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JPMorgan hires scientist Charles Lim to go quantum-computing unit


Dr. Charles Lim, Global Head of Quantum Communications and Cryptography, JP Morgan Chase

Courtesy: JP Morgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase has hired a Singapore-based quantum-computing expert to be the bank’s global head for quantum communications and cryptography, in accordance with a memo obtained by CNBC.

Charles Lim, an assistant professor on the National University of Singapore, will likely be focused on exploring next generation computing technology in secure communications, in accordance with the memo from Marco Pistoia, who runs the bank’s global technology applied research group.

Lim is a “recognized worldwide leader” in the world of quantum-powered communications networks, in accordance with Pistoia.

Hired from IBM in early 2020, Pistoia has built a team at JPMorgan focused on quantum computing and other nascent technologies. Unlike today’s computers, which store information as either zeros or ones, quantum computing hinges on quantum physics. As an alternative of being binary, qubits can concurrently be a mixture of each zero and one, in addition to any value in between.

‘Latest horizons’

The futuristic technology, which involves keeping hardware at super-cold temperatures and is years away from industrial use, guarantees the power to unravel problems far beyond the reach of today’s traditional computers. Technology giants including Alphabet and IBM are racing toward constructing a reliable quantum computer, and financial firms including JPMorgan and Visa are exploring possible uses for it.

“Latest horizons are going to turn into possible, things we didn’t think could be possible before,” Pistoia said in a JPMorgan podcast interview.

In finance, machine-learning algorithms will improve to assist fraud detection on transactions and other areas that involve “prohibitive complexity,” including portfolio optimization and options pricing, he said.

Drug development, materials science for batteries and other areas will likely be transformed by the dramatically advanced computing, he added.

But when and when the advanced computing technology becomes real, the encryption techniques that underpin the world’s communications and financial networks could immediately be rendered useless. That has spurred the study of next generation quantum-resistant communication networks, which is Lim’s area of experience.

Quantum supremacy

Latest types of cryptography and secure messaging are needed ahead of quantum supremacy, or the purpose when quantum computers are in a position to perform calculations beyond the scope of traditional computers in any reasonable timeframe, Pistoia said in the course of the podcast.

That would occur by the tip of the last decade, he said.

The quantum advantage precedes that development and will occur as soon as two or three years from now, he said. At that time the brand new computers are more powerful and accurate than today’s versions but they’re competitive.

“Even now that quantum computers should not yet that powerful, we haven’t got a lot time left,” Pistoia said within the podcast. That is because bad actors are already preserving private communications to try and decrypt it later when the technology allows for it, he said.

Lim will “pursue each foundational and applied research in quantum information, specializing in revolutionary digital solutions that can enhance the safety, efficiency, and robustness of economic and banking services,” Pistoia said within the memo.

Lim is a recipient of the National Research Foundation Fellowship in Singapore and won the National Young Scientist Award in 2019 for his work in quantum cryptography, said Pistoia.

Last 12 months, Lim was asked to steer his country’s effort to create quantum-resistant digital solutions, and he has been involved in international efforts to standardize quantum-security techniques, Pistoia added.

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