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Will Oliver of MIT and Steve Suarez of HorizonX Consulting on quantum and innovation

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September 12, 2023
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Will Oliver, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Physics at MIT, and Steve Suarez, CEO of HorizonX consulting are interviewed by Yuval. Here are the key points:

1. Will Oliver has been working in the field of quantum computing for over 20 years, focusing on superconducting qubits, high-performance cryogenic technologies, and 3D integration. He emphasizes the importance of 3D integration for scaling up quantum computing, as it allows for more efficient wiring and control signal delivery.

2. Steve Suarez is an external advisor at Bain and Company, focusing on innovation and quantum computing. He is also on the board of Classiq, an Israeli quantum computing company, and is launching Horizon X, a consulting firm aimed at helping companies innovate across various horizons.

3. Will discusses the limitations of superconducting qubits in terms of connectivity. While they excel in communicating with their nearest neighbors, it's challenging to establish connections beyond that. Overcoming this limitation could make algorithms more efficient.

4. Steve notes that many companies are diverting resources from quantum to AI due to a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). He argues that this is a misguided approach and that each field should be allowed to develop its strengths.

5. Quantum and AI: Will mentions that while quantum AI has been researched for years, it's still unclear whether quantum computers will offer a commercial advantage over classical computers for AI tasks. He also discusses the data loading problem, which is the challenge of efficiently inputting classical data into a quantum system.

6. Emerging Modalities in Quantum Computing: Will is excited about various quantum computing modalities, including trapped ions, neutral atoms, and photonic approaches. Each has its pros and cons, and it's too early to determine which will ultimately prove most effective.

7. Integration of Quantum and Classical Computing: Will believes that quantum computers will need to operate in tandem with classical computers, especially for error correction. He also mentions that it's not too early to start thinking about this integration, despite the nascent stage of quantum technology.

8. National Quantum Programs: Steve argues against the idea of countries investing in in-house quantum computers. He suggests that the rapid pace of technological advancement makes it more practical to access quantum computing power via the cloud.

9. Advice for Innovation Leaders: Steve advises those heading innovation at large companies to ensure they have senior management support and adequate budgets. He emphasizes the need for a culture that accepts failure as a part of the innovation process.

Listen to the podcast or read the transcript


Will Oliver
Professor of Physics, MIT
Steve Suarez
Founder and CEO, HorizonX Consulting
Listen to the podcast or read the transcript

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