Standard Chartered Bank and Universities Space Research Association (USRA) have signed a Collaborative Research Agreement to partner on quantum computing research and developing quantum computing applications, according to a joint statement.
In finance, the most promising use cases with real-world applications include quantum machine learning models (generating synthetic data and data anonymization) and discriminative models (building strong classifiers and predictors) with multiple potential uses such as credit scoring and generating trading signals. As quantum computing technology matures, clients should benefit from higher quality services such as faster execution, better risk management and the development of new financial products.
Kahina Van Dyke, Global Head of Digital Channels and Client Data Analytics at Standard Chartered, said: “Similar to other major technological advancements, quantum computing is set to bring widespread benefits as well as disrupt many existing business processes. This is why it’s important for companies to future-proof themselves by adopting this new technology from an early stage. The partnership with USRA gives us access to world-class academic researchers and provides us with a unique opportunity to explore a wide range of models and algorithms with the potential to establish quantum advantage for the real-world use cases.”
Bernie Seery, Senior VP of Technology at USRA said that the partnership is a sign of the growing ecosystem developing around quantum computing.
“This partnership with the private sector enables a diversity of research through a competitively selected portfolio of quantum computing research projects involving academic institutions and non-profits, growing an ecosystem for quantum artificial intelligence that has already involved over 150 researchers from more than 40 organizations that produced over 50 peer-reviewed publications over the last seven years,” said Seery.
Financial technology is currently an area of increased interest for quantum computer specialists.
Alex Manson, Global Head of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm, stated: “The world is currently in the process of identifying commercial use cases where quantum computer capabilities will surpass classical computers. We have a conviction that some of these use cases will transform the way we manage risks in financial services, for example by simulating portfolios and exponentially speeding up the generation of market data. We will work with USRA to identify such use cases in financial services, with a view to implementing them within our bank, as well as potentially offering this service to other market participants over time.”
At USRA’s Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science, Dr. Davide Venturelli, Associate Director for Quantum Computing, notes that quantum annealing is implementing a powerful approach to computing, featuring unique advantages with respect to other traditional and novel approaches, that should be studied, theoretically and experimentally, to advance the state of art of computing technologies for the benefit of nearly all disciplines.
Standard Chartered’s team, led by Dr. Alexei Kondratyev, Global Head of Data Science and Innovation, and USRA have collaborated in quantum computing research since 2017. An earlier success in investigating the quantum annealing approach to computational problems in portfolio optimization use cases led to this strategic partnership, where USRA will continue to support fundamental academic research in quantum physics and artificial intelligence and Standard Chartered will focus on future commercial applications.
In 2012, USRA partnered with NASA to found the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL): the space agency’s hub to evaluate the near-term impact of quantum technologies. With QuAIL, the USRA team has investigated the physics, the engineering and the performance of multiple generations of quantum annealing processors built by D-Wave Systems, as well as participating in U.S. government research programs that looked into application of quantum annealing for combinatorial optimization, aviation, earth science and machine learning. NASA Ames Research Center is currently hosting a D-Wave 2000Q annealing system that will be made available for free for research by U.S. Universities, thanks to the support of this partnership.
Standard Chartered and USRA intend to develop this initial collaboration beyond quantum annealing to all unconventional computing systems that could provide an advantage to applications of interest, such as gate-model noisy-intermediate scale quantum (NISQ) processors and Coherent Ising machines.