details regarding Aria’s performance, capabilities, and applications are available here.

Increasing the number of qubits, along with the number of processor operations (known as gates), makes it more likely that mistakes will creep in during calculations by making quantum computing systems susceptible to the tiniest of disturbances, including minuscule amounts of heat or radio-wave energy. In this context, it isn’t difficult to see why Aria’s commercialization is a big deal.

With users now able to explore, design, and run more complex quantum algorithms to tackle some of the most challenging problems of today across industries such as finance, healthcare, chemistry, and manufacturing, IonQ Aria has been justifiably embraced by Airbus, GE Research, Dow Chemistry, Hyundai Motors, and the United States Air Force Research Laboratory.

The markets have been prompt to mirror the optimism, to say the least. The stock has surged more than 83% over the past month to trade above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

However, just as we have learned during the dot-com, cryptocurrency, real estate, and numerous other bubbles through the ages, even if the next big thing comes along and changes the world (and the Internet really did), its fundamentals that determine whether a business can survive to capitalize on those windfalls.

For the fiscal year 2023 first quarter that ended March 31, although IONQ’s revenue increased by 119.4% year-over-year to $4.29 million, the topline growth has not been translated to its bottom-line improvement. The company’s loss from operations and net loss widened by 53.3% and 546.7% year-over-year to come in at $28.02 million and $27.34 million, respectively.

With the age of easy money well and truly behind us, a business with the aforementioned (lack of) financial performance would have been written off had it not been in an industry as promising as quantum computing.

Earlier this year, IONQ announced its intent to invest $1 billion in the Pacific Northwest over the next decade, starting with opening a 65,000-square-foot quantum computing manufacturing facility just outside Seattle. Moreover, the company is also an early member of the Northwest Quantum Nexus.

Bottom Line

According to Jeannette Garcia, senior research manager for quantum applications and software at technology giant IBM in San Jose, California, “I’m not trying to take away from how much work there is to do, but we’re surprising ourselves about how much we’ve done.”

For investors keen to figure out what to do with IONQ and other quantum computing stocks, Steve Brierley, founder and chief executive of quantum-computing firm Riverlane in Cambridge, UK, might have summed it up best when he remarked, “The short-term hype is a bit high. But the long-term hype is nowhere near enough.”