The annual SXSW conference brings together the most creative and brilliant individuals and organizations worldwide. For ten days, musicians, innovators, experts, and enthusiasts come to Austin, Texas to share ideas and network. This year’s event marks a new wave of interest in quantum computing, exemplified by a session on “natural” qubits hosted by Infleqtion, a market leader in neutral atom quantum computing. For this all-female panel, Infleqtion has tapped a group with diverse expertise: Dr. Prineha Narang, founder and CTO of Aliro Quantum and professor at the University of California -Los Angeles, Dr. Jennifer Strabley, Senior Director of Product Management at Quantinuum; Hannah Sage, Technical Marketer at Classiq Technologies; and their own Emily Creedon, Director of Commercial Strategy, who will serve as moderator. “We’re excited to introduce the audience to what we hope will be some new concepts and fresh perspectives on the technology,” shared Ms. Creedon. “We want to shake up the conversation on quantum.”
What Can We Expect from this SXSW Panel?
Titled “Organic Qubits: Quantum Computing Through Nature,” the SXSW session will examine how quantum computing is inextricably linked to the natural world. According to its description: “Mother nature is the most powerful computer in the universe. Think about it — atoms, ions, and photons… these quantum particles are among nature’s building blocks.” Much of the quantum conversation has focused on superconducting qubits, which are manufactured in silicon and represents only one approach to designing quantum hardware. Other approaches, such as ion-trap, neutral atom, and photonic quantum computers generally get less air-time in the public discourse. Organizers believe the tie-in to the natural world offers a new angle to the story and evokes tangible visuals to help the audience better relate to and conceptualize this next-gen computing paradigm. “I think this will be a “can’t miss” panel for anyone interested in how the intersection of science, technology, and design will impact the future,” said Ms. Creedon. “Which, now that I think about it, is probably almost everyone at South By!” she added cheerfully.
The quantum computing industry struggles with a male-dominated workforce as with other STEM disciplines. However, organizations such as Womanium and Girls in Quantum advocate for more women to join the field while providing resources and mentorship for those who do. Infleqtion aims for this panel to be another step in the right direction. “By showcasing some of the incredible female talents making an impact in this industry at SXSW, we hope to encourage more women to join the growing workforce” declared Brittany Mazin, Infleqtion’s Director of Engagement.
Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is a staff writer at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, the metaverse, and quantum technology.