Advancing the Quantum Frontier: Rob Hays on Atom Computing’s Journey and the Future of Quantum Tech

Interviewee: Rob Hays
CEO & President, Atom Computing
Interviewer: Brian Beck
Partner, Zuber Lawler

Details

Transcript

WE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING TRANSCRIPT WAS CREATED BY A ROBOT SO PLEASE FORGIVE ANY TYPOS.

[Brian Beck]  

Welcome. I’m Brian Beck partner Zuber Lawler. Thank you for joining us Zuber Lawler is a law firm with offices across the United States in eight different cities doing a lot of work in a variety of technologies. We are exceedingly excited about emerging areas of technology that will drive the economy 10 to 20 years from now. Dead cap large cap is an online quantum computing magazine founded by law firms BLG in Canada, Marks and Clerk in the United Kingdom, and Zuber Lawler in the United States. We’re attorneys, but we’re also scientists, engineers and futurists focused on the likelihood that quantum computing coupled with AI are going to fundamentally change our world within two decades. We have with us here today Rob Hayes, CEO and President of atom computing, a quantum computing company headquartered in Berkeley, California. Atom computing is according to its website, focused on building quote, highly scalable gate based quantum computers with atomic arrays of optically trapped neutral atoms. And we’ll talk a bit about what that means shortly. Rob, welcome to the program.

 

[Rob Hays] 

Hi, Brian. Thanks for having me.

 

[Brian Beck]

It’s great to have you here. So can we start? Can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

 

[Rob Hays]

Sure. Well, I’m a computer engineer by training. I spent most of my career as well on my career in the computing field. Most of that was within top Corp. I was there for 20 years started as an engineer rose up to an executive running the data center silicon portfolio and Xeon server processor roadmap. So I did that for seven years, I had the opportunity through that role to work with data center operators, cloud service providers, high performance computing centers around the world, helping them sort of drive Moore’s Law and computing performance and their infrastructure and, and so forth. After lepton time I went to Lenovo for a while. I was chief strategy officer there for the data center group that they had acquired from IBM. And I joined out of computing a CEO about three years ago now. And so I’ve been kind of just moving on and then wave after wave of computing performance and quantum is the next one coming.

 

[Brian Beck]

So then why, after all that time, and then total Lenovo and all that work on the classical side? What made you decide to switch into quantum computing?

 

[Rob Hays] 

I think I think it was two things. One was I was looking to do something a little more entrepreneurial, get into something a little bit more ground up and help build, you know, a company but also helps shape the industry as we’re bringing quantum computing to life for, you know, for industry and society. And, you know, I’ve I’ve seen through my career, these kind of big waves of computing or user experience come along. You know, client server, internet, cloud computing, AI, and quantum puting is really just that next wave and I wanted to do something get in like said early on and help build and shape it. And so, you’re right.

 

[Brian Beck]  

And what made you decide to form your own company at a computing rather than getting involved with someone else?

 

[Rob Hays]  

Yeah, actually, I didn’t sound out of computing. I joined after day. So our company was founded about six years ago, and it was founded by Ben bloom and Jonathan King. They have PhDs in physics and chemistry respectively. And they formed the company after Ben had worked on a different superconductor, different quantum technology superconductors for a while, and his background previous to that was building atomic clocks out of neutral atoms. And so he kind of varied the skills he had from those two backgrounds into atom computing. And founded the company with Jonathan in 2018.

 

[Brian Beck]  

All right, so let’s let’s get into the technology discussion a little bit. So what I’m computing is working on is building quantum computers with nuclear spin qubits. For the layperson, what is a nuclear spin qubit

 

[Rob Hays]  

Well, first of all, I’m I’m happy to say the layperson really doesn’t need to know what a nuclear is. I think what they’re gonna want to know is what can they do with these systems? How’s it gonna change their life, but, but a nuclear spin qubit is basically a new type of qubit that we actually created. We’re the first company to do it. We’re able to harder we’re able to control the the nuclear spin inside of individual neutral atoms. And the Spanish basically spin up or spin down. It’s think of it as the magnetic pole. And with pulses of light we’re able to control sort of which way that magnetic pole is pointing. And, and the cool thing about neutral atoms neutral atoms are like alkaline earth elements. And alkaline earth like elements where you’ve got to close out or valid valence electrons. They don’t interact with things in their environment very much and they also protect that nuclear spin quite quite a bit from outside perturbations. And so what that basically means we get really long coherence times and could have really good coherent control of these nuclear spin qubits using pulses of light lasers.

 

[Brian Beck]

So then, I guess to follow up with how you started that question, why does that matter to the average person who’s going to be using these things? Yeah, I

 

[Rob Hays]  

mean, I think what people are going to really care about is, is quantum computers. That give them good results with arbitrary code depth, and so they’re gonna need error correction, they’re gonna need fault tolerance. And they’re gonna need lots of qubits in order to build programs and circuits that are, you know, arbitrary size and able to run get the correct results every time. So there’s a number of sort of performance characteristics that systems that kind of feed into that equation for systems you’ve got coherence time, how long can you hold the quantum information or the state of the qubits before they do cohere, or you have to kind of reset them. Our qubits have record coherence times we put a paper out published over two years ago now in Nature Communications talking about these nuclear spin qubits and, and the record coherence times. Fidelity’s is really important. Fidelity is just another way of saying error rate. It’s the inverse of the error rate. So how often does a qubit get the wrong answer? And kind of best in class error rates today are something in the order like one and 1000 You know, one error per every 1000 tries something like that. So that’s kind of what the best systems out today. Gates speeds, readout speeds or some other performance characteristics. But number of qubits is actually really important. You want people to scale up to a really large number of qubits so that you can overlay error correction codes on top of that, and error correction codes will basically map a bunch of physical qubits kind of think of it has redundant physical qubits into one logical qubit. that’s designed to give you the right answer pretty much every time so you get much, much lower error rates on these logical qubits by mapping lots of good fidelity, physical qubits to it and so all those things kind of factor into building a system that’s fault tolerance that allows an end user to run a a circuit or a set of code that’s of arbitrary depth that could do something useful.

 

[Brian Beck]  

So how does this nuclear spin approach have advantages over other competing quantum computer types on the market other other types of humans prototypes of computer designs? Yeah,

 

[Rob Hays]  

I think the nuclear spin aspect gives a very long coherence times which again, holds that that code that quantum information for very long time and allows you to perform error correction and other other things without having to worry about the information getting lost. But the neutral atom technology and the optical early atomic arrays of these neutral atoms that we have scale much faster than some of the other modalities that are out there like superconductors or trapped ions. And I think that’s one of the biggest benefits of our of our modality is the fact that we can just, we don’t even build the qubits. We just capture the qubits. The qubits that are inherent in the atoms themselves are using nature’s, you know, kind of perfect qubit that’s inherent in these atoms. And what we do is we trap them with laser beams and we’re able to control or manipulate the light and we’re able to do that on a mass scale. So being able to scale we were very fast to get to 100 cubits with our first prototype back in 2021. We were the first to exceed 1000 qubits and the systems that we’re bringing online now and, and we and so we’ve kind of already shown that we can scale like order of magnitude each generation which is something that other modalities haven’t been able to do yet.

 

[Brian Beck]  

So you already have a 1000 cubits system. From your website. I thought you were working towards 1000 cubits. We’re working towards bringing

 

[Rob Hays]  

them online for the public. We’ve built two of these systems that exist today. They’re in Boulder, Colorado, we actually started publishing measurements and papers off those systems last May. So those have been built for about a year now. And the team is working diligently to tune up the performance get Fidelity’s better get all the operations working, you know, so that a customer experience would be would be good on that. And so we’re in the process, we plan to bring them out publicly within the year. All right.

 

[Brian Beck]  

So getting into kind of the applications of that system. You talk a little bit of your website about using these 1000 cubits systems to launch quantum computing as a service. Can you talk a little bit about what that means? Yeah, basically,

 

[Rob Hays]  

you know, just like a lot of computing services today, people people access computing online, whether that’s software as a service or infrastructure as a service. And we plan to kind of do the same thing. So we’ll offer our systems online through one of the major cloud service providers that we haven’t announced publicly yet. And if customers just want to get time on the system can do that through that service provider. We’re also working with a number of partners on software applications and algorithms that can apply those quantum computers to a number of different industry vertical use cases. And so some customers will access our systems through those software services they get through partners, not directly through us or through the cloud service provider.

 

[Brian Beck]  

So what kind of uses do you see your partners using your systems for the next few years?

 

[Rob Hays]  

I think, I don’t think it’s necessarily unique to us. As far as like what the use cases are. I think generally you see use cases in a few different categories. They tend to be optimization problems, simulation of physical systems. And enhancements to AI, which could be go both directions AI enhancing quantum as well as quantum into AI. Some of the near term use cases tend to be for these NISC systems prior to fault tolerance tend to be around optimization where people are taking complex networks and they’re trying to simplify them down or traverse complex networks with multiple paths with an optimal path. Or take a portfolio and manage it for read like a financial portfolio or something like that. Manage it for risk or return. So those are some of the near term applications that we see a lot of customers doing trials and POCs and pathfinding on longer term. I think the biggest value will be unlocked around simulation of of molecules and chemistry and materials and things like that, to try to enhance, find new materials, find new drugs, create materials that have lower energy, fertilizers and lower energy and things like this. There’s a number of use cases that have been out in academia and industry that people have studied and they’re really just waiting for bigger systems and that false power and capability in order to go put those into production. So, most of the most of the use cases people see today are smaller sort of proof of concept models to try to prove out the technology for whatever their use cases.

 

[Brian Beck]  

So have you have these few 1000 cubits systems that are coming online for use by your partners in the next year or so? Or what’s what’s kind of the next step on the technical side for whatever what’s the next step on the hardware? Side for Adam computing continuing to scale up? Or what do you pretty

 

[Rob Hays]  

much get get these systems online, you know, out there to the public that we’ve already built. So that’s kind of what the team is mostly focused on today, internal to the company and we’re looking, like I said, with partners to build software stacks and applications and things like that on top of it, so hopefully, you know, this would be the first time pretty much anyone’s had their hands on something that’s on the order of 1000 or more qubits. The systems we built or designed to be, you know, over 1200 qubits, and I think there’s a lot of customers and partners out there that are really excited about what they can do on top of systems of that scale. But that’s really not big enough to do what they ultimately want to do. So we needed to scale again. So our plan is to scale up our roadmap by on the order of a one order of magnitude regeneration. So went from 100 to 1200. And would try to go you know an order of magnitude each generation here on out and so that’s kind of the other thing that the company is working on. Next is what is the roadmap for scale look like? So

 

[Brian Beck]  

continuing on with that, that scale of greatest we get to 10,000 cubits 100,000 cubits. What are the most exciting applications that work that you see becoming reality in the next five to 10 years? I think the first

 

[Rob Hays]  

one funny enough is just error correction. Right? We’re in this in this era, where you’ve got these noisy intermediate scale quantum computers, they’re small scale, they are very error prone. You have to run things many, many times in order to sort of statistically find the right answers and all that and and that works. But it’s not ultimately what people want. They want that fault tolerance. And when you get to fault tolerance, you’re gonna have an error rate. That’s, that’s low enough that you can just like I said, run code that’s arbitrary depth. And as anyone knows, who’s a programmer, you don’t want to say I only run 30 lines of code and then all of a sudden, the output is garbage. You want people to read code that’s 1000s, or hundreds of 1000s of lines deep and things like that. So if you’re gonna run code, that’s that deep. You need to be able to correct errors as you go. So you don’t accumulate you know, faults and so forth. So, so that’s my fault tolerance is so important. So I think the most important near term application is actually just the error correction algorithms and codes that provide fault tolerance. And then on top of that, then we could do chemistry simulations, material science, some of these higher value use cases for industry or government that are going to unlock tremendous economic value over the long haul. McKinsey and BCG have put out reports that it’s on the order of a trillion dollars of economic value that they believe will be unlocked over the next decade once we get to fault tolerant quantum computing. So it’s a huge number. It’s anyone’s guess as to how huge it really is. But when you’re talking about, you know, 12 zeros, you’re talking about big numbers.

 

[Brian Beck]  

Certainly I guess that leads to the next question. How do you see those advances affecting life for the average person rather than the rather than the industry? Rather than the industrial applications, you know, how does that filter down to the average person’s life and how does what changes are they gonna see from quantum computing?

 

[Rob Hays]  

I mean, the simple answer is probably Oh, no, we have no idea right? But on the other hand, I expect at least initially there’ll be behind the scenes like people will, it’ll be faster time to drug discovery, drug design, right? Because they’re able to simulate things that just aren’t practical to simulate on a high performance computing computer today. So that’ll cut the time from, you know, disease or problem identification to clinical trial down substantially from you know, maybe what could be months or years to hours or days potentially. These are things that are longer term out there. Energy, you know, better math, better materials for batteries, better materials for solar cells, being able to produce nitrogen for fertilizers at a lower, lower temperature. You know, things like this are some of the biggest use cases that industry and governments are really have their eyes on and, and all of those things ultimately will benefit society through, you know, a greener world, lower energy consumption, better drugs, better materials, you know, things like that. You know, a lot of times people say, Will I ever get a quantum computer in my hand like we all carry around a classical computer on your cell phone, right? And a lot of people say like, No, not in my lifetime, but actually completely disagree. Because right here, you have you have supercomputers in your hand today. They’re just through the cloud, right? I mean, this is just a portal to amazing services. The cloud service providers have incredibly high performance compute infrastructure today, and they’re running massive AI models and things like that on it and you’re able to get take advantage of that, you know, just through your phone, or your PC or whatever. You know, pretty much seamlessly I think quantum computing will be will be consumed the same way by the end customer still, they’ll access services through their phone, that are that are calling ultimately on a quantum computer in the future. As part of a workflow that’s that’s hybrid between classical repute and quantum compute, and they won’t even know it’s there, but it’ll enhance the results. It’ll enhance the capabilities of whatever the services that they’re ultimately calling. So I think that’s that’s what I mean by behind the scenes. I think it’ll be kind of it’ll be something that touches everybody, but I’m not sure everybody’s gonna know they’re being touched by it.

 

[Brian Beck]  

And kind of along the same lines, you know, the big technological development to the last few years there’s been this explosion and generative AI and large language models and we access that through our phones the same way right. We don’t have we don’t have the whole chat GPT neural network on our phones. We send a command out to open AI and it’s it runs it through there and says consensus back to us. That then that leads to the question you take, if you take what we’re seeing in AI, and then you add in quantum computing advances. What possibilities do you see there for combining those two? The two big tech developments of our time? Yeah,

 

[Rob Hays]  

I think that’s almost that’s like the question of our of the moment right is there’s a lot of people studying right now how can quantum enhance AI and how can AI getting its quantum and I think initially I can enhance quantum and that it can help us you know, steer you know, machine learning can help help, you know, scientists and engineers sort of steer solutions towards the area most highest probability of a winner. And so I think we’ll see we’ll see AI enhancing sort of our workflow and building better quantum computers and better quantum algorithms over time. But I think what people are more interested in is how can I plug a quantum computer into the back end of an AI you know, model of some sort. And, and I think time will tell how that works out. But, you know, using the probabilistic as sort of, you know, exponentially better performance that a quantum computer provide by being able to scan a much larger sort of solution space in parallel than what a classical computer can do, I think offers AI models an opportunity to, to do things that just aren’t really practical or possible today, and that could come in different forms that could come in the form of can you imagine a model being informed by how physics or how chemistry actually works? Because there’s a simulator in the background that can actually sort of figure that out in a small enough amount of time that he could inform, you know, some kind of inference on a model or something like that. Like, you can tell an AI model Hey, go design me a drug that does XY and Z and maybe with a good quantum figure in the background in conjunction with HPC and and a larger workload might be able to come up with some answers or help you steer to that faster. You know, it’s going to the world is already hybrid when it comes to computing infrastructure. We’ve already got CPUs and GPUs and other accelerators so we’ve already figured out how to steer you know, classes of workload or computation to these different hardware architectures. And I think stitching a quantum processing unit into that architecture, you know, and calling on, you know, certain elements of quantum computer as part of a AI workflow is, is something that’s not too hard to imagine and a lot of people are studying that right now.

 

[Brian Beck]  

So going back to some of what Adam computing is doing, you talked a little bit about your collaboration with other partners and you’re working on kind of adding adding the software side to the hardware that you’re working on. Can you tell us a little bit about your partner program and how it’s strengthening collaboration within the industry? Yeah,

 

[Rob Hays]  

it’s something that we’re really excited about. We’ve got a partner program. We basically work with, you know, companies undergoing algorithms or applications using quantum computing across a variety of industry workloads. And so there’s this I’ve mentioned a few of them already, but you know, chemistry, pharma, logistics, transportation, there’s a number of them. We’ve taken a strategy as a company instead of trying to be vertically integrated and do everything from the application down to the hardware. We’re really trying to play our role and build great scalable hardware that allows for full tolerance in the future and allows us to unlock some of the value of these applications through partners. And so working with a number of partners across a variety of different industry verticals and use cases, we believe is the fastest way to sort of find the biggest you know, killer apps, if you will. So that’s that’s what we’re really focused on is playing our role scale up the hardware partner with a variety of different software partners and they come in different forms. They, some of them are, you know, large fortune 100 type companies that have their own internal development. For their own internal applications. We partner with them. The ones you would see in the partner program tend to be more independent software providers or independent application providers that are focused generally on specific verticals and so we partner with them, but we also partner with cloud service providers and other you know, solution providers that are maybe the kind of the middleware in the stack and getting the compute out to the to the world.

 

[Brian Beck]  

More More generally, not just in terms of atom computing, its partnerships. What do you see as the major needs for collaboration between players and the quantum computing industry today?

 

[Rob Hays]  

I say the good news is that at all layers of the solution stack, we see a number of plant we see a number of advances. So like we’re all kind of advancing together, which is the good news. You know, when I think about collaboration, I think about it, collaborating sort of down from where we are, we’re a system you know, we’re building systems, we’re integrating, you know, hardware technologies and software to be the glue to hold it all together. So I looked down at my vendor ecosystem and see opportunities for collaboration with industry standards groups, and competitors, even on supply chain to make sure we get access to the technologies, the technologies advance in the ways that we need them to. I also look up at API’s and how people will access these platforms for standard programming interfaces. And, you know, the good news is that the the quantum computing field has already established a few standards around API’s and so we’ve just adopted them. So qiskit chasm, que ir there’s a few others that are out there. So I think that’s good for the industry to have these standard programming interfaces that multiple vendors above or below can can interact with each other on the I think those are the big ones, and then just just a collaborative software ecosystem. So I think you want an application that can work on one piece platform, one hardware platform can also operate on another hardware platform, and that’s where those API standards come in. So I think that’s all very important. So that people don’t get locked into a certain a certain vendor with anywhere within the solution stack. I think everybody likes open choice and best of breed solutions.

 

[Brian Beck]  

One other thing, one thing you’ve been involved with it, you’ve been what was the US government’s National quantum initiative, right? What do you think the role is for the government in promoting the United States quantum computing industry? Yeah,

 

[Rob Hays]  

quantum computing is important for both economic security as well as national security. And I would argue that national security is often built on the back of a strong economy. So economic security is national security in a lot of ways. The United States has been fortunate to be an inventor of and a leader in quantum computing technologies, you know, in all layers of the stack from semiconductors all the way up to cloud services and applications for for decades. And it’s imperative I think, for our economy and and the well being of our society that we continue to have leadership and computing because all industries at this point are dependent on computing for everything they build, whether it’s, you know, building cars, or satellites or phone services or anything, pretty much every business is dependent on computing these days. So we’ve got to maintain that leadership. So I think first and foremost, the United States, you know, with our national quantum initiative that’s up for renewal inside of Congress right now. I think it’s important that the United States puts dollars in towards making sure that we invest in quantum computing and multiple layers that could be basic research through the labs or universities but also procuring quantum computing systems and services from the commercial industry in order to kind of jumpstart that industry and fuel it with non diluted cash. It’s very important that the United States keep its eye on export controls so that we can maintain control over critical technologies so that our adversaries don’t get them but while maintaining collaboration with like minded nations. It’s I think, very important that we have very open, you know, immigration policies for making sure that the PhD talent that’s trained in United States stays in the United States. And, you know, for all these reasons, I think, you know, maintaining leadership at Quantum and doing some of these kinds of actions are really important for you continue to US leadership in computing.

 

[Brian Beck]  

And one of the one of the interesting things you pointed out was this kind of tension you have with really with any kind of emerging technology, but certainly with quantum where you want to maintain an open collaboration internationally, because we benefit from collaborating with other countries, but we also are concerned about technology being used by bad actors are adversaries. Where do you think we need to draw those lines between the need for open collaboration and need to protect technology for national security reasons?

 

[Rob Hays]  

Yeah, I think that is the key question that the US government and other governments around the world are actually you know, actively trying to kind of answer and figure out, but for a Democratic Society. And, you know, I think for our economic security, like I mentioned before, I think maintaining open markets and open you know, kind of open collaboration is really important, I think, you know, by being able to share both academic and industry advancements, were able to collectively advance you know, technology in society much faster than if we were to do that in silos or closed with closed walls. That said, the concern is, is really this sort of post quantum encryption decryption sort of issue, which is it’s a fact that quantum computers are going to be able to break today’s standard encryption standards by doing something called prime factoring and Shor’s algorithm, which is quite famous now. And what we see is we see a lot of governments trying to estimate when are we going to get to a point where these quantum computers are strong enough to to break these encryption standards. And the good news is, it’s still out probably, you know, eight to 10 years, at least based on the estimates I’ve seen. But and in the meantime, NIST and industry and others are really trying to come up with what we call post quantum encryption standards that are going to be not necessarily quantum technologies, but But new encryption techniques that are resilient to quantum computers and therefore can be deployed well ahead of Shor’s algorithm being feasible and this does not become a problem but but that is a real concern. And we want to make sure that our adversaries whoever they may be, do not get a capability before we can and put our you know, our information security at risk. And so that’s, I think, the primary sort of tension that, you know, governments are trying to mitigate. And, you know, so for that reason, I think some some export controls and some oversight is appropriate at this point in time while we still don’t have those prescriptions, post quantum encryption standards in place. At some point in the future. I think as the risk gets mitigated, technically for other reasons. The Navy, a little more openness on the technology with adversary nations might be possible. Like we see standard technologies today. So

 

[Brian Beck]  

the other common tension with government and emerging technologies is the tension between having strong intellectual property protections to incentivize development, versus having more permissive intellectual property rules so that more more people can get into the field and more in new technologies don’t get hit get trapped behind patents and copyrights. What role do you think government and legal services providers have in addressing intellectual property issues that are specific to quantum computing? And what do you think is needed in that area?

 

[Rob Hays]  

Yeah, well, I like you and your teams. I’m not a lawyer, but we benefit from, you know, from IP attorneys on on a daily basis. Right. So you know, I think we I would characterize it is obviously having IP laws and having countries abide by those laws is really important for you know, for society and for industry to protect the you know, the big investments, there’s billions and billions of dollars going into quantum computing as many as there are many other technologies semiconductors and others. And you and companies making those investments are investors investing this companies want to make sure that those those technologies are protected, you know, against theft, you know, IP theft, and things like that. So, I think it’s a very important thing. The way I would characterize quantum right now is we’re like early days, right? We’re laying the foundation. There’s, I don’t know 567, like kind of modalities, maybe four major ones and a few other like architectures that are that are being developed today. It’s a little early to call the winners and losers. Obviously, we’re betting on the neutral atom approach. We see the scalability and the attractiveness of it, but we’re still you know, in the process of proving that we can bring these systems to market with high quality and reliability. So I just say it’s too early to pick the winners and losers for most people. And we want to make sure that those companies that are making these bets, they’re highly risky, very expensive, but they’re protected. And so having IP attorneys and patent laws and all these things that sort of help us navigate through that and, and establish that groundwork, I think is invaluable.

 

[Brian Beck]  

You just said it’s hard to pick winners and losers, but looking forward in the next few years, what do you see as some of the most exciting breakthroughs in quantum computing, other than what atom computing is doing?

 

[Rob Hays]  

I think in general, its scalability and fault tolerance. I think that’s that’s where we are. I think what we’ve seen is, I don’t know there’s probably 20 or so companies building quantum computers today. We’ve proven we can build them. We’ve proven we can they can work. We can drive standards around how to program them to port software back and forth. We’re seeing very good fatalities. You know, coming from a number of companies. So a lot of the base work is done now. And now the challenge is how do we scale up these systems to be large enough to do something interesting, and the error corrected so that we get the right answers on arbitrary depth, you know, code and I think once we get there then then we’ve kind of exited the inniscarra. We’ve entered this fault tolerant quantum computing era, and we can unlock that tremendous economic value that we talked about earlier in the program here. So that’s what I’m looking for is is is scalability and fault tolerance, and that’s that’s why our company is chasing that because it’s so important, but we’re not the only ones right there. It’s not like we, we know the secret. It’s everyone knows what the goal is. We’re all racing towards it.

 

[Brian Beck]  

You know, we’ve talked a little bit about the impact of quantum computing on science and society. We’ve talked a lot about the the economic benefits it offers. You know, apart from the economics of it, what do you see as some of the potential societal impacts of quantum computing both positive and negative? And how do we try to mitigate the negative side?

 

[Rob Hays]  

Well, on the negative I mean, the one that everyone worried about we talked about earlier as this decryption issue right, I hope that’s a big nothing burger by the time we get there, because I’m hoping you know, we figure out the standards, NIST gets them in place, everybody adopts them. And you know, the computing and network infrastructure of the world. You know, non quantum just the standard infrastructure drives an upgrade cycle to push out these new encryption standards. And by the time the quantum computers are big enough and bad enough to be able to decrypt today’s standards, we’ve moved on to the next one. And it’s like y2k all over again. Much Ado About Nothing. That’s That’s my hope. We’ll see. benefits to society. We talked about a trillion dollars of economic value to be unlocked. I mean, computing touches every industry. Like I said, we’re gonna be these computers gonna be able to do things that no classical HPC system has been able to practically do today. To get a deeper insight into how the world works around us at a subatomic level and how, you know, molecules and chemicals and materials, you know, interact with each other and how to build things stronger, better, lighter, cheaper, faster, less energy, all that kind of stuff is just going to have a big impact on on, you know, the future of industry and society in general. So I think that’s what’s got me most excited is is all of the value that can be created and new things that just don’t exist today, whether they’re drugs or materials or, you know, better route to get your packages where they’re going deeper, faster, right? Things like that.

 

[Brian Beck]  

And, you know, as you know, as quantum computing helps us build new things. Yeah, the the system that lets us develop new drugs can also let us develop new poisons, bioweapons, other, you know, risky things. What ethical considerations do you think are most pressing as we work on these new technologies on quantum computing specifically?

 

[Rob Hays]  

You know, that’s an interesting question. I don’t spend a lot of time you know, diving deep into that. I know, there’s a lot of think tanks and so forth, you know, dcl sort of that do that. And certainly we engage with them to provide our input, you know, into that process. I think, the way I would go about answering that, as we’ve already got a number of people who got you know, answering that question right now for AI right and to a large extent even though quantum is a different technology, you know, under the covers that what we’re doing with AI you could you could I think you would think about like the the evil that could be done with quantum to be the same as the evil that can be done with AI or any other kind of classic compute. And so I think what I would probably suggest is the CEO think tanks, the policymakers and others that are that are really thinking through this issue. Get educated on what new capabilities is quantum bring to the table that wasn’t possible or practical before. And how does that expand the sort of the the threat surface of what could be done and then what additional controls or policies might we need to put in place in order to prevent that would be probably systematically how I would go about answering that question. But I honestly I don’t spend any, any time on my day thinking about what evil could be done with quantum because I’m thinking about how do we get this in the hands of our customers that want to do good with it, so. So yeah, I think I think that’d be a collaborative effort to answer that question.

 

[Brian Beck]  

So coming back from the far future to the very near future, I understand you’re going to be attending IQ T Vancouver Pacific Rim, June 4 through sixth. Pretty much looking forward to about the conference.

 

[Rob Hays]  

Yeah, we’re looking forward to joining IQ tea. You know, it’s we’ve joined a conference that’s held in different cities around the world, you know, for the last few years we’ve joined before and sponsored before you know, it’s a good place to engage with both industry kind of CO travelers as well as and customers and government officials who are, you know, beginning or on their journey to quantum information science, you know, understanding how that works for their, for their company, or their organization, what use cases. So, to me, I just look forward to meeting folks that are on that journey and figuring out how we can collaborate and cooperate on helping them this one will be in Canada in Vancouver, and so love that city. It’s an amazing place that many times so aside from, from a nice venue, getting hopefully getting to meet some new new faces and new companies.

 

[Brian Beck]  

And one last question to wrap things up. What do you want most want the average person to understand about quantum computing?

 

[Rob Hays]  

next wave of computing, computing touches everything. It’s going to be it’s gonna unlock things that just weren’t really practical or possible before. And like I said, to be behind the scenes, but I think it really, really will touch everybody in some way. And you know, probably be like aI back in, I think it was like 2012 with the first deep neural network paper was published on a GPU, I think, at the University of Toronto, if I’m remembering correct and nobody knew what the heck this thing was going to be back then. And, and now fast forward, you know, 12 years later, and it’s like all anyone can talk about and people can’t even, you know, get enough GPUs to satisfy the demand. So I think we’re somewhere around that. Timeframe back in 2012. Now in quantum and people are asking, Well, what is it how’s it work? And what am I gonna be able to do with it? But I think 12 years from now, I think it’s going to be profound change, and I think it’ll be much more in the foresight of people’s minds than

 

[Brian Beck]  

Rob, thanks for coming on the program and for talking to us it’s been great having you if you are watching us. Thanks for watching. Hope this has been instructive for you. And thanks, and we’ll see you a little Rob. We’ll see you at IQ T and viewers. Stay tuned. We’ll have more interviews on the way.

Rob Hays - Guest

CEO & President, Atom Computing

Rob Hays is CEO & President of Atom Computing, a company building highly scalable, gate-based quantum computers with atomic arrays of optically trapped neutral atoms, empowering researchers and companies to achieve unprecedented breakthroughs. Rob has over 20 years of technology leadership, pushing the limits of computing performance and accelerating innovation. Rob was previously Chief Strategy Officer of Lenovo’s Infrastructure Solutions Group and, prior to that, Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Xeon processor roadmaps.

Brian Beck - Host

Partner, Zuber Lawler

Brian Beck is a patent and commercial litigator with extensive experience in technologies including pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, mechanical devices, software, and business methods. His previous representations include successful defenses of trade secret lawsuits concerning manufacturing processes for extended release liquid pharmaceutical formulations and transdermal pharmaceutical formulations, representation of a French biotechnology company in patent litigation concerning gene editing techniques, and representation of a plaintiff pharmaceutical company in patent and trademark litigation concerning nutritional supplement compositions. He is also a registered patent attorney with experience representing parties in inter partes review proceedings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

18 + eighteen =