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Kathrin Spendier from Quantinuum on Quantum AI & The Future of Quantum Computing
A discussion on the current state of Quantum Computing, the Breakthroughs, Quantum AI, & The Future of Quantum Computing.
Greeting my fellow geeks! Welcome to this special edition of “Talks@Arkinfo”.
If you're anything like me, you've probably heard about Quantum Computing, the next big leap in the tech world. But what's the real deal behind it? Well, buckle up, because I had the chance to interview Kathrin Spendier, the Quantum Technology Evangelist at Quantinuum, to dive deep into this quantum frontier.
Before we get started, I want to make it clear that this is NOT some paid promo – it's a genuine exploration of a field that's changing the game.
Kathrin's journey from being a physics professor to her role as a Quantum Technology Evangelist is nothing short of fascinating. Her background in biophysics and her stint in academia make her the perfect person to bridge the gap between mind-boggling quantum theory and real-world applications.
In our chat, Kathrin discusses Quantum Technology Evangelism, breaking down the barriers that often surround quantum computing. She spills the beans on where the Quantum Computing industry is headed, whether quantum will take over classical computing or play nice alongside it, and the exciting world of Quantum AI.
Plus, she's got the inside scoop on the latest developments at Quantinuum, a big player in the quantum game. And if you're itching to explore quantum computing yourself, she's got some nuggets of wisdom to share.
So, if you're curious about quantum tech, follow Kathrin Spendier on LinkedIn for more deep dives into this fascinating universe. Quantum computing isn't some distant future – it's happening right now, and this chat with Kathrin is your backstage pass to the quantum revolution. Let's get quantum!
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Discussing Quantum Computing with Kathrin Spendier
Can you briefly introduce yourself, and describe your journey from being an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado to becoming a Quantum Technology Evangelist at Quantinuum?
I began my journey focusing on biophysics research at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), where I was an Associate Professor of Physics. There, I managed various research programs and grants, collaborated across disciplines, published findings, and mentored students in physics and biophysics. My time in academia strengthened my foundation in physics, optics, microscopy, and biotechnology, honing skills like project management and scientific communication.
During this time, I dipped my toes into quantum computing, which led me to Quantinuum. Now, as a Quantum Technology Evangelist at Quantinuum, I use my experiences to promote quantum technology and engage with the community. My work at Quantinuum centers around growing our user base by organizing presentations, workshops, and hackathons focused on TKET, our advanced software development kit for gate-based quantum computers. I connect with academic circles and developer communities and create educational content to demystify quantum computing for all.
For our readers who might be new to the term, what exactly is Quantum Technology Evangelism? How does it play a role in advancing the Quantum Computing industry?
Quantum Technology Evangelism is about advocating for quantum technologies and fostering understanding among stakeholders and the public. I focus on promoting TKET, Quantinuum's SDK, which maximizes the potential of quantum hardware. I conduct presentations, workshops, and create educational content to clarify quantum concepts, enabling developers and users to optimize their use of 2 quantum computers. I collaborate with the quantum community and academia, providing resources and support for TKET.
More generally, Quantum Technology Evangelism is about creating awareness and understanding of quantum technologies among a broader audience. One aim is to dispel misconceptions about quantum computing and showcase the capabilities of quantum computing hardware and software such as TKET for example. By fostering a deeper understanding and driving the adoption of our technologies, I aim to enhance user experiences and contribute to making the quantum computing industry more accessible to everyone.
How has your background in physics influenced your perspective on the Quantum Computing industry, and what advantages do you think it offers you in your role as a Quantum Technology Evangelist?
With over a decade in education, my grounding in quantum mechanics and optics directly informs my understanding of Quantum Computing and technologies like Quantinuum's trapped-ion quantum processors. My interactions with students, ranging from high school to postdoc levels, have honed my communication skills. My background in various physics sub-fields offers a broad perspective, essential for grasping quantum computing's wide-ranging applications. The analytical and educational expertise I've gained over the years positions me well to promote and demystify quantum technologies, bridging the gap between theoretical concepts and real-world uses.
Given your position at Quantinuum, how would you describe the current trajectory of the Quantum Computing industry? What are some milestones we can expect in the next decade?
The Quantum Computing industry is advancing steadily, with critical progress marked by Quantinuum's work in areas like measuring the Loschmidt amplitude of the Fermi-Hubbard model, shedding light on complex phenomena like superconductivity. (I know this is a mouth full because this is indeed exotic physics research) hence I anticipate the development of quantum computers that can't be mimicked by classical systems, focusing initially on solving niche problems uniquely suited to quantum solutions. This advancement is not just about applying new tech to old problems (That might be overly investigated by now) but exploring uncharted territories and uncovering new applications.
As of now, how large would you say the Quantum Computing industry is? And in your experience, how aware is the general public about Quantum Computing?
The Quantum Computing industry is undoubtedly expanding. Conferences focused on the subject are doubling or even tripling in size annually. We're witnessing a surge in workshops, courses, and hackathons. The volume of papers being published in the domain of quantum computing is consistently increasing. More universities are not only offering Quantum Information Science (QIS) and Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE) courses but also full-fledged degree programs. Additionally, the steady rise in quantum computing startups indicates both industry growth and heightened public awareness. An exciting development is the introduction of quantum computing concepts in K-12 education, reflecting the subject's growing relevance.
Although there is a lot of effort to educate people about quantum computing, the general public's awareness of quantum computing is still limited. Many people either believe quantum computers are a distant future concept or simply faster versions of today's computers. Yet, the industry is booming, with a significant increase in the number of quantum companies worldwide, with more than 600 quantum-related companies globally. To support this growth, there's a push for workforce development. Collaborative efforts bringing together higher education, industry, and government entities aim to shape a quantum-ready workforce for the industry's evolving needs. With the sector's rapid expansion, addressing misconceptions and enhancing public understanding becomes even more critical.
Many believe that Quantum Computing is the next big leap in the evolution of computing. Do you see Quantum Computing replacing classical computing or working in tandem with it? Why?
Indeed, Quantum Computing marks a significant stride in computing evolution, but it's not set to replace classical computing. Rather, it appears that it will work alongside classical systems to solve the big problems we encounter as humanity, with each handling tasks suited to their strengths. This complementary approach unlocks the potential of both quantum and classical computing to tackle complex problems and explore new frontiers.
Coming from a biophysics background and having a multidisciplinary perspective, I have always been convinced that different approaches need to work together to solve the biggest problems we encounter. This belief seems to align with the evolving relationship between quantum and classical computing. For example, the landscape is dynamic and exciting. Each advancement in quantum algorithms seems to spur corresponding improvements in classical algorithms. It's like a tug of war, where each technology pushes the other to evolve, fostering a cycle of continuous innovation and development.
For individuals with a Computer Science background eager to delve into Quantum Computing, what resources or pathways would you recommend?
For individuals with a Computer Science background eager to delve into Quantum Computing, I'd recommend starting with some of the books suggested by my colleagues at Quantinuum:
"Quantum Computing for Computer Scientists" by Noson S. Yanofsky and Mirco A. Mannucci
"Quantum Algorithms via Linear Algebra" by Lipton and Regan
"Quantum Computation and Quantum Information" by Nielsen and Chuang (often referred to as Mike & Ike), particularly the first three chapters
"Quantum Computing since Democritus" - a non-textbook but still quite technical
"Quantum Computer Science: An Introduction" by N. David Mermin
These books cater to different levels and are great introductions to the concepts of quantum computing for computer scientists. In addition to books, consider online resources, workshops, hackathons, and joining quantum computing communities and forums for discussions and support.
What are your thoughts on “Quantum AI” - a merger of two groundbreaking technologies? What impact will the current progress in AI have on Quantum Computing?
The Quantum Computing industry is advancing steadily, and Quantum AI, in particular, is generating significant buzz, likely due to the recent progress in AI. In my opinion, it's still early to determine the impact it will ultimately have. Recently, companies like Quantinuum have begun experiments to classify "large" data sets, highlighting promising developments in quantum data processing. This remains an area of active research and discussion.
Quantinuum is a prominent name in the Quantum Computing industry. Can you tell us about any recent breakthroughs or developments at Quantinuum that you're particularly excited about?
Quantinuum is at the forefront of the industry, achieving significant advancements in hardware and setting new benchmarks with our H-Series quantum computers. Our exploration of exotic physics and the recent release of InQuanto v3.0 are paving the way in computational chemistry and materials design. Recently, Quantinuum also introduced a fully integrated Quantum Monte Carlo Integration Engine. These are just a few examples of our exciting developments, including our progress in Quantum Error Correction, Quantum Compositional Intelligence, Optimization, Simulation, and Quantum Machine Learning. Moreover, with Quantum Origin, Quantinuum is providing the world’s only quantum- 5 computing-hardened encryption keys. This highlights Quantinuum’s diverse and holistic approach to developing quantum computing applications.
I am genuinely thrilled about this diverse range of advancements we are championing in various fields.
Lastly, for readers fascinated by this conversation, what is one piece of advice or insight you'd like to leave them with regarding the future of Quantum Computing?
The quantum computing field is ever-evolving. Major industry providers are already offering quantum computing power through the cloud. This means that even if you don't have a quantum computer, you can access one remotely, sometimes even for free. Additionally, quantum computers are starting to be placed on the premises of academic, research, and other institutions, widening access even further, creating immense potential for discoveries. Quantum computing is constantly developing, with researchers, engineers, and scientists introducing innovative approaches regularly. You might wake up to a groundbreaking development one day. I personally experience this excitement daily from a fundamental research perspective, making my journey in quantum computing thrilling. Keep an eye out; Real advancements are happening. Just remember to stay informed and critical. Quantum computing has a lot to offer, but it's essential to know the difference between genuine progress and mere buzz.