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Quantum News Briefs August 18: Zapata Computing names Jay Liu Vice President of Product; IonQ, Airbus sign agreement to collaborate on aircraft loading project; Algorand Foundation’s quantum countermeasures include NIST-approved Falcon Algorithm & MORE

By Sandra Helsel posted 19 Aug 2022

Quantum News Briefs August 18 opens with the announcement from Zapata Computing that it has named Jay Liu Vice President of Product followed by the agreement signed by IonQ and Airbus to collaborate on aircraft loading project. Quantum News Briefs than moves to the blockchain with Algorand Foundation’s quantum countermeasures now to include NIST-approved Falcon Algorithm & even MORE from Microsoft Azure.

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Zapata Computing Names Jay Liu Vice President of Product


Zapata Computing announced that it has appointed Jay Liu as its Vice President of Product. Quantum News Briefs summarizes the announcement below.
Liu has a proven track record of creating and bringing disruptive technologies to market, spanning artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), hybrid-cloud, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and mobile wireless. He has more than two decades of experience creating and executing customer-focused product vision across an impressive pedigree of high-growth start-ups and enterprises including leadership roles at Dell EMC, Turbonomic (later acquired by IBM), Brightcove, Cisco Systems, and more. At Zapata, Liu will be responsible primarily for leading strategic direction and management for the company’s product portfolio, including its Orquestra ® platform.
Prior to joining Zapata, Liu was the VP of Product Strategy at NS1, where he led the creation of the industry’s first DDI SaaS product, disrupting a $1B legacy market. Prior to NS1, Liu served as Head of Edge AI Product at NanoSemi (later acquired by MaxLinear), an MIT spinoff, where he led the productization and commercialization of a novel AI/ML optimization technology, bringing to market a portfolio of CNN Models with the highest accuracies and cost performance on leading edge AI platforms. Earlier in his career, as the Director of CTO and Product Management at VCE and Dell EMC, Liu led the development and execution of the company’s product and go-to-market strategy for its category-defining product portfolio including converged, hyper-converged, and hybrid cloud infrastructure solutions. During his six-year tenure, Liu helped the company become the market-share leader for these three products and grow its revenue six times to $3.6B. Prior to VCE, he led the creation of an award-winning mobile SaaS product and its go-to-market execution at Brightcove, which contributed to its successful IPO. Liu holds an MBA from MIT and an MS in Computer Science from Harvard U.

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IonQ, Airbus Sign Agreement to Collaborate on Aircraft Loading Project


IonQ has announced a collaboration with Airbus to explore the potential application and benefits of quantum computing for aerospace services and passenger experiences. Quantum News Briefs summarizes below.
The Quantum Aircraft Loading Optimization & Quantum Machine Learning project will be a 12-month project that culminates in the development of a prototype aircraft-loading quantum application, hands-on collaboration and coaching sessions for Airbus developers and engineers, and an exploration of future integrations of quantum computers for Airbus and its customers.
In response to the ongoing supply chain crisis, aerospace companies are investing in the latest technologies to understand areas for improved efficiencies–cargo leading being one of them.
Airbus’ partnership with IonQ is the first step toward developing smarter algorithms based on quantum computers that can potentially lead to cost savings due to more optimized distribution of cargo on flights. Looking long-term, Airbus hopes to use quantum algorithms to improve other areas of air travel, including reduced fuel consumption, better aerodynamics, and optimized trajectories.
“Optimization is critical to achieving aviation sustainability targets,” said Amanda Simpson, Vice President Research and Technology, Airbus Americas. “We are very excited to explore IonQ’s capabilities to utilize the potential of quantum computing to achieve these targets.”

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Algorand Foundation Spearheading Quantum Countermeasures; Will Use NIST-Approved Falcon Algorithm

Algorand Foundation CTO John Woods gave an update on how the project is spearheading quantum countermeasures to provide more secure cryptographic technology. Quantum News Briefs summarizes below.
(NOTE: The Algorand Foundation is a not-for-profit, community organisation focused on protocol governance, token dynamics, and supporting grassroots, open-source development on the Algorand ecosystem. The Algorand Foundation’s mission is to enable an inclusive, decentralized, and borderless global economy – at scale – based on the Algorand blockchain technology.)
In particular, Woods drew attention to the Falcon algorithm, which offers a way to circumvent the potential threat posed by quantum computers.
In August 2016, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invited the foremost experts in the field to develop cryptographic algorithms immune to quantum attacks.One of the selected algorithms was Falcon, developed by Algorand devs Craig Gentry, Chris Peikert, and Vinod Vaikuntanathan. It is based on a technique called “Trapdoors for Hard Lattices and New Cryptographic Constructions.”
Typically, a signing algorithm must select a valid signature before approval. Under current conventional algorithms, it is possible, even for classical computers, to uncover this signing key using information from past, signed messages. Falcon works by adopting a more “rigorous method of selecting a valid signature” and does not reveal the information about the signing key.
Woods revealed that Algorand plans to use Falcon signatures in several applications, naming “State Proofs” as an example. This technology refers to an interoperability standard governing connection between different blockchains.

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IonQ Aria is available now, exclusively on Azure Quantum

Azure Quantum is the first cloud platform to enable access to IonQ Aria, a new trapped ion system that can perform hundreds of quantum gates in a single algorithm. , Principal PM Manager, Azure Quantum, discussed the availability August 16 on the Microsoft Azure Cloud Blog and his comments are summarized below by Quantum News Briefs.
This allows researchers to better assess how the runtime and performance of quantum algorithms will scale as quantum hardware improves. Select early customers have already begun using IonQ Aria to explore algorithms with potential to mitigate risk in finance, model chemical reactions within electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and improve image classification for future automated vehicles.
Aria is the latest IonQ system on the Azure Quantum platform, joining the IonQ Harmony system. IonQ’s dynamically reconfigurable systems, ranging from 11 to 23 fully connected qubits, enable you to run a two-qubit gate between any pair.
“The availability of both IonQ Aria and IonQ Harmony on the Azure Quantum platform ensures that enterprise customers and research institutions have a choice when it comes to selecting which quantum system is best suited for their specific needs,” says Peter Chapman, President and CEO, IonQ. “Using our systems to entangle any pair of qubits is a capability that is unique at this scale and which enables faster and more accurate execution of quantum algorithms.”
You can try IonQ Aria on Azure Quantum for free, with an automatic $500 credit towards IonQ QPUs or up to $10,000 in credits through the Azure Quantum Research Credits program. Aria is also available under a subscription model for monthly access. Just set up a free Azure account (check out free Azure accounts for students), create an Azure Quantum workspace in the Azure Portal.

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Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990.  She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

 

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