ZEB Consulting Podcast Sound of Finance with Marta P. Estarellas

Qilimanjaro is featured in the opening podcast of 2022 by ZEB Consulting Podcast Sound of Finance with the participation of Marta P. Estarellas, senior quantum engineer of our Theory & Applications team. Titled “Quantum Computing and the power of speed” the podcast approaches Quantum Computing and its impact on the financial services industry.

Marta’s opening statement brings the focus on the need to “democratize quantum computing” due to the potential of quantum computers to break many of the current limitations in logistics, chemistry, drug design, materials and open their capabilities to everybody. Therefore, scientists should look also into training the users on how quantum algorithms work and not only on developing the best scientific solutions.

Regarding the implications in the financial system, quantum computers can bring a swift solution for problems like portfolio optimization, credit scoring, fraud detection. The actual algorithms rely on approximations that are very time consuming but with the fast evolving markets we need to rely on predictions on large amounts of data as quickly as possible.

While technology is not ready yet for universal quantum computers, able to solve any problem, we have some small-scale prototypes, the NISQ (noise intermediate scale quantum) devices. These are not perfect devices, are noisy ones but scientists can start to take advantage of those for certain optimisation tasks to accelerate real solutions.

Looking at the hardware solutions in quantum computing, Marta is pointing out that we do not have yet a definitive implementation as many viable architectures are available. There are also different approaches to quantum computation like the gate-model, relying on the application of quantum gates, or the adiabatic quantum computing model, most similar to an analog way of doing computation. Qilimanjaro is a full-stack quantum company that develops and provides access to quantum computers, focusing on coherent quantum annealers with superconducting qubits based on the adiabatic model and on the algorithms design that give solution to the customer’s needs. The objective of Qilimajaro is to make the clients “Quantum Ready”:

“Decision-makers should Be Ready once the Hardware is Ready!”

This implies that decision-makers should start focusing on quantum algorithms consulting services that will prepare their companies in translating their present problems into quantum ones. Even if you don’t have yet the hardware, having the algorithms makes your company ready to take advantage of a useful quantum advantage as soon as it arrives.

A great point made by Marta is the hot topic nowadays that it is very common to look at the number of qubits some companies have but the number of qubits is not the only indicator of a winner in the hardware space. The quality of the qubit is paramount, this is the coherence of the qubit: the lifetime of the quantum information before the noise destroys it. Marta mentions that it is also important to look at: connectivity between chips, interactions between qubits and quantum advantage proofs that go beyond artificial proofs of principle. This brings into focus the “practical quantum advantage”.

Marta resumes her intervention by outlining the challenges to overcome in building a quantum computer like the enlargement of the chips, adding more qubits, the quality of the qubits with larger coherence times to tackle larger computation problems, the shortage of experts in the field. Many can be overcome with a larger outreach to the population and supporting universities and institutions that provide education in quantum computing.

Listen to the entire podcast here.