At Exel Energy Group we are intensely curious about the Future...A Future where human genius is supported by technology and driven by benevolence...A Future where responsibility for the betterment of humanity is the responsibility of all..   Laura Oudovik, Director, Organizational Transition, Emerging Technologies, at Exel Energy Group

 

June 19, 2020  - Honeywell builds a computer with quantum volume 64. Details are eagerly anticipated by the industry.



May 22, 2020 - Australia's Quantum Roadmap is unveiled - details can be found here 


May 13, 2020 - Exciting announcement from ID Quantique and Samsung regarding deployment of enhanced QRNG security features in Galaxy A71 5G phones




May 2020 Highlights - Exel Energy Group participated in IBM Quantum Challenge 2020 and completed three out of four challenges.  It was a great exercise to test your quantum computing skills, meet other quantum enthusiasts across the globe and hopefully to inspire other teams to join the global quantum movement. Thank you IBM Quantum - looking forward to IBM Quantum Challenge 2021!


Changes at Google Quantum Division

It was late at night on April 19, 2020, when the news of John Martinis' departure from Google lit up the internet quantum community. John, a distinguished and accomplished physicist,  Head of Quantum Computing Hardware at Google, has resigned from the position he held for several years.
     Quantum computing is a nascent technology, perpetually in flux and the organizational change is to be expected and John's resignation was not entirely surprising in that respect. What was unexpected in John's departure is the absence of the compensating public news that this was a well-thought-through move by Google, or that the alternative team structure was formed to continue the projects to which John and his team had dedicated years of their work.
     Mr. Martinis' resignation rather sent a signal that perhaps not everything is well in the quantum kingdom and at the very least a hint, that some significant thinking is taking place behind the scene at quantum practices, perhaps of re-planning, changing direction or even changing a vision of future of quantum computing.
      Whatever the reason behind John's resignation is, we wish well to all sides of this story in their future endeavours which no doubt will continue to advance the science of quantum computing. And meanwhile, the image of the good-natured banter between John Martinis and Anthony Annunziata at Q2B 2019 will continue to serve as a reminder of the ever-hopeful quantum computing times.


On New Normal


CoVid-2019, raging across the globe, brought to a standstill many if not majority of activities, events and let's be honest, life as we know it. But not for long. Within days the habitual gatherings and events were reorganized into virtual, by the way of Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, Meetup meetings, etc. Yes, behaviours changed. How we are interacting with each other and how we interact with capital changed and these patterns are likely to persist into the post-virus period. Yet, the creativity and productivity started flowing again and there was even an unexpected benefit to virtual gatherings -  the scale of participation expanded as events were opened to everyone. The participants from near and far who previously were not able to join the geographically remote workshops are now were among the most active panellists, participating in the most coveted industry sessions.
     Since the current modelling of virus progression and the related quarantine, the duration is anticipated to last several months, we have no recourse but to take advantage of the available online opportunities and make the best of the situation. So when we finally emerge from the Great Isolation 2020, we will be that much more ahead in what we are set to do - make this world a better place.
     See you online!


Notable alliances


HQS Quantum Simulation and Alpine Quantum Technologies (AQT) announced they have entered a global strategic partnership.


Microsoft Corporation’s M12 venture capital unit along with other players invested $215 million on PsiQuantum of Palo Alto. The further details and decision influencing factors for one of the largest to date investments are eagerly anticipated by the adjacent industry.



On Quantum Computing Ecosystem


APS Physics March Meeting 2020, scheduled to run March 2 to 6 in Denver, Colorado was cancelled due to the spread of CoVid-19. The meeting served as the world podium from which companies make the announcements or reveal discoveries and strategies and this podium was no longer available. The introduction of the most recent inventions and progress, if there were any worthy of sharing, would have to wait until the next big event or conference.

   And then on March 3, 2020, amidst the grim news of the global spread of coronavirus and the related market correction, the upbeat announcement from Honeywell regarding quantum computing captured the attention of industry, academia and consumers alike. "An unlikely technological player Honeywell just announced a breakthrough in quantum computing", "Industrial giant Honeywell says it will build world's largest quantum computer", etc. read the headlines across the world.
  Emotions and reactions ran high. More details were requested, statements scrutinized. Major players in the quantum computing sector welcomed Honeywell to the movement or, in some cases, did not offer any comments regarding Honeywell achieving this technological breakthrough that would enable the development of the largest quantum computer.

    The actual statement from Honeywell offered a different, more measured overview of their recent quantum discovery and spoke instead of Honeywell's quantum strategy, partnerships and plans.
   Honeywell made strategic investments into two quantum computing software companies, Zapata and Cambridge Quantum Computing, both distinguished players in the nascent quantum computing field. Also, Honeywell partnered with JP Morgan in developing quantum algorithms.
   By committing investments, Honeywell signaled to the wider industry its confidence in quantum technologies and by releasing its plan to build the world's largest quantum computer, it revealed just how much of work was going behind the scenes at Honeywell. An 'Unlikely Player"? Perhaps no longer. "We are a technology company providing technology for industrial space. New Honeywell is a technology-oriented company" said Darius Adamczyk, CEO of Honeywell, in his March 3, 2020 interview with CNBC.

   If we take a step back and attempt to interpret what the world has witnessed, we would find that the event had all markings of straight-forward new ecosystem emergence and rationalization of existing ecosystems.

   In their life cycle, innovative ecosystems undergo several phases: seize the opportunity, evolve the model and lock in leadership. (Source Reeves, Lotan, Legrand, Jacobides, MIT, 2019 https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-business-ecosystems-rise-and-often-fall/#article-authors).

   A few weeks apriori IBM formed a similar partnership with Cambridge Quantum Computing and became a strategic investor into Cambridge Quantum Computing.   Similarly, just a week ago, CERN and Cambridge Quantum Computing announced a collaboration on several carefully curated projects.

   Within the last few months, IBM had announced several high-profile partnerships such as Daimler, Delta Airlines, Goldman Sachs among them. All of these further indicates that the "seize the opportunity" phase is in full deployment for many quantum computing field players. During this phase, organizations are prioritizing growth over profitability and assuming a long-term view and/or strategy as is the case with partnerships above. According to the USA Today article "Could quantum computing help beat the next coronavirus?", IBM signed contracts with more than 100 universities, laboratories and companies. Within the last few years IBM single-handedly democratized access to quantum computing by providing online access to its quantum computers for more than 200000 registered users.

   One of the differentiating factors of innovative ecosystems is that an organization becomes an orchestrator, combining diverse resources to create value (Source: Furr, Shipilov, MIT, 2018 http://ilp.mit.edu/media/news_articles/smr/2018/59411.pdf), create a relationship "ripple" effect, shifting the industry boundaries as in the case of Honeywell, it is a solid entry into the technology provider world. An organization might transform its business model in the process of building an adaptive ecosystem and create new value or new offerings perhaps by reinventing the platform or core products just as Honeywell ventured into new waters of quantum computing following other leaders such as IBM and Google among others.

   We are witnessing the formative dynamics of the new economic segment, a sector that has the potential to address many problems facing humanity. If quantum computing ecosystems continue along the projected path, they with reach the Lock-In Leader phase when ecosystems stabilize. Let be hopeful, that in the process the parties will continue to foster greater collaboration, move carefully and vigilantly, re-validating ethics of discoveries as they move toward the quantum future.

March 5, 2020


Quest for Workforce 4.0


Access to education is one of the noblest societal causes. And never before in history, there was such a great need to ensure rapid, versatile, equal access to education across disciplines, geographies, industries. This need is fueled by the organizational challenge to meet the pace of current technological progress and to align available skills with the skill demand imposed by the arrival of the disruptive change of digital transformation.


In our quest to build the talent pool of the future, one of the particularly affected groups is 40-plus something-year-olds. Talented, possessing life and work wisdom, they found themselves on the perimeter of organizational educational investments in the time when the emerging technologies skills such as AI, machine learning, quantum computing, pose steep learning curves and require a significant time investment, a type of investment which hard-working teams do not always have.


And so it defaults to the organizations and organizational leaders to ensure reskilling and upskilling and "How you reskill become a big part of the (digital, transformative, disruptive) conversation" according to Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company.


The full conversation with Kevin Sneader can be found here: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/framing-reinvention-what-disruptive-change-means-for-business-society-and-you



Events around town - February 17 - 23, 2020

Blockchain Technology Symposium 2020 is a joint event presented on February 18-20, 2020 by the Fields Center for Quantitative Analysis and Modeling and Ryerson University. The event will focus on security, digital identity and organizational change. Details of the event can be found here:

http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/activities/19-20/BTS_2020


 StartAI undergraduate conference will take place on February 23rd at the University of Toronto. One-day conference brings presentations, industry discussions and a showcase of work and research in Artificial Intelligence including a keynote by Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hinton and a fireside chat with Radical Ventures' Jordan Jacobs. Details can be found here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/startai-conference-2020-tickets-89164368025


On a lighter and yet very important note, John Donohue, the Scientific Outreach Manager from the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, brings an overview of how quantum science is used in popular culture through QUANTUM + Pop Culture event on February 23. Fostering awareness is frequently a first step in propagating new knowledge and inventions to a wider audience and this event might just serve the purpose. Details of the event can be found here: QUANTUM + Pop Culture — Royal Canadian Institute for Science



Several articles of interest were published recently:


McKinsey Digital delivered an overview of quantum sector complete with analysis of quantum computing use cases by industry, one of the most comprehensive overviews to date complete with the diagram by economic sector. Article can be found here https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/a-game-plan-for-quantum-computing


IBM announced their partnership with and investment into Cambridge Quantum Computing - are we seeing signs of quantum sector rationalizing and maturing?

Details of the deal can be found here https://cambridgequantum.com/news/


February 10, 2020


Q2B 2019 is another successful event from rapidly evolving quantum industry.


Q2B is one of the widely known conferences bringing together academia and industry in the area of quantum technologies. 2019 edition of the conference took place in December, 2019 in San Jose, CA and highlighted practical applications of quantum computing.

A record of the conference is available at https://q2b.qcware.com/videos-by-day 


You Asked - Preparing for Post-Quantum Cryptography  ( when you do not have a budget)


For some time now we were discussing the potential effects of quantum computing on cyber security and by now you are ready to start the quantum risk assessment work.

"But how can I start preparing for Post-quantum cryptography (PQC) today - my team is already over-allocated, there is no formal funding assigned to the PQC effort, it is not even on a roadmap and I just got a new boss who might not have a formal position on PQC yet."

Fair enough.

Let’s look at it together: how can you start preparing for PQC in absence of a formalized program. 

A good place to start is to build an awareness and inventory of organization's information assets paying special attention to encryption protocols, tools and methods.

Today, you are executing your 18 month portfolio.

Perhaps you have just upgraded a fleet of servers or are building a server inventory to move to cloud?

Perhaps you are integrating the latest cyber security or networking solutions and reviewing networks, endpoints and servers?

Perhaps you are working on upgrading your firewalls?

Perhaps you are working on customer facing solutions, digital or otherwise?

Retain the information acquired in the course of all of these projects and add an extra lens of encryption and certificate analysis.You can reuse that good work to start building your PQC inventory.

And of course, assign a champion on your team, one of your bright and enthusiastic engineers to help bring a constant awareness to PQC work. Your weekly or monthly team meetings are good communication channels to deliver the message.

As to where and when to place PQC effort on the strategic roadmap, I would direct you to Accenture's recommended framework at https://www.accenture.com/ca-en/insights/technology/quantum-cryptography.

This would be a great place to start a conversation with your new boss.