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Difficulties and Solutions Developing Quantum Computing Software

Interviewee: Dr. Erik Garcell, Technical Marketing Manager at Classiq

Interviewer: Mark Bloomberg, Of Counsel at Zuber Lawler

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Dr. Erik Garcell, Technical Marketing Manager at Classiq - Guest

Erik Garcell Headshot

Dr. Erik Garcell is technical marketing manager at Classiq, which is revolutionizing the process of developing quantum computing software by taking quantum software to a higher level. Dr. Garcell was previously innovation product manager for IP.com and an innovation research scientist at Kodak Alaris. He has a Doctorate in physics from the University of Rochester, and a Master of Science in Technical Entrepreneurship & Management from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business.

Mark Bloomberg, Of Counsel at Zuber Lawler - Host

Mark Bloomberg Headshot

A former rocket scientist, Mark has over 35 years of patent litigation experience. He is focused on both traditional and emerging technologies, including quantum computing and AI. He boasts a sensational record at trial, having won an eight-month bench trial verdict on behalf of an international consumer products company for $925 million in damages. That said, he has most often represented clients on the defense side, including a defense of a computer company resulting in a settlement with a reported worth of $1.6 billion to the client. Mark is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, with two engineering degrees from MIT. He is a member of the U.S. Patent Bar.

Transcript

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

[Mark] Welcome. I am Mark Bloomberg, and I am of Counsel at Zuber Lawler. Thank you for joining us today. Zuber Lawler is a law firm which has seven offices in different cities across the United States. We do deals with all sorts of traditional areas of technology. But More importantly, we are exceedingly interested in the technology that will be important and will drive the economy in ten to twenty years. And one of those areas of technology is uh quantum computing quality technology. Now Dead Cat Live Cat is an online quantum computing magazine. It was founded by law firms. BLG in Canada, Marks & Clerk in the UK, Schindler's in South Africa and Zuber Lawler are here in the United States. Now it is true that we are all attorneys, but it is also true that we are scientists, engineers, and and futurists uh focusing on the likelihood that quantum computing is something that is going to be uh really bringing forth the fundamental change. Um in our world in the next two decades. With that in mind that Today we are fortunate to be joined by Dr. Erik Garcell, who is the technical marketing manager at Classiq, and he is going to tell us about his experience and about his vision in this field. So Dr. Garcell welcome and thank you for agreeing to share your thoughts with us on the subject of the technology.

[Erik] Pleasure to be here, Mark. Well, uh, I work for plastic, right? We're a quantum computing uh software development platform that's bringing software development to a higher level. So we're on the software end of the quantum computing stack.

[Mark] Okay, and, you know, what are some of the uh exciting developing quantum computing. There, that you see is taking place today.

[Erik] That's uh, gosh, uh! There is exciting developments happening every day. Honestly, right. My RSS feed is blowing up. um, cause there there's so much to the quantum computing stack everywhere, from the hardware uh to the software and every bit that connects in between right and there there's amazing advancements happening in the hardware daily, right? There's uh right. IBM is coming out with bigger and bigger computers. Uh, you know, in their modality right super uh super connecting qubits. But there's also different ways to create, You know, super computers. There's trapped ions. There's called, uh, you know, uh cold atoms. There's uh photonics that are pretty interesting using nonlinear crystals, you know, literally using light as your quantum particle. And you see, uh, really cool dance. What's happening there, of course, on the software. And we're making Uh, we're making it so that the hardware end is actionable, right? That you can actually build the quantum software to run on that quantum hardware. There's companies who their sole job and and what they're doing is making sure that you can run hybrid jobs efficiently right, doing uh classical and quantum in tandem. Uh, you know, error correcting code. So there's great advancements happening every bit of the way.

[Mark] So. Um, just sort of quick looking at a crystal ball for a moment. What are the applications of fun of technology that you see as being the things that may be most widely used in maybe five to ten years.

[Erik] Yeah, they're They're gonna be uh kind of what you've seen in most popular articles on quantum because they're they're true what they're talking about. Right? You're gonna see a lot of finance applications. You're gonna see a lot of pharmaceutical applications, right? Bio Pharma Drug discovery. Um, you're gonna see manufacturing and logistics, and that that's because those are some of the most important and kind of key bits that a quantum computer can solve and and solve effectively right simulations of nature. Or one of the reasons quantum computers were, you know, developed in the first place, because Nature doesn't behave classically, it behaves quantum mechanically. So right in five, ten years, I hope to see uh, you know, pharmaceutical researchers spending more time using quantum computers simulating, you know, uh drugs than they are in the lab doing trial and air experiments.

[Mark] Okay, Well, given that this is really going to be a growing thing. It's going to be sort of the wave of the future. What should companies be be doing now to prepare themselves for what's going to be coming down in five to ten years.

[Erik] Well, they they should be starting now, right if you if you haven't started investigating quantum or or starting a team uh begin today, right by my favorite adage, for this is uh what's the best time to plant a tree? Well, the best time to plant the tree was ten years ago the second best time to plan to treat it today right? Uh, because you're not gonna go through a whole digital transformation strategy in your company in a week, right? It's not gonna happen in a short amount of time. You you need to start investigating this technology now building teams together and and moving and partnering with companies to advance your quantum uh your quantum team.

[Mark] You know we're talking about quantum, and that's quantum technology, but it's gonna involve people. And so the question is from a people's perspective. Are there people around that are are capable of doing these things or skilled in doing these things. And where where does that stand?

[Erik] Yeah, there is. There is definitely people There's not enough right? Every every single conference I've gone to involving quantum computing at some point. One of the keynote speeches is talking about the lack of talent in the industry. We need more quantum programmers, right? Um. Universities are starting to pick up the pace with building new curriculum for for quantum computing programs. Um, putting that in developing and hopefully graduating more quantum uh programmers in the future. But right now quantum programmers are a hot commodity, so you know, try and hire out who you can, and if not upskill your current uh your current software developers.

[Mark] In addition to the the people issue which we'd have to deal with. Now you know what are some of the more challenging aspects that companies are going to be facing and trying to, you know, build out their their quantum products in the next few years.

[Erik] Yeah, The The trouble right now is that uh developing quantum code in its current state is difficult. Right? We're at this assembly language level, right? So everything that quantum computing has gone through is analogous with classical computing. So right now, everyone's programming at the Assembly language, which is code that specifically and literally talks to the hardware uh bit by bit. Um. So right now, you'd have to program a quantum computer telling every qubit right? The plus computers have bits. Quantum computers have qubit because you you throw a queue in front of it, and it's quantum. Now, um! You have to tell every qubit exactly what to do for every time step. And if you're trying to build this for business relevant problems, right, Have actual. You know, a program that builds business value. They're not going to be small circuits. They're not gonna be five qubit ten qubit They're gonna be hundreds, thousands of qubits uh large problems and doing this by hand, you know, bit by bit it's a difficult process, and requires quite a bit of knowledge about the minutia of how does this work? How do you build this code. So it's optimized for the hardware you want to run on because IBM has hardware right? IonQ has hardware. Um! There's plenty of hardware vendors to choose from. You can optimize your code for one of the other, and the Assembly language that you're programming into can be different. Depending on the hardware. You're doing so if you want to switch modalities, that's even a a beast itself.

[Mark] So it sounds like the process of developing software in the quantum world is a little bit different from the process in the conventional world.

[Erik] It's a the process itself actually isn't all that different right. The software engineers will will feel quite comfortable programming quantum computer once they get that manuscript understanding It's you. You draw out a quantum circuit diagram the same way you would do classically, except you have qubits uh instead of bits for your wires, and you have gates instead of Boolean operators that the bits go through. So they. They look very similar at the onset. And you go through the same kind of development cycles. Right? You. You go through right. You have your your idea. You implement it, you run it, you debug it, you optimize it, and then you you go through that cycle a few times until you release that code. So the process of going through it's the same, but it it's almost the same as, being an English speaker and trying to read a German manuscript. It uses the same letters right. You read it left to right. But if you try and read it right, the you have to understand how it comes together, and that's not a trivial thing to to know.

[Mark] Okay, this this next one is going to be like kind of right in your suite spot. Uh, now that you give it all these complications, what what products is is classic now working on? That might help in this regard.

[Erik] Uh quantum competing programs. Because right business, relevant programs, Aren't: going to be small. So the classic platform allows you to uh scale this code up, no matter how large your your problem might be uh. It also lowers the bury to entry to get in the field. It will automatically generate your Assembly language based off of uh high level functional coding. So instead of having to program at the functional level, right going in and doing assembly language, Sorry, Yeah. Instead of doing things that symbol language. You're doing it at this higher level, functional uh arena. Where, uh we like to say it it's true for any industry you're into Um! It's easier to describe what you want than to implement it right? People know what they want doing. The thing is the difficult bit, but computers are are excellent and handling minutia considerations and things like this. So let's let the computer handle what they're best at. And let's let the humans describe what they want to have happen. So, using the classic platform, you go in and you use, uh what we call functional blocks. You describe out what you want it to do right. Do this calculation, Then add these two things together. Give me the output, and it will give you the Assembly language for you to run on whichever quantum hardware you want, and it'll optimize it for the hardware of your choice also. So you don't have to know. How do I optimize, or the same thing, the same code. How do I optimize it for this hardware, that hardware? How do I write it in this language? That language you don't have to have all that fundamental knowledge. So it really lowers the vary to entry. So software uh developers can get into the field.

[Mark] Okay? Well, this is a complicated problem. It you know your solution is very promising. If there's anything that we know about this industry is that it's fast moving. So, looking at, let's say, five years. How do you Do you think that programming software might be different five years from now than it is today?

[Erik] Yeah. And in five years we're going to have hardware. That's going to start getting into right. The The of qubits and doing things by hand at that point will be uh in all instance, is impossible, Right? It will take months to try and program even the simplest code. And that's not feasible on a day to day perspective, right. So the industry is going to have to move to this higher level programming, like classics, deploying and hopefully in five years everyone's using the classic platform because we're the scalable solution for business relevant problems. Um, But the industry does need to move to this place, or we won't. Be able to use the great hardware that's being developed.

[Mark] We're talking about everybody being involved in all the different the parts of you know the hardware, the software and so forth, and so on. Um, It sounds like it would be difficult for a single company to be able to, you know, do make a whole product from A to Z. Is that is that fair?

[Erik] Yeah, right Now, that's definitely the case. Because, uh, you know, while classics handling, you know, and and solving them. And you ship problem on the software end where you don't have to know all that consideration. There's still quite a bit of manufacture in the rest of the the software stack right in the the hardware stack there is, uh which hardware to choose for the problem you're trying to solve. Um! How do you communicate with that? How do you get that output? What do you do with that code after the fact? So it really helps to uh partner with the company that knows what they're doing, so they can go ahead and build out this. You know quantum application that you're looking at.

[Mark] So it sounds like there's probably a lot of collaboration going on. Can you sort of describe what seems to be happening in that regard?

[Erik] Yeah, there, there's a couple of ways that uh, specifically, we we've seen clients engage in the quantum uh community. You can go ahead and uh work with a service provider that will build you code for the thing you're looking for, right? If you have a specific application. There's certainly companies that will build out that code for you. Here you go. Here's how you use it. Um, you know you get build, and you you figure out who owns the intellectual property through through contracts, you know. Maybe the the vendor still has rights. Maybe you have rights, but um the other end is what classic does, and we're more of a a a person to fish than give a person a fish. We want to be able to, uh empower. Our clients use our platform so that you can develop these uh these applications on your own eventually without any handholding, without any assistance. But right now we typically work through proof of concepts of companies. We'll start engaging with them. Uh, they have an application in mind or or problem. We'll go ahead and let them know right whether that's a good problem for quantum computing or not, because we're not going to be doing. Zoom calls over a quantum computer. That's for certain. You know, quantum computers are remarkably good at certain things and terrible at others. So let's use them for the right reasons. Select that problem. Um, And we work with the you know the developers on the clients and go through some proof of concepts, showing them how to use it benchmarking against their own, software so that they can then go off on their own and develop their cool applications.

[Mark] Yeah. Well, with all this new technology, I think you mentioned the moment ago, intellectual property is our our efforts being made to uh try to patent various things in this field.

[Erik] Our blog wrote with United Health Care Group, where an individual there was telling us that they're investigating quantum computing uh, not for applying it in the immediate, but for patenting to figure out, How can they use it as a company? What are the applications, and then teaching their engineers the applications of quantum, so that when they come up with new ideas, they can have quantum in mind when they're writing their claims language. Um, So there's a lot of movement in patenting in in the quantum field, both, of course, on the hardware and right Ibm, and all them have tons of uh, you know, patents on their bits. But uh, as far as the clients, and we just did a survey. In fact, we'll release it. You know an article in a few weeks talking about uh, how the industry is moving in a strong way, patenting, and you know it, protecting their intellectual property rights in this area.

[Mark] Well, if there are a lot of intellectual property rights which which there are, and there are a lot of people collaborating so that everybody has sort of a hand in the pie. Does that create complications?

[Erik] Um, Not as long as you rate contracts right right when you're working with one of these, you know. Uh companies. Right? Certainly. Uh, when you work with classic, the contract is that you own the intellectual property, right. We are facilitating your development. Uh, and that's, you know, all written out nice and cleanly. Um, right If you come up with a really cool financial application that's yours. You own the intellectual property. So just make sure you write your your your language very cleanly and nicely in those contracts and review it. But uh, usually I haven't seen any huge issues so far. But uh, you let me know if any come up.

[Mark] Okay? Well, you know, people always talk about pants, and they're very excited about that, and it, and it's kind of nice, and it looks pretty on the wall, or whatever right um. How do you think they are? These are going to? The patents are going to impact your industry?

[Erik] Yeah, Um, certainly. In in the quantum industry itself, right uh everyone's being quite friendly with one another. Um, But we're gonna start seeing patents are going to start fencing off other people from doing, You know, your expertise, and the same thing is going to happen on the clients, and and why clients are patenting as well. They want to make sure they're protecting their intellectual property rights for the future. Right? If you're known for doing something in the financial sector, you want to patent the quantum analog of that. Because if you don't, you might find out in, you know, you know, five, ten years. You try and do this application, and your patent fenced out of even working in that area, and someone's eating your lunch now, Right, You're no longer known for being the expert in that, because you can't even operate there. Um! So that's what we're starting to see. You know this interest in patenting for patent fencing. Um, and probably licensing right in the future. It's going to be quite lucrative. But um uh, you definitely want to protect it, because you know every one of these these, you know uh reports. You know Gartner Mckinsey. Bloomberg, you know they're all saying that in the next, you know. Five years, ten years we're absolutely going to see strong uh applications in quantum. They're going to bring business value patents last twenty years. So if you're not patenting now, you're going to find out, you know, in certain areas you're not going to be able to work in it.

[Mark] Okay, and just sort of a a sum up question. Now, if you, if you and I were sitting here uh ten years from now, and looking back at what happened over the last ten years. What would you say? Wow! This happened. What success we had with this. What are the things that you would look for? And you know, say, wow, that was really successful. We were to pull that off.

[Erik] That's a good question. Um, I mean every bit of the way is success right? Success is a difficult one to define. ahead of time. Too many steps of the way it's like asking um. You know. What are the steps of success for for the computer right? When when did computers reach success? Is it? You know the first, you know, personal computer. Is it the first uh, you know, you know, billion transistor computer right for supercomputer benchmarking success for quantum is really uh excessive lines in the sand, and any one particular right uh, you know, quantum was was a science fiction until IBM. Put it on the cloud, and now it's It's tangible, Right? Oh, my gosh! That's success, right? Uh they went ahead and built larger computers, now proving that it's scalable. All right? Success. Clients are using it for actual business reasons, right? Volkswagen is going and uh testing out quantum optimization for their paint shops. Success, right? So uh, every step of the way. Every benchmark that we pass is a new line of success, and and what we're going to see in the future. Um, I think it's going to surprise us. This industry moves so phenomenally fast. It's almost a different industry. Every six months that we're here. Um! And amazing things come out of left field, too. It might end up being that one of these technologies right? Maybe it's not super conducting qubits that Ibm's using, or one of the the bigger powerhouses are going with ends up being far more scalable, and that shoots off like a rocket.I'm certainly excited for what the successes are going to look like, but i'm sure we're going to have quite a few.

[Mark] Okay? Terrific. Well, I thank you. Uh Dr. We really appreciate your uh sharing your thoughts. So to us today about this really exciting industry, and very much enjoyed speaking with you.

[Erik] Thank you.

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