Introducing the QSI

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As the quantum sector continues to grow, connections are being made between those in the quantum industry and business. One organization that is helping to forge these connections is the Quantum Strategy Institute (QSI). Established in mid-September of 2021, the QSI is run by volunteers with expertise in both fields. “The purpose of the Quantum Strategy Institute is to help foster the successful adoption of quantum technologies in the business community,” QSI Head of Marketing, Michaela Burcea, stated. Burcea is one of five women in leadership positions within the QSI. Deputy Head, Danika Hannon, helped create the QSI with Brian Lenahan, CEO of Aquitaine Innovation Advisors. In speaking about the impact of QSI, Hannon said: “QSI is an international network of cross-domain experts with a rich and varied expertise, sharing a passion for quantum technologies.”

In order to help businesses see the potentials of adopting quantum technology, QSI volunteers used their expertise to develop strategies. “Some of the main questions for an organization to adopt quantum technology revolve around time frame and application areas,” Amrita Manzari, Head of AI and Quantum Machine Learning, explained. “If you think about the consumer space of the market, especially in the finance and business sector, you may ask: what is the time frame? The other question that gets asked is: why do we need this exactly?” In publishing articles highlighting this dialogue, the QSI was helped to make itself a useful guide for those curious about the quantum industry.

Besides publishing articles, the QSI has implemented other projects to help contribute to both the quantum and business realms. “One aspect of our projects is research-focused, mainly on the application of quantum technologies and understanding applications in a broad sense, for example, regarding industry verticals, quantum machine learning, and the cloud,” Head of Change Management, Esperanza Cuenca Gomez clarified. These projects help businesses to better understand the science behind quantum technologies, as well as their benefits. The QSI is also planning ahead for 2022. According to Burcea: “We have two other exciting projects in the pipeline, including holding an International Quantum Strategist Day event and expanding our portfolio with an educational program.” Manzari elaborated on this new holiday by explaining that: “we’re going to talk about why quantum strategy is one of the major areas for the next decade.” The combination of these projects gives QSI a multi-disciplinary approach to helping develop important partnerships between the two realms.

As QSI is all volunteer-run, the participating individuals all have deep passions for quantum technologies. Some individuals, like Hannon or Manzari, have been interested in quantum since childhood. “I remember in high school, my father used to bring me the Science Reporter,” Manzari said. “I didn’t have internet facilities at that point in time, I used to go to cyber-hubs, just to gather knowledge on astronomy. My favorite topic was black holes. I then had an inclination toward computer science engineering. After I started my job, I enjoyed computer science but still had a burning desire of connecting to physics. That’s when I found quantum computing as a way that connected the two.”

Others, like Cuenca Gomez or Burcea, have entered the quantum industry more recently. “Coming into quantum was a spontaneous move, but following that instinct was one of the best decisions I have taken,” Burcea stated. “It started with my interest being piqued by some documentaries about the quantum revolution. From there, I started learning about the industry until I stumbled upon one of the Entangled Discussions webinars where Esperanza Cuenca Gomez (a now-colleague) was giving a talk about applications of quantum technologies in finance.” The variation in backgrounds allows the QSI a multi-perspective collaboration for developing new connections and avenues for a quantum strategy to be a part of.

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No matter what sort of background each individual has, all of them voiced their goals of expanding their own knowledge. According to Head of Industry Verticals, Anahita Zardoshti: “I personally want to better understand how businesses think about implementing emerging technologies and develop my skills in communicating abstract and complex concepts such as quantum computing to an audience with no technical background.” Others hope to make a more positive impact on both sectors. As Burcea said: “Being able to contribute to this community is an honor and anything that I can make a difference to is a great satisfaction.”

Interviews with: 

Danika Hannon: Deputy Head

Mihaela Burcea: Head of Marketing

Esperanza Cuenca Gomez: Head of Change Management

Amrita Manzari, Head of AI and Quantum Machine Learning

Anahita Zardoshti, Head of Industry Verticals

If you found this article to be informative, you can explore more current quantum news here, exclusives, interviews, and podcasts.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Science Communicator at JILA

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