JPMorgan hires scientist Charles Lim to head quantum computing unit

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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 of quantum communications and cryptography, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.

Charles Lim, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore, will focus on exploring next-generation computing technology in secure communications, according to the note from Marco Pistoia, who leads the Global Applied Technology Research Group. the bank.

Lim is a “recognized global leader” in quantum energy communication networks, according to Pistoia.

Hired from IBM in early 2020, Pistoia built a team at JPMorgan focused on quantum computing and other emerging technologies. Unlike classical computers, which store information as zeros or ones, quantum computing is based on quantum physics. Instead of being binary, qubits can be a combination of zero and one simultaneously, as well as any value in between.

‘New Horizons’

The futuristic technology of keeping hardware at extremely cold temperatures and years of commercial use promises the ability to solve problems far beyond the reach of today’s traditional computers. Tech giants including Alphabet and IBM are racing to build a reliable quantum computer, and financial firms like JPMorgan and Visa are exploring possible uses for it.

“New horizons are going to become possible, things we didn’t think were possible before,” Pistoia said in a JPMorgan podcast interview.

In finance, machine learning algorithms will improve to help detect trading fraud and other areas that involve “prohibitively complex” including portfolio optimization and option pricing, a- he declared.

Drug development, battery materials science and other fields will be transformed by super-advanced computing, he added.

But if and when advanced computing technology becomes real, the encryption techniques that underpin global communications and financial networks could be immediately rendered useless. This has stimulated the study of next-generation quantum resistant communication networks, which is Lim’s area of ​​expertise.

“Quantum Supremacy”

New forms of cryptography and secure messaging are needed before the so-called “quantum supremacy”, which is when quantum computers are able to perform computations beyond the reach of traditional computers in a reasonable amount of time, Pistoia said during the podcast.

That could happen by the end of the decade, he said.

An earlier moment will be the “quantum advantage”, i.e. when new computers will be more powerful and more accurate than classical computers, but both will be competitive. It could happen in two to three years, he said.

“Even now that quantum computers aren’t quite as powerful yet, we don’t have much time left,” Pistoia said in the podcast. Indeed, bad actors are already preserving private communications to attempt to decrypt them later when technology permits, he said.

Lim “will pursue both fundamental and applied research on quantum information, focusing on innovative digital solutions that will improve the security, efficiency and robustness of financial and banking services,” Pistoia said in 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, Pistoia said.

Last year, Lim was asked to lead his country’s efforts to create quantum-resistant digital solutions, and he was involved in international efforts to standardize quantum-safe techniques, Pistoia added.

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