Software Development

From Japan to DC, 7 Quantum World Congress attendees forecast 2023’s tech evolution

The first QWC brought founders, developers, scholars, investors, government leaders and other pros from all over the world to the nation's capital. Here's what some of them said about quantum's global and local future.

Connected DMV CEO Stu Solomon speaks at Quantum World Congress 2022. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of Technology of the Future Month 2022 in Technical.ly's editorial calendar. This month’s theme is underwritten by Verizon 5G. This story was independently reported and not reviewed by Verizon 5G before publication.

Quantum computing and tech, however far in the future its practical implications may seem for most people, is an increasingly serious international priority.

That global relevance was on full display this week as technologists, founders, investors, economic development professionals and others from all over the world descended on downtown DC for the first-ever Quantum World Congress. Organized by the regional economic development organization Connected DMV in partnership with such regional quantum powerhouses as MITRE and IonQ, the three-day convening functioned as a conduit between quantum professionals and the people wishing to do business with them.

(What *is* quantum computing? Call it the practice of using tiny particle bits, or qubits, to solve problems on a computer that allows multiple calculations to be performed at once. Read our explainer here.)

Among those people were leaders of companies, universities and government agencies that have a stake in what quantum technology could do in the future.

The Brookings Institution President Amy Liu moderated a fireside chat with Anne Neuberger, the White House’s deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology. Chief Scientist of Australia Cathy Foley delivered a talk about how her country embraced quantum’s potential earlier than others. Representatives of agencies and centers in Japan, Germany, Canada, South Korea and beyond spoke about their respective countries’ successes with quantum-related industry. The nation of France boasted its own booth in the exhibition area as rumors swirled on the conference floor about President Emmanuel Macron possibly making an appearance (though Technical.ly hasn’t been able to confirm if he stopped by during his ongoing visit to DC).

Now, we didn’t get to speak directly to these figures about their predictions for the future of quantum. But we did get to ask people from all over the country and world about what quantum-related technological, economic, legal and cultural developments they anticipate and look forward to in 2023.

Here are just some of their responses, which, taken together, reciprocally link specific innovations to the broader world that will experience them:

Scope of applications

“One, I’m excited about the scope of applications that quantum will be able to benefit. That’s one thing I’m very much looking forward to in 2023. Two, the full-stack pipeline that we have at QCI, having that fully integrated and getting [to see] how powerful and impactful that becomes from our company to the market — those are the top two things I’m excited about.”

  • Uchenna Chukwu, senior quantum developer for Leesburg, Virginia’s Quantum Computing Inc. (QCI).

Real traction

“It’s an exciting time because we’re seeing the entry of a lot of players into this space that they maybe hadn’t heard of before — or they’ve heard of it but they don’t know how to apply it.

“I think it’s particularly fascinating that we’re starting to see industry applications of this in various areas: healthcare, life sciences, financial services, transportation, logistics, etc. And we’re moving beyond the proof of concept phase and into production-ready systems. We’re not totally ready for production yet in certain situations or circumstances, but we’re getting there.

“That’s particularly what’s exciting: The rubber is going to hit the road next year, and we’re going to start seeing some real traction.”

  • Kimberly Shyu, metro DC-based head of product management and product marketing for Swiss company Terra Quantum AG.

Opportunities are limitless

“What I’m looking most forward to seeing is just what happens when you open up opportunities.

“The amazing talent of the American people to take an opportunity and create something — that, to me is what’s so exciting about it because the opportunities are limitless. We’re opening it up, not constraining it to a particular subject, a particular use. We’re really opening up something that the American people can be creative [with].”

  • David Wade, president and CEO of EPB in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Increasingly fast

“The interest in quantum in a lot of different industries seems to be growing at an increasingly fast rate. Part of the reason I’m here is that a lot of my clients are talking about quantum computing. I don’t have a background in computer science, [but] I work with a lot of software companies and everyone’s starting to talk about quantum computing, so I figured I should educate myself. I’m interested to see how it develops, and the growth of the industry will be exciting next year.”

  • David Easwaran, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based intellectual property attorney for the law firm Womple Bond Dickinson
Women in black and grey clothes speak before world flags on green-lit stage

The White House’s Anne Neuberger (left) speaks with The Brookings Institution’s Amy Liu. (Courtesy photo)

Bringing sectors together

“The unique thing about Connected DMV, in our perspective on quantum, is that one of the best ways to accelerate the market is to bring the different sectors together — government, academia, industry and community — to solve problems. What we’re doing here with the Quantum World Congress is bringing those sectors together so that we can collaborate to accelerate this market and, in doing so, create workforce opportunities and start to prepare the younger workforce for this new industry. These are where the jobs are going to be — in a hockey analogy, skating to where the puck is going to be. We’re really excited about just continuing the efforts that we’ve got with international collaboration and what we’re doing regionally to be able to do that, create opportunities for people — particularly those in community colleges and communities that are more distressed.”

  • Karl Darin, COO of Connected DMV

Quantum communication

“One example is a lot of quantum communication, or quantum key distribution (QKD).

“The US had a big discussion about post-quantum cryptography (PQC) and QKD, but I think now that’s over, because QKD has its own area of where to protect, PQC has its own area. We can collaborate with each other, with no need to fight. That is our vision.”

  • Hiroaki Tezuka, chair of the Global Consortium Alliances Working Group within the Tokyo, Japan-based Quantum Strategic Industry Alliance for Revolution (Q-STAR)

Possibilities

“This was a great opportunity to market, as a region, to a new industry that hasn’t really been marketed to before by any of [the region’s county-based economic development institutions]. We can do it together. These companies don’t care where we are, but they do know that the greater Washington region has possibilities — right in the middle of the East Coast, where they can access government opportunities.

“We’ve established our relationships, deepened them, and I perceive that continuing certainly through 2023. This is a real effort to boost the region, to help people see that we’re not just the White House. There are industries here and people who want to make change. We have this incredible workforce that wants to make a difference, create new technologies and change the world. It’s right here!”

  • Lynne Stein Benzion, director of economic development for the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation

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Technical.ly’s lead DC reporter, Michaela Althouse, contributed to this report.  

Series: Technology of the Future Month 2022
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