Quantum strategists are those who seek to harness the power of quantum mechanics to gain a competitive advantage. As the world becomes more complex, the need for quantum strategies is becoming increasingly apparent.
The field of quantum strategy is still relatively new, however, there are already several notable individuals who have made significant contributions. This article will explore these leading figures.
“Quantum User” – Company Developing Quantum Strategy
While global companies like Microsoft and Honeywell have adopted and been successful with their own quantum strategies, in part due to the technical capabilities and capital resources they possess, other multinationals have been left behind — this could be for several reasons such as not being a “legacy tech company” or “company with legacy technical skills” in the first place, or not envisioning a future with a “Q” in it because they haven’t bought into the media hype.
Whatever the reason, the uptake has been rather slow — yet, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any multinationals out there that don’t see a use for quantum technologies in their wider business strategy.
The term “quantum user” refers to a company that, for any number of factors, sees quantum technologies — either in the form of applications such as the quantum internet, quantum algorithms, quantum simulations or quantum sensing — as having enough value proposition now that it makes sense to invest in the tech so that in the future enough tangible use-cases will materialize to make the initial investment worthwhile.
It’s a gamble, yes, but so is crossing the road, some would say.
Which Companies Are Working on Quantum Strategizing?
Already The Quantum Insider has been collecting data on these “quantum end-users”. Names like Astra Zeneca, BMW and Foxconn sit next to Mastercard, Hitachi and Royal Dutch Shell in our extensive database.
Yes, some of them have very strong technical capabilities but lack the knowledge in what we call “deep tech” or “hard tech”, which is where quantum technologies lie.
Anyway, all the Foxconns and Royal Dutch Shells of this world have now cottoned on to how quantum can transform their businesses.
And what have they done about it?
Well, they’ve become proactive, hiring some of the best minds in the world to begin their very own quantum tech programs and research initiatives.
As in the last post I wrote for TQD: 51 CTOs Transforming The World of Quantum Tech, there is an unfortunate shortfall of women represented, with only Lene B. Oddershede to boast of.
The individuals included are those who in one way or another are doing something for their respective companies on the quantum front, either as program directors, leads, or principal researchers. Some of them are solely focused on quantum; others are in charge of larger programs that include quantum research. Whatever their responsibilities, these people are creating a better future, not only for their companies but for humanity in general, too.
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*All data is relevant as of early August 2021
23 Most Innovative Quantum Strategies Developers
1. Leigh Lapworth: Fellow, Computational Science Rolls-Royce
Technical lead for QC at iconic British manufacturer Rolls-Royce, Leigh Lapworth’s official title is the Rolls-Royce Fellow in Computational Sciences. With the company for more than thirty years, Lapworth possesses a vast amount of experience developing and applying physics-based simulations utilizing high-performance computers while concurrently in charge of a collaborative research project with the STFC Hartree Centre entitled “Quantum Algorithms for Aerospace Applications”. He is also the company’s representative on several external advisory boards and panels.
With a Ph.D. in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) from Cranfield University, Lapworth is a Chartered Mathematician and Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, a Royal Society Industry Fellow and a member of the UKRI’s e-Infrastructure Expert Group and the STFC’s Computing Advisory Panel. He is also an Honorary Professorial Fellow at Warwick University. Prior to this, he was a director of CFMS Ltd., a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Airbus specializing in high-value design using advanced modelling and simulation and high-performance computing.
2. Darren Brock: Principal Research Engineer, Space, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Principal Research Engineer at Lockheed Martin Corporation since 2008, Darren K. Brock obtained his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester. Site lead at the LM Space Advanced Microelectronics R&D fab, his work as Principal Investigator for Lockheed Martin on multiple R&D projects encompasses nanotechnology, quantum technology, quantum strategy and RF/mmW integrated circuits.
The co-author of more than thirty technical articles and 37 US patents, Brock is a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
3. Florian Neukart: Director, Data Lab Volkswagen Group of America
In the role since 2019, Florian Neukart is the Director of Volkswagen Group Advanced Technologies, set up to expand Volkswagen Group’s knowledge by exploring new domains to provide strategic guidance and technical solutions to tomorrow’s challenges. For nearly half a decade now, Volkswagen’s experts have been researching to find new ways to apply QC to everyday challenges. And they seem to be getting somewhere: Volkswagen was the first automaker to demo a practical application of quantum computing for route and traffic management.
A seasoned technical leader, quantum strategist, and scientist, Neukart is an integral part of this with his research in the fields of quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
“Everything we learn now can give us an advantage in the future. Some challenges and questions in fields like material science may only be solvable through quantum computing. In other areas, we can take a problem that might require a week of classical computing power and finish it in a day or less.”
— Florian Neukart
Neukart, who holds a Ph.D. in quantum computing and artificial intelligence from the Transilvania University of Brasov, is also an assistant professor at Leiden University, where he works on quantum computing and artificial intelligence. As well as this he was one of the first researchers to propose stategy of quantum neural networks implementation, and among the first ones to solve real-world problems of society and environment utilizing quantum computing/ annealing, too.
Yet his skills don’t end there, either, as he is the author of the book, Reverse Engineering the Mind — Consciously Acting Machines and Accelerated Evolution.
4. Andrew Lord: Senior Manager, Optical and Quantum Research, BT
Andrew Lord, Head of Global R&D at BT, has been at the company since the mid-1980s. In that time, he has worked on a wide range of optical network systems, including long-haul subsea and terrestrial DWDM.
Currently head of BT’s optical research on quantum communications, especially quantum key distribution (QKD) — which Lord is an expert in — BT is now making major breakthroughs in this technology. Commenting on this, Lord believes, “the system’s capacity for identifying unauthorized intrusion on fibre optic networks could ensure that it offers both even more security than some of today’s trusted encryption techniques and ongoing resilient protection against constantly advancing future threats.”
With a BA in physics from Oxford University, Lord is a visiting Professor at Essex University, a Senior Member of IEEE, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Lightwave Technology, and the author of over 100 research papers.
5. Kaushik Dey: Head of Data Sciences & Quantum AI at Ericsson Research
Head of Data Sciences and Quantum AI at Ericsson Research, Kaushik Dey has been in the role since 2019, where he oversees quantum strategies, fundamental research, collaborations, and thought leadership. Dey, with his two decades’ worth of experience in AI research, product and solution development, data strategy and architecture, is a key man in Ericsson’s journey into understanding applied cryptography and the opportunities from it.
Prior to Ericsson, Dey worked at IBM for more than a decade in several roles from technical team lead, managing consultant in electronics and high tech to consulting and transformation leader in advanced analytics.
He holds an MS.c in data science and business analytics from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani.
6. Rana Pratap Sircar: Research Leader, Ericsson Research, Cloud Optimization, Quantum Program
A person similar to Kaushik Dey whose contributions to Ericsson’s quantum push are helping the multinational gain a competitive advantage in the space is Rana Pratap Sircar, Program Head for Ericsson Research’s Quantum Program and Head Cloud Research team in Bangalore, India. In charge of Ericsson’s edge cloud technologies offering applications in 5G and beyond — as well as research management for QC and other fields — he is also a mentor for Ericsson Innovation Awards.
With engineering experience that stretches back to the mid-1990s, Sircar obtained both his MSc in physics and M.Tech in optoelectronics and optical communication from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
7. Constantin Gonciulea: Head of Advanced Technology at Wells Fargo
A mathematician by training with a Ph.D. in mathematics from Ohio State University, Constantin Gonciulea is head of the advanced technology group at Wells Fargo. In the job since June of this year, Gonciulea is responsible for advanced engineering, distributed ledger technologies and QC — a particular focus area of his — for the San Francisco, California-based bank.
Prior to his position at Wells Fargo, Gonciulea was at JPMorgan Chase & Co for over fifteen years where he finished his long stint as Head of Advanced Computing, Consumer and Community Bank.
Although not always a specialist in quantum during his career, a hearty passion for data science, ML, distributed computing and mobile makes Gonciulea the right candidate to help Wells Fargo ascertain the best use cases for financial services and map out the Fortune 500 company’s long-term quantum strategy.
8. Daniel Volz: Quantum Computing Project Lead, BASF
Daniel Volz is the project lead for QC at chemical giant BASF. In the position, he works on the development and implementation of strategy, which includes growth, tech-based innovation, marketing and sales.
Prior to his work at BASF, Volz was a senior consultant in McKinsey’s chemicals practice, while also consulting tech-based startups in strategy-related topics and building up McKinsey’s quantum computing capabilities.
Volz has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
9. Andre Luckow: Head of Emerging Technologies, BMW Group
Head of Emerging Technologies at BMW Group, Andre Luckow’s responsibilities focus on how applications of ML, QC and blockchain can assist BMW in areas such as complex optimization and materials research.
Before becoming Head of Emerging Technologies, Luckow held several functions at BMW Group IT in Munich. Along with his work at the German car manufacturer, he teaches a number of courses at various universities that include the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany, and Clemson University, US.
Luckow obtained his Ph.D. in the field of distributed computing from the University of Potsdam.
10. Tomasz Cwik: Head of New Technologies and Architecture Department, BNP Paribas Bank Polska
Leader of the new Technology/R&D unit introducing the newest technologies based on AI and the Cloud, but also including the banks quantum services, too, Tomasz Cwik — Head of New Technologies and Architecture Department at BNP Paribas Bank Polska — links these technologies with business ideas and new business models, improving the bank’s outcomes in these areas.
An IT leader with close to 15 years experience in the sector where he has worked for and advised on international banks and startups, Cwik has an MS.c in software engineering from Wroclaw University of Science and Technology.
11. Joydip Ghosh: Quantum Computing Project Lead at Ford Research & Advanced Engineering
Leveraging powerful quantum-inspired technology could make all the difference for problems like vehicle routing optimization, one thing Joydip Ghosh, Quantum Computing Project Lead at Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, is only too aware of.
With more than ten years of research experience in quantum control, algorithms and simulation via hands-on collaboration with leading experimental teams (superconducting and semiconducting quantum computing), as well as developing a vision towards quantum strategies and advanced computing for the Dearborn, Michigan-based company, Ghosh’s duties include building an internal research team by recruiting potential individuals in quantum strategic areas that support Ford’s initiative towards QC, not to mention leading internal and external research projects that create values under real-world environment.
“There are many problems facing our industry that can be expressed in some form of the Travelling Salesman problem.”
— Joydip Ghosh
Education-wise, Ghosh has a Ph.D. in physics from The University of Georgia, Athens, as well as substantial graduate experience in conducting computational and theoretical research on superconducting QC at his alma mater.
12. Lene B. Oddershede: Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk Foundation
Although a shame on many levels, it’s a pleasure to introduce the only woman on the list, Lene B. Oddershede, who is Senior Vice President, Head of Natural and Technical Science and Interdisciplinarity at Danish multinational pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation was created to develop “new knowledge in such disciplines as chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science [and] is essential for advancing and developing new solutions to several societal challenges, including sustainability.
Or as Oddershede puts it: “Long-term investments in the natural and technical science are crucial for Denmark to continue to be an international leader in such fields as climate change, economics, living standards and health for future generations.”
The scope of Foundation’s goals, then, and Oddershede’s job, also covers quantum tech:
Quantum-based understanding of natural processes: by realizing quantum simulators and new quantum technologies, the Foundation will help to solve complex and important problems in biology, chemistry and medicine that cannot currently be solved using existing computers.
With a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Southern Denmark, Oddershede was trained as an experimental physicist and constructed the first optical manipulation facility in Scandinavia. An expert on mechanics of living matter with a focus on biomechanics of cancer cells, stem cells and developing organs, besides this she is a pioneer in exploring and understanding the interaction between nanoparticles, light and living matter and has invented a novel cancer therapy based on plasmonic nanoparticles.
13. Thomas Strohm: Chief Expert for Quantum Technologies at Bosch
Having worked for a German multinational engineering and technology company Bosch for over twenty years as a research scientist and coordinator for quantum strategies before taking on his latest role as Chief Expert for Quantum Technologies, Thomas Strohm’s duties involve QC and QRNG for the Gerlingen-based multinational and he has a keen interest in the foundations of quantum physics and in modelling quantum systems.
With a Ph.D. in solid-state physics from the Max-Planck Institute for Solid State Research, outside his work for Bosch, Strohm is very active in the European Quantum Flagship, as a member of its Coordination Office and as a representative of German industry in its European Quantum Community Network.
14. Marko Rancic: Head of Quantum Computing at Total SE
Marko Rancic is Head of QC and the principal quantum computing research scientist at Total SE where he manages a multimillion-euro research portfolio.
His duties for the French multinational integrated oil and gas company, one of the seven “supermajors”, is to establish and maintain contacts with partners, develop long-term strategic goals related to quantum computing, supervise a number of Ph.D. students, postdocs and senior researchers and — as he likes to put it — “get his hands dirty” with fundamental and applied research.
Rancic holds a Ph.D. in quantum computing and theoretical condensed matter physics from the University of Konstanz, Germany.
15. Lee Braine: Director of Research and Engineering, Barclays
With a Ph.D. in computer science from the University College London, Lee Braine is Director of Research and Engineering at Barclays.
“Innovation, for me, concerns the introduction of better processes, technologies and products — typically with a focus on their practical implementation. It’s related to the idea of invention, with the focus on actually realising the implementation of those inventions and their business benefits.”
— Lee Braine
Braine’s background is in investment banking, clearing and settlement, stock exchanges, corporate banking, payments, and wealth management — completely different from the work he is currently involved in, leading the bank’s technology architecture for distributed ledgers and engagement in QC.
16. Andre Fuetsch: President AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer at AT&T
Andre Fuetsch, President of AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer at AT&T, oversees the global technology direction for the company. This includes network planning, the company’s innovation road map, AT&T Labs, AT&T Foundry, and the intellectual property organization. Responsibilities also include spearheading the design of the company’s next-generation 5G wireless infrastructure and software-defined networking (SDN) initiative which will inevitably assist AT&T with its future solutions in quantum networking.
Fuetsch gained a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and operations research at U.C. Berkeley and completed his graduate coursework in computer science at Stanford University.
17. Alireza Shabani: Head of Quantum Strategies at Cisco Systems
Engineering Tech Lead and Head of Quantum Research at American multinational technology conglomerate Cisco Systems, Alireza Shabani is a scientist and entrepreneur with a track record of product development, team building and management specialized in AI, Cloud Computing and Quantum Technologies, particular in quantum dynamics, control, measurement, quantum computation, error correction, quantum hardware, and quantum Biology
Shabani has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California with postdoc work in chemistry at both Princeton University and UC-Berkeley.
18. Marco Pistoia: Managing Director, Distinguished Engineer, Head of Research and Engineering, Head of Quantum Technology at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Marco Pistoia has been Managing Director, Distinguished Engineer, Head of Research and Engineering, Head of Quantum Technology at JPMorgan Chase & Co. since early 2020. Prior to this, he spent nearly 25 years at IBM as a Distinguished Researcher, Quantum Strategist, Master Inventor and senior manager.
Bringing all that experience to JPMorgan, Pistoia will help develop financial use cases for advanced technologies like quantum computing, edge computing, 5G wireless and the internet of things for the bank.
As the inventor of 226 US patents, granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office, and over 200 patent-pending patent applications, 30 of which are in the field of quantum computing, Pistoia is evidently the right man for the job. The 70-plus scholarly articles he has written on various aspects of program analysis, language-based security and QC only compounds the fact.
Pistoia obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics from New York University.
19. Luke Sweatlock: Director of Basic Research at Northrop Grumman Space System
Luke Sweatlock is Director of Basic Research at Northrop Grumman Space System. Leading an interdisciplinary research effort in engineered optical materials — with a particular emphasis on functional metamaterials for active and nonlinear devices — means he is an important cog in Northrop Grumman developing its program in quantum technology.
Sweatlock, who received his Ph.D. in applied physics from Caltech, is also the founding principal investigator of NGAS’ Nanophotonics and Plasmonics Laboratory.
20. Andrew Shields: Head of Quantum Technology Division at Toshiba Europe Ltd
Leading R&D at Toshiba Europe on quantum technology and a business unit developing products for secure communications based on quantum cryptography, Andrew Shields is Head of Quantum Technology Division at Toshiba Europe Ltd.
And it’s Toshiba’s commitment to delivering the world’s leading cyber-physical-system technology to protect the private information of citizens and companies based on quantum key distribution (QKD) that will be realized thanks to the work of scientists like Shields and others.
Shields gained a Ph.D. in physics from Imperial College London.
21. Marcin Detyniecki: Head of Research and Development and Group Chief Data Scientist at AXA
As Head of R&D & Group Chief Data Scientist at AXA, Marcin Detyniecki’s duties include working on quantum-based simulation and optimization problems for the French multinational insurance firm, hoping that QC’s ability to optimize portfolios, simulate risk and parse through countless unstructured datasets will lead to practical use-cases for the financial services industry.
With a Ph.D. in computer science (AI) from the Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, and postdoc research experience in ML from the University of California, Berkeley, Detyniecki can take AXA’s R&D efforts in this area to new heights.
22. Antonio Manzalini: Senior Project Manager of the Innovation Department of Telecom Italia Mobile
Antonio Manzalini is Senior Manager at the Innovation Department of Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM). Here, his scope of activities covers TIM’s research in software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), edge cloud computing and quantum communications. He is currently the Chair of IG GSMA work-item on Quantum Technologies and Services. Since 2005, he has been studying quantum technologies (QFT and QED) for developing advanced solutions for computing and networking for the Future Internet.
Manzalini has a Ph.D in computer science and networks from Télécom SudParis and Université Pierre & Marie Curie — Sorbonne Universités.
23. Man-Hong Yung: Huawei’s Chief Quantum Computing Software and Algorithm Scientist
Man-Hong Yung is Huawei’s Chief Quantum Computing Software and Algorithm Scientist. Head of the Chinese multinational technology company’s quantum software and algorithm research based on quantum computing simulators, Man-Hong Yung has already helped his employer with the work done with the HiQ cloud service platform for quantum computing simulators.
“The general belief among researchers is that in the future, quantum computers will be of enormous benefit in the fields of quantum chemical simulation and artificial intelligence (AI). As has been the case with many great inventions in history, once we successfully develop quantum computers, we will discover many more applications that we can’t imagine today.”
— Man-Hong Yung
Before working for Hauwei, Man-Hong Yung spent almost two decades in academia as a quantum physicist at the Southern University of Science and Technology, Tsinghua University and Harvard University.
Where Are We Heading With Quantum Strategies?
In conclusion, the field of quantum strategy is still relatively new but already has several notable individuals who have made significant contributions. These leading figures are helping to shape the future of this exciting area of research and development.