May 26, 2022

Quantum technology may finally arrive.

Earlier this month, Rigetti Computing, one of the world’s few “pure game” quantum technology companies, went public through a merger with an exclusive acquisition company, or SPAC, and became the first publicly traded company to explicitly commercialize quantum technologies. . Another organization, IonQ, went public in October as a result of the SPAC merger.

Another competitor in the space, D-Wave, says it now plans to go public via SPAC.

Now, in what some might interpret as the strongest sign that quantum technology is in prime time, Alphabet says it is turning its six-year-old quantum technology group Sandbox AQ into a separate company.

Jack Hydri, formerly Director of Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing at Sandbox and a longtime board member of X Rewards, will continue to lead the 55-member organization in Mountain View, California as CEO.

The sandbox also featured a large cast of advisors, including former Alphabet President and CEO Eric Schmidt; former JPMorgan Chase chief executive Blythe Masters; and John Seely Brown, former chief scientist at Xerox PARC.

In particular, Sandbox, which describes itself as a venture capital SaaS company developing commercial products for telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, government, computer security and other industries, is on a long list of “nine-figure” funding with an undisclosed amount. Outside investors, including Breyer Capital, whose founder Jim Breyer also sits on Sandbox’s advisory board.

Accounts consulted by Section 32, Guggenheim Investments, Time Investments and T. Rowe Price Associates are also part of the investor group.

Of course, market demand partly explains Alphabet’s decision to release a sandbox. According to Gartner, 20% of global organizations are expected to spend budget on quantum computing projects by next year, up from less than 1% in 2018.

Customers already paying Sandbox for their computing power include Vodafone Business, SoftBank Mobile and Mount Sinai Health System.

But, given recent conversations with Breuer, perhaps an even bigger driver of the growing interest in quantum technology is the realization that true quantum computing—which means using quantum physics—must navigate through countless possibilities in a split second. and determine the possible outcome with quantum computers—perhaps in five or more years, other related technologies, such as so-called quantum sensing technologies, are fast becoming a reality.

Indeed, instead of working on quantum computers, the sandbox focuses on how quantum technology intersects with AI, with previous work building more powerful medical sensors.

As Breuer said during our conversation a few weeks ago, “Quantum companies have a huge national security capability, and this is where many companies now have three-letter agencies like the Department of Defense. But what I’m really excited about today is in terms of investment, not necessarily big, super-capital-intensive quantum computers… but areas like quantum sensing. ,

Breuer said think of a very powerful light microscope with a magnification of 1000 times that could be applied to drugs. “Today, some of our major hospitals in the United States are testing quantum sensing technology that I believe will revolutionize areas such as cardiology. [and] drug discovery.

In other words, Breuer said, quantum computing platforms will eventually play a role in faster disease detection, better security systems, and the protection of all types of data. But large organizations, including governments and companies, are no longer waiting for the appearance of these giant quantum computers. “Quantum technologies exist now – they haven’t reached the breakthrough point where quantum computing will be in four or five years – but they do make a big difference,” he said. The sandbox team, as he then suggested, is one of the leaders.

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