Quantum Now | Rebecca Krauthamer at Quantum

You’ve probably heard of quantum computing, most commonly understood as a data storage technology built on the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. At least, that’s the idea, someday.

But there are other applications of this principle happening already. Have you heard of quantum communications? Or what about quantum sensing?

If you’re already feeling lost, the guest on this edition of UpTech Report may help you untangle all this quantum entanglement. Rebecca Krauthamer is the co-founder and CEO of Quantum Thought, a company that helps organizations implement quantum technologies to assist with everything from cybersecurity, to molecule modeling, to AI machine learning, and more. Hear how she’s making quantum computing happen right now.

More information:

Rebecca is the founder and Head of Engineering for QuSecure, a post-quantum cyber security company located in Palo Alto, California. QuSecure works with both government and enterprise clients to protect their digital assets from today’s and tomorrow’s security threats. Their software products can plug directly into an organization’s existing infrastructure, can be deployed in the cloud or on premise, and comply with NIST post quantum standards. 

Rebecca earned her degree in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, and went on to build cutting edge applications in Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Computer Vision for various companies. After several years working in AI, she began to get frustrated with the growing gap between the potential to build advanced models and the limitations of today’s computing hardware. She turned to quantum computing and hasn’t looked back. She was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in 2020 for her work in quantum computing, and was recently listed as one of the 12 Women in the World Shaping Quantum Computing.

Rebecca serves on the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Quantum Applications. A passionate proponent of ethical AI, she serves on the advisory board of the AI Ethics Journal, and as a subject matter expert for the first Coursera certification for Ethical Technologists. 

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Rebecca Krauthamer 0:00
What these quantum communication devices do is they actually give us a way to transmit unspeakable data, which is which is incredibly revolutionary in the security space.

Alexander Ferguson 0:16
Rebecca, I’m so excited to be able to chat with you today and talking more about quantum technology and what your firm is doing. To begin, can you share, you know, Q secure if you had to explain it very briefly, like five seconds top line? What would you say it is, you’re focused on,

Rebecca Krauthamer 0:34
Its its security for the impending quantum revolution for enterprise and for government,

Alexander Ferguson 0:41
the impending quantum revolution, we are starting to hear more and more about quantum technology and the concepts around it. What do you see that is specifically you’re looking to then solve when it comes to security and how this will affect everything,

Rebecca Krauthamer 0:57
we hear a lot about quantum computing. And that’s kind of the the, you know, the big, the big kind of sexy, for lack of a better term branch of this whole quantum technologies field. But there’s really, there’s a few different future bridges, and quantum computing is just one, then we have quantum communications. And quantum communications is really what the basis of what we’re working on, involves. And then there’s also quantum sensing. And so these are three distinct technologies. And I just want to make that that clarification. They’re all interrelated, because they all leverage these, these quantum physical properties. You have these these boxes, and, and, and imagine your box A, and it’s sitting in San Francisco, and you’ve got box B, and it’s sitting in San Jose. And each of these boxes has a few qubits, right. And qubits are sort of the the quantum and on to, to your classical bits on computers. And what these box is, do they do two things to really cool things. One is they they generate genuinely random numbers. And this is important cybersecurity uses. random numbers are used, are pretty fundamental to a lot of cybersecurity. But the problem with random numbers as we generate them today, typically is that they’re pseudo random. They’re algorithmically generated. So you can actually, if you if you try hard enough, if you’re bad, after you die hard enough, you can actually figure out what these these numbers are. And then they’re, they’re insecure keys. So using these communications device is the one, the first thing that they do is they genuinely generate genuinely random numbers. And then the even cooler thing that they can do this, the second thing is, so they leverage this property of entanglement, which is one of those weird quantum properties. And you can, if you got your box in San Jose, you got your box in San Francisco, you can actually transmit this, this random number, this key we’re going to use from point A to point B, via entanglement, so not not via any classical route that we we sort of imagine, but actually sort of behaving as one entity. And also, because of the strangeness of quantum physics, if you try to spy if you try to intercept this key, so say you’re trying to man in the middle attack those who you’re trying to, you know, spy on on in practice secrets of their company, or whatever you’re trying to do. It actually could interferes with this the system in a way that tells you, hey, there’s somebody looking at this. And then once, once it’s it gets decide that that you’re trying to send this key to, and you know, you know that there’s someone that’s tried to spy on this. So what these quantum communication devices do is they actually give us a way to transmit unspeakable data, which is, which is incredibly revolutionary in the security space. Now, you’ve

Alexander Ferguson 4:04
already got this in play, you’ve got multiple contracts that are utilizing this. Can you tell me more about maybe a use case on this in play?

Rebecca Krauthamer 4:14
Absolutely. Yeah. So so our first major, our first major customers are within government. So Air Force, Army futures command, Pentagon, so these are organizations that are very concerned right about protecting their data and what and their communications. So so they’re very interested in in this kind of thing. And the reason that I mean, the likely reason that we start with government and because when it comes to so the other side, I guess we started with quantum communications, right? But now I’ll tell you where the quantum computing comes into play. So there’s something called Schwartz algorithm, which is it’s an algorithm specifically designed for quantum computers. And it basically says at a certain point, quantum computers can break the vast majority of our standard forms of our standard cryptography, so RSA, etc. So when it comes to quantum investment there are there are other countries including China, Russia, who have put billions and billions of dollars into into r&d in quantum computing. And so from a national security level, we the US are very concerned that at a certain point, we will not be able to protect our data in the same way that we have been. Because these other nations have advanced technology that can they can crack that. So, so the reason that they’re already in government right now is that, yes, they’re very interested in using these these quantum communications, this quantum unification infrastructure. On top of there’s a new form of cryptography that we’re also using that is quantum secure. So it’s it’s a few different layers of things that will help you to protect these really secure communications, these really secure data, transmissions, whatever they’re working on, so that we can ensure that no, no external sources are spying and getting information that they should not

Alexander Ferguson 6:32
your business models is to help install the install the systems that help monitor it, what does it tell me more about your business model?

Rebecca Krauthamer 6:41
Probably the best thing about what we do is, while it sounds, while it sounds like you might need a complete overhaul of your, you know, your infrastructure, it’s just a layer that sits on top. So while we primarily work with government, right now, we are expanding quickly to enterprise. So we have some strategic investors and companies in the financial sector, as well as in the, I guess, the, like internet infrastructure sector. And and so what we are is we are that layer that sits on top of what exists already and just secures it even more. So we have hardware components, obviously, the the communications devices, but these are surprisingly integratable, implementable and affordable for enterprise. And then we have that software layer that also sits on top and protects any existing and existing infrastructure.

Alexander Ferguson 7:40
Can you tell me more? Tell me more about the the hardware? Have you guys developed? It is is there kind of like a standard being created around that?

Rebecca Krauthamer 7:48
Yeah, absolutely. So there are a few different companies that we partner with, we don’t do the hardware, we’re the software people. And we partner, our primary partner is Toshiba. And so they’ve they’ve developed really, really strong technology around these these qualifications boxes. So you would probably put these, these boxes in your typical rack. And then your transmit between your your data centers, or whatever it might look like. But yeah, so we work primarily with Toshiba. But there’s a few different companies that have really strong technology.

Alexander Ferguson 8:21
And then something we were talking about before and you mentioned to it, like there’s there’s elements of then the quantum technologies being used as entanglement, which is awesome, but you’re using more practical concepts right now and scaling up where we’re needed. Can you tell me a bit more about some of the how that technology works and how you’ve implemented it, and how it’s different from what somebody may be already using right now.

Rebecca Krauthamer 8:42
When you when you transmit any kind of data, any kind of sensitive data, it’s encrypted, right? Um, typically are RSA Yes, any kind of these these standard things that are that are supposed to make data on unreadable by anyone who’s not supposed to read it. And you decrypt it on the end where you’re supposed to receive it. And there you go, you can see your data again. So what so that is now vulnerable. And in the next several years, it’s going to become obsolete, because quantum computers are, are approaching that approaching that level where they can just, they can just slice through these like butter. So that’s not a good thing, right? Encryption, privacy, very important, especially in in sectors where here you’re dealing with really private, or really sensitive data. And we’ve already seen a lot of these data breaches. In the last like high profile ones, right? There’s a term that Jack Henry from who heads up quantum AI at alphabet X, and he’s coined the term SN DL door now decrypt later. And that’s actually a typical way that that these that hackers will take data, even if they don’t have The capability to crack uh, right now, they will grab an encrypted data set, or whatever it is. And they’ll sit on it for a few years until they have the computing power to actually cut through it. And then, you know, sell that data on the, you know, the dark web or whatever, whatever, whatever vector they want to sell it on. And so that’s actually how we’ve seen a lot of these these recent high profile hacks come out is they’re encrypted. These these guys got access to GPU firms, or whatever it was, and they got their data a few years later,

Alexander Ferguson 10:33
those that are in the enterprise, so that might be interested in learning more, where should they go? And what’s a good first step for them to take with you guys?

Rebecca Krauthamer 10:42
Absolutely. I think, you know, we check out our website. It’s a good first step, and reach out. We’re always happy to talk demo. You know, because we are, because we are fully designed to be a layer on top of existing systems. We can integrate in a lot of places. It’s, it’s not necessarily for every company, but we’re always happy to chat with with anyone who’s interested in form and see if it’s a it might be a good fit.

Alexander Ferguson 11:12
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you subscribe to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.



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