21 Apr 2022 4 min read

QuSecure CPO, Rebecca Krauthamer’s Presentation for VA Tech

Recently, Rebecca Krauthamer, CEO and Co-Founder of Quantum Thought and CPO, QuSecure spoke at a virtual conference, hosted by Virginia Tech University, and shared her thoughts about the quantum space, entrepreneurship, and Silicon Valley. Her audience consisted of faculty, students, and staff of VA Tech (both from Blacksburg and Northern VA). The Audience specialty ranged from the Founding Director of Multifunctional Integrated Circuits & Systems, the Director of Master of Engineering program in Northern Virginia, Center for Power Electronics faculty, 5G Cellular Communication & Security (faculty and students), cybersecurity, A MIT post doc, materials science, and engineering…just to name a few!

What does it look like to be an entrepreneur in this space and what opportunities does it offer?

When you think about all the entrepreneurs starting out in Silicon Valley, the perception of the journey is starting in the garage on a straight path to success, when instead it is a winding journey, with gaps and redirection. Rebecca’s journey started out the same way.

With a background beginning as a freelancer in machine learning, “I was a hired hand mercenary for startups and built and trained models by doing one-off projects. Most of the battles for success is sticking it out longer than most reasonable people would.”

She shared her excitement about doing a price-prediction of what fruit would cost for grocery stores. “I thought this was going to be easy, but I was very naïve. If the weather would be a certain way in central California, how would it affect the supply-chain… but it was complex. In 2018, my now co-founder brought quantum to the table, and it became my ah-ha moment. This is what it is going to be for me and how we solve the problem of quantum more broadly.”

Quantum Thought came to life, and it was a hybrid of an incubator and venture capital firm. In this space, there were researchers that were stuck, with nothing concrete happening. With Quantum Thought offering funding, these people were able to collaborate and pinpoint on more specific use cases such as algorithm finance, quantum chemistry, quantum clustering for contact tracing.

A spinout of Quantum Thought is QuSecure. This is in the quantum cybersecurity space. Post-quantum cybersecurity is a huge term use case in the quantum realm. As an entrepreneur and child technologist, Rebecca shared a little of what quantum is and what it is not.

Quantum is not just a bigger, better, and faster computer. It is like thinking a microwave is a better candle, or a car is a better horse. She shared a great quote by Peter Chapman, CEO of Quantum startup IonQ said, “The differences between quantum and classical computers are even more vast than those between classical computers and pen and paper.” This is basic but it has become an important skill to get people to start thinking about and conceptualize quantum computers.

Rebecca explained the fundamental logic and scaling of quantum computing by sharing, “if you want to double the power of your laptop, you will need two laptops, but with quantum computing, if you imagine you are in a maze and you get to your first ‘T’. As a human, you can go either right or left… eventually, you continue until you solve the maze. Classical computers work in the same way, either right or left. The way a quantum computer is different, is it hits the first ‘T,’ it can go left or right at the same time. It has this power to look at all these possible paths and find the most optimal path through that maze.”

Quantum Computing Today

People are not sure about where we stand with quantum computers today. What we know is misinformation and sci-fi. We do know the major Silicon Valley players are building the hardware for quantum computers, including IBM, Google, Microsoft; all using different architecture and getting around 100-qubits. The qubits available are not yet reliable because we would need around 1,000 to create one single, coherent qubit.

Rebecca goes on to explain how it is like “two sides building a wall.” One side is the hardware people, and the other side is focusing on building up the qubits. As they build this wall together, at some point they will meet somewhere in the middle. The next several years in quantum is going to be extremely exciting.

In 2018 Google used its own quantum computer to solve a problem within three minutes that a classical supercomputer would have needed 10,000 years. Solving the problem itself was not particularly exciting but what it represents is. This is no longer theoretical. We can start using quantum computers.

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