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6 Reasons Mastercard is Keeping an Eye on Quantum… And You Should, Too

Mastercard offers people what’s in the cards with quantum. (Image: Pixabay/AKuptsova)

The financial industry will likely be home to the first real use cases of practical quantum computing. One of the giants of that industry — Mastercard — says it’s preparing and offered six reasons why you should, too.

Experts across the industry recently shared their thoughts about quantum — both in terms of its opportunities and its risks — at the Mastercard Foundry Live event.

Steve Flinter, head of research and emerging technology at Mastercard Foundry, told the group not to expect traditional laptops and servers won’t go away.

“We’ll see a hybrid, integrated approach where the right device will be used to solve a problem,” he says. “Quantum will solve a specialized range of hard and interesting problems.”

The company offered the public six reasons to get ready for quantum:

1. Endless Applications
The experts see infinite applications for quantum in the financial industry, several projects have already started. 

The report states that D-Wave Systems has been working on a fraud detection system that taps into machine learning and a combination of classical and quantum computing. BBVA has worked on portfolio optimization.

The report states: “With quantum computing, they crunched the data in less than three minutes, as compared with 30 hours with a traditional computer.”

2. Extreme Personalization
According to the report, quantum computers can deliver high degrees of personalization for customers expect high degrees of personalization because of quantum’s ability to analyze huge numbers of potential combinations of options or solutions.

“There’s clearly a trend toward the idea of ‘bank of me,’ ” Flinter said. “Customers are looking for highly personalized solutions, and I think quantum becomes a part of that solution.”

3. Opportunities… and Risks
The report cautions that quantum computers can quickly solve big, complex problems — theoretically. That means bad actors can solve big, complex hacking problems — theoretically.

According to the report: “Though likely years away, bad actors using quantum computing’s power may be able to more easily decrypt messages sent using existing public-key cryptography and ultimately compromise the security of key systems that are not quantum-proofed.”

4. Sustainability
Robert Sutor, technology leader for quantum computing research at IBM Research, said, although it’s still early, quantum could help the effort to make the world cleaner and more sustainable. 

“Quantum computing could help better predict weather patterns, allowing airlines to more efficiently reschedule and reroute flights when storms hit, ultimately helping them use less fuel,” according to the experts.

5. Evolving and Advancing
The experts expect major advances in quantum computing — and AI and blockchain.

“Where these streams will cross will be very interesting,” says Peter Bordow, head of quantum and emerging technology research and development at Wells Fargo. “We may end up in different areas that we haven’t even thought of yet.”

6. Get Ready Now
The expert panelists recommended that companies keep quantum top of mind and examine vulnerabilities.

Bordow said, “it’s not as simple as ‘lift and shift,’ or replacing one algorithm for another. There’s a complex landscape of potential solutioning.” Start recruiting the next generation of quantum scientists and developers, too, he advises, form partnerships and think about acquisitions. “Take a metered approach,” he adds. “This is not a sprint, but a marathon.”

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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