Podcasts

Podcast with Araceli Venegas-Gomez, Qureca

10
November
,
2021

My guest today is Araceli Venegas-Gomez - Founder and Director, Qureca. Araceli and I speak about the best way to get started with quantum, whether governments and investors are versed enough in quantum technology, and much more.

Listen to additional podcasts here

THE FULL TRANSCRIPT IS BELOW

Yuval Boger (Classiq): Hello, Araceli. And thanks for joining me today.

Araceli Venegas-Gomez (Qureca): Thanks very much for the invitation Yuval.

Yuval: So, who are you and what do you do?

Araceli: Oh, I'm Araceli Venegas-Gomez and people call me the quantum ambassador. But in order to explain that, I can tell you a little bit about my history. So, I am actually an aerospace engineer. I work in industry in the past, I'm from Spain and I actually was lucky I could be in different countries for different opportunities. I will say for some different kinds of internships in different countries. But I ended up in Germany working as an aerospace engineer for Airbus and I was working in Germany and in France. And during that time, I was thinking I should do something else with my free time which was not really a lot, but I wanted to learn physics. I was studying a master in medical physics and during that time I learned a little bit more about magnetic resonance imaging, and that was kind of touching a little bit upon quantum. It was something that it was always interesting to me, but all my free time besides the master that’s what I was doing, and decided that I wanted to learn about quantum physics by myself. And making the story short, not going into details, I kind of decided that I wanted to go in that direction. I don't know if it was the crisis of turning 30. I don't know if it was the crisis of I wanted to change my career or asking myself what do I want to do with my life. But it was at that point that I decided that instead of going up into the management career in Airbus I wanted to go into quantum.

And that's how I ended up in Glasgow doing a PhD in quantum, which was not easy. Since I actually decided to change my life and my career until I have the opportunity, it was... We're talking about years. And that's something that I always tell people now. People who want to change their careers in quantum for example, I tell them it's not something that is going to happen in one month. But in my experience, well, it was something that I don’t regret. So, I changed my career and I moved to Glasgow. We're talking 2015, 2016. So, you could imagine that quantum technologies was something quite new and people were starting to talk about. In the UK there was already the initiative to put money into quantum, money from the government. So, I was really interested about getting to know that ecosystem.

But during that time, it was when all the countries decided that they also wanted to put money into quantum. So, what I did, since I had this kind of strategic position that I could understand business and also I was doing my research, I could understand fundamental science, I try to understand this ecosystem that was trying to be born in different countries. And I was part of the network, I was going to different events. And thanks to that, what I did was actually ask people, "what do you think we need to push this forward? What do you think is missing in this new ecosystem?" And I tried to put that together, I applied for a fellowship from the Optical Society. I won that fellowship, and thanks to that, I created my company. So, right now I'm the founder of Qureca. But when I won that fellowship, people call me the quantum ambassador, thanks to all what I said trying to be kind of everywhere and understanding the ecosystem. That's my story, I hope it was not too long.

Yuval: It was great. So what does Qureca do, is that more on the manpower side? Do you develop technology? What does the company do?

Araceli: Qureca means quantum resources and careers, we provide services. My first idea was to do something in the direction of course of careers because for me to change my career and to be able to support all the people who would like to do that as well was something that I really wanted to do. But as I said, I understood that there were more things missing. There were all those gaps in the ecosystem. If you think about the stakeholders, research industry, government, and also the general public, there were a lot of gaps trying to understand what quantum means and what quantum could do for each of them. And we decided to grow into the direction of providing all these resources that were needed. So, we provide professional services. We work with quantum companies who'd like to grow, quantum companies who would like to understand what could be their position in this new ecosystem, who could be the end users, the customers for them. We work with them in terms of business development.

But we also work with end users, with big corporations and all the companies who would like to enter into quantum, but they don't know how they can do that. We provide business intelligence, we try to educate them, we train them, and we try to explain what quantum could do for their business. And we support on building their strategies. Really, the focus of all what we do is careers and skills. And for that we have an online platform for online courses.

So, we have different online courses focusing really into that layer of people who are ready to jump into a quantum job, but maybe they need to retrain themselves, and also about different business sectors. So, we have courses with no technical material, no formulas, just for very busy people who would like to understand who is doing what in quantum. We have courses into the direction of the financial sector and we are now creating all the courses for all the business sectors, as well as in all the different languages, because we felt that that was also something needed. And then we have recruiting as a service. We work with companies who are looking for people around the world, but we also work with people, individuals who are looking for the ideal job, and we try to steer their career in that direction in terms of what they need in terms of skills, what they need in terms of training. So, we really try to build this workforce or support the creation of these workforce in quantum.

Yuval: You mentioned governments. How well do you think governments understand quantum? I saw someplace that 25 countries have invested about $25 billion or at least have committed to that. So, a lot of money is flowing into quantum, but do you think that governments understand the potential of quantum or do they still need help in that?

Araceli: That's a very good question. I think that depends on the government, of course. And you saw that, we have that overview where we show these 25 billion from public funding. I think UK is in a very good position, mainly because they started quite early, right? They started 2013 to 2014 with the initiative. Then we have Canada and Singapore who were focused for years, even before the UK, on the research side. But do their governments understand the potential quantum? That's another question.

I think US and the European Commission in general they have been trying to push this forward. So, they have very good advisors to the government at the moment, but I think there's a lot to be done there. There is a lot because so far there has been only public funding that goes to research. The fundamental science we'll always read that is for commercialization of the technology, but at the end we are still into the research phase. So, what we need I think is trying to push from not just scientists to tell the government, "We need money to do the research", but also from industry telling the governments, "We need money to push it forward, to go into the next level that is really commercializing the technology."

Yuval: And so, how would you think about US versus Europe, for instance. Do you think that the European Union is more advanced or less advanced in government understanding of quantum than the US?

Araceli: Also, good question Yuval. If you remember when they launched the programs it was the same year. It was quite funny, as I said that suddenly there were all these initiatives and launch at the same time and the US created the office that advises them. It's an office full of scientists really, but they were working for the government. They were working directly with The White House on advising what they could do, that was really useful.

And on the European Commission... First of all, we cannot compare one country US, with European countries that are altogether into... we are talking about very different countries with very different cultures, with very different governments. Trying to put all that together, it's not comparable to just one country as the US. But the European Commission, I think is aware of the potential. That's why we have the Flagship and that's how we have seen now that in different countries, there is a national initiative on top of the Quantum Flagship. So, I think that there are specific governments in Europe that are very aware of the potential of quantum. And that's how they have put their own money on top of the money that was coming from Europe. So, answering the question, it depends on the country in Europe. I think we cannot compare.

Yuval: So, when we talk about a shortage of qualified people to do quantum computing. I think an ideal candidate and maybe it's like a unicorn, maybe they're only exist in fairytales, probably is someone who has a deep understanding of quantum physics has a very good understanding of computer science and potentially also a business understanding so they can translate the business needs into technical and vice versa. And let's assume that either these people don't exist or they're very few of them. So, what would be our preference? Would it be to take a PhD in quantum information science and teach them how to program or to get a good AI or ML or other type of programmer and teach them the fundamentals of quantum?

Araceli: That's the big, big question, when we talk about the quantum workforce at the moment, and I see this every day when I talk to companies or when I talk to individuals. I see we have very good candidates, very good people with very good CVs, they are researchers. They have been doing fantastic fundamental research into theoretical quantum physics, not even quantum computing sometimes. And they have been touching here and there a little bit about quantum computing, but they are not programmers, they don't know so many programming languages, they don't have experience in industry, they don't know anything about business. It's very hard for them to find a job in quantum at the moment very, very hard.

Then think about the people from software, they know a lot of different languages, but they have no idea what quantum... But these people if they kind of start by themselves, get into some free resources. If they understand the basics of quantum computing, answering the question, I think is easier for a person with experience in different computing languages and experience working in industry to understand the fundamentals of quantum computing. I'm not saying the foundations of quantum mechanics, I'm saying the basics that you need to be able to build a circuit in a quantum computer. I think that's easier than trying to teach everything that you need about business, about working in a different environment that the fundamental research. And also on top of that, really, to program different languages, to a person that has been just doing fundamental science. So, that's the tricky part now.

And then on top of that, we have the third layer where we have people with business experience, they're very good in networking with people. They can be an asset for your company, but they don't know anything about quantum. They also need to show that they will be able to talk in a very technical language to someone. So, trying to find a person who can speak the technical language, who understand the business and who has experience in business, that's I think even more difficult right now. And that's the unicorn that we have everywhere right now. It's getting harder and harder. I can see that, harder because the providers are getting more specific.

Yuval: One solution of course is, we see these big universities, Harvard, MIT, USC, others, putting together training programs that are focused on quantum. So, now they're starting to build a pipeline of quantum information scientists that understand this, but that's going to take a couple of years and maybe the capacity is not enough. But maybe there's a different aspect to the solution today when you program in quantum you program at a very, very low level, and maybe the solution is just to have tools or platforms that give you more of an abstraction layer that allow you to say, "Well, this is what I want to do and not necessarily how it gets implemented into the gates." Today when you create a webpage you don't worry about assembly language, you don't worry about CMOS gates, you don't worry about the architecture underneath. So, do you think that the tools or platforms could help solve that issue?

Araceli: A lot, yes. I think that will solve the problem. As you said, there are a lot of initiatives in the direction of building master programs for quantum scientists, and there are people ready with those masters. They're the ones that started one, two years ago and I've seen this as well: these people they come with a master in quantum science, and I have to tell them, "I'm sorry, but you don't have the deep understanding that is necessary for the job openings at the moment, because they need someone with a PhD or someone not with a PhD, but with the industry experience." So, they're in that kind of limbo at the moment where they don't have enough industry experience, and also they don't have enough kind of a research experience that they can apply. So, if there is something in that direction where they don't need to go into the details, but they can apply what they know at that level, I think that will be really, really helpful in terms of quantum computing.

Yuval: Other than people, what else do you think is missing to get quantum to the next level in terms of production and acceptance and delivering true business benefits?

Araceli: I think we need to understand. At the beginning when I started with the company, I always say, we need to be realistic. And I still say that we need to, we cannot say that we are going to have a quantum computer... An actual quantum computer in two years that is going to change our lives. It's not going to happen, but that what we have is we have different intermediate steps, until we have that actual quantum computer, that can bring benefit already to business. But the business they need to understand what that intermediate step means for them and how they could start playing with that. It's like we need everyone to be on board, on the same boat. We are developing the software, we are developing the hardware, but to develop the software we need use cases. So, I want to develop an algorithm that is going to bring me a solution for specific problems. But if I have no idea about what those problems could be, if I'm not working with an end-user, I cannot wait until I have an actual quantum computer in 10, 20 years to be able to see what the solution could be because right now we can already try to implement algorithms that are bringing benefits to the business even though we are in these intermediate steps. It's like we need to be realistic that the disruptive change is not going to happen in the short term, but we need to be already on board because otherwise it's going to be too late. I think it's funny when you try to think about it, it's too late sometimes when we think about the technology or otherwise you miss the train, but it's also too early to think about how this is going to really change all our society.

So yeah, we are in that limbo, and let's use that word where everyone should be aware. So yeah, that's one thing that I think is needed. And another one is cooperation. We have seen, and I have seen this in the last years, it's more about working together. What can you bring to the ecosystem? What can I bring to the ecosystem? How can I bring you something that you need? And the opposite. And how can we work together to bring everything forward. And it's the only way, it's really about working together. So, you have a quantum company, we are working in kind of consortiums where we have hardware companies with software companies, with end users, and altogether, we try to develop a new solution. And it's the only way.

Yuval: As we move from research into production, that needs money and that money could come from government, but it could also come from investors. Do you think that investors today are sufficiently verse in quantum computing to make the right investment choices?

Araceli: That's an awesome question. And actually something that we have been trying to understand in the last years. So, when I was saying that in a conference and I was always hearing, "Yeah, we are part of deep tech." But it's very hard to understand deep tech. When we talk about something that is such a long-term, how can an investor understand that they need to put money in something that they don't know, whether it's going to bring any benefit in the very long term. It's very, very hard to show how things are going to be scalable. So, there is a missing education or training for investors as well. And that's how we actually thought that we could bring something in that direction. We organized the first pitch event last year, where we had different companies pitching for investment and we also have investors coming and just understanding a little bit what the companies wanted to develop.

But of course, if they don't know the fundamentals of why quantum can be disruptive, they cannot just hear a pitch and say, "Yeah, I'm going to put money on that." So, what we are creating at the moment, we are organizing the first Quantum Mentorship Programme for investors, where we offer a training in quantum technologies. We want to teach them about the ecosystem, who is doing what in quantum, what are the different technologies, what is really important when you think about putting money on it, and how can you evaluate, how can you assess whether one idea is good or bad? We want to invite current investors in quantum. And we also want to invite companies that they can already show them how they have grown in terms of investment. And we are launching this, this month, actually. So yeah, I'm happy if anyone is more interested about it.

Yuval: So, as we come towards the end of our discussion today, let's assume that I'm a first-year or second-year student. And as you can see, I'm a few years removed from college, but let's assume hypothetically that I was, and I hear about quantum, and I say, this is great. I want to be part of this industry. What would you advise me? How do I get started?

Araceli: What I tell people is, first of all, now is the best opportunity to get involved from anywhere in the world, because most of the events are still virtual. So, if you can, just join the wellness. You can join the conferences, you can just start hearing the things, what are the new developments, who is doing what. Your name kind of is known to the people. I think that's how a lot of people actually, after some years, they are really well-positioned into the ecosystem because they are known, because they have been part of it for several years. That's one thing. The other thing is what you need to start with the fundamentals. What I did was really going to really the foundations of quantum mechanics and really into detail. But if they don't want to do a PhD in quantum, they just want to learn by themselves a little bit about programming.

There are fantastic resources everywhere. So, my question is always, where do you want to go? What do you want, do you want just to learn a little bit about quantum computing coding as a hobby, or do you actually want to build a career into, I don't know, quantum communication, which is completely different than actual quantum computing? It's really about answering those questions, is where are you and where do you want to go, and trying to build that career and those bridges into that direction. It's not easy because the question what do you want to do with your life is one of the hardest ones. But I think it's the easiest for all those people that want to jump into quantum to start learning with the small things. They are really a lot of resources out there. It's just trying to understand what are the best, depending on what they like the most.

Yuval: And it sounds like you may be able to help there. So, how can people get in touch with you to learn more about your work?

Araceli: Sure. They can just go to our website. So, qureca.com. They can send an email to us: info@qureca.com and they can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn. So, I'm really happy every time that someone, an individual, is asking this, what can I do if I want to go into quantum computing. I'm really happy to spend some time just understanding where they are and where they want to go, and provide some career advice.

Yuval: That's excellent. Araceli, thank you so much for joining me today.

Araceli: Thank you Yuval for inviting me again.


My guest today is Araceli Venegas-Gomez - Founder and Director, Qureca. Araceli and I speak about the best way to get started with quantum, whether governments and investors are versed enough in quantum technology, and much more.

Listen to additional podcasts here

THE FULL TRANSCRIPT IS BELOW

Yuval Boger (Classiq): Hello, Araceli. And thanks for joining me today.

Araceli Venegas-Gomez (Qureca): Thanks very much for the invitation Yuval.

Yuval: So, who are you and what do you do?

Araceli: Oh, I'm Araceli Venegas-Gomez and people call me the quantum ambassador. But in order to explain that, I can tell you a little bit about my history. So, I am actually an aerospace engineer. I work in industry in the past, I'm from Spain and I actually was lucky I could be in different countries for different opportunities. I will say for some different kinds of internships in different countries. But I ended up in Germany working as an aerospace engineer for Airbus and I was working in Germany and in France. And during that time, I was thinking I should do something else with my free time which was not really a lot, but I wanted to learn physics. I was studying a master in medical physics and during that time I learned a little bit more about magnetic resonance imaging, and that was kind of touching a little bit upon quantum. It was something that it was always interesting to me, but all my free time besides the master that’s what I was doing, and decided that I wanted to learn about quantum physics by myself. And making the story short, not going into details, I kind of decided that I wanted to go in that direction. I don't know if it was the crisis of turning 30. I don't know if it was the crisis of I wanted to change my career or asking myself what do I want to do with my life. But it was at that point that I decided that instead of going up into the management career in Airbus I wanted to go into quantum.

And that's how I ended up in Glasgow doing a PhD in quantum, which was not easy. Since I actually decided to change my life and my career until I have the opportunity, it was... We're talking about years. And that's something that I always tell people now. People who want to change their careers in quantum for example, I tell them it's not something that is going to happen in one month. But in my experience, well, it was something that I don’t regret. So, I changed my career and I moved to Glasgow. We're talking 2015, 2016. So, you could imagine that quantum technologies was something quite new and people were starting to talk about. In the UK there was already the initiative to put money into quantum, money from the government. So, I was really interested about getting to know that ecosystem.

But during that time, it was when all the countries decided that they also wanted to put money into quantum. So, what I did, since I had this kind of strategic position that I could understand business and also I was doing my research, I could understand fundamental science, I try to understand this ecosystem that was trying to be born in different countries. And I was part of the network, I was going to different events. And thanks to that, what I did was actually ask people, "what do you think we need to push this forward? What do you think is missing in this new ecosystem?" And I tried to put that together, I applied for a fellowship from the Optical Society. I won that fellowship, and thanks to that, I created my company. So, right now I'm the founder of Qureca. But when I won that fellowship, people call me the quantum ambassador, thanks to all what I said trying to be kind of everywhere and understanding the ecosystem. That's my story, I hope it was not too long.

Yuval: It was great. So what does Qureca do, is that more on the manpower side? Do you develop technology? What does the company do?

Araceli: Qureca means quantum resources and careers, we provide services. My first idea was to do something in the direction of course of careers because for me to change my career and to be able to support all the people who would like to do that as well was something that I really wanted to do. But as I said, I understood that there were more things missing. There were all those gaps in the ecosystem. If you think about the stakeholders, research industry, government, and also the general public, there were a lot of gaps trying to understand what quantum means and what quantum could do for each of them. And we decided to grow into the direction of providing all these resources that were needed. So, we provide professional services. We work with quantum companies who'd like to grow, quantum companies who would like to understand what could be their position in this new ecosystem, who could be the end users, the customers for them. We work with them in terms of business development.

But we also work with end users, with big corporations and all the companies who would like to enter into quantum, but they don't know how they can do that. We provide business intelligence, we try to educate them, we train them, and we try to explain what quantum could do for their business. And we support on building their strategies. Really, the focus of all what we do is careers and skills. And for that we have an online platform for online courses.

So, we have different online courses focusing really into that layer of people who are ready to jump into a quantum job, but maybe they need to retrain themselves, and also about different business sectors. So, we have courses with no technical material, no formulas, just for very busy people who would like to understand who is doing what in quantum. We have courses into the direction of the financial sector and we are now creating all the courses for all the business sectors, as well as in all the different languages, because we felt that that was also something needed. And then we have recruiting as a service. We work with companies who are looking for people around the world, but we also work with people, individuals who are looking for the ideal job, and we try to steer their career in that direction in terms of what they need in terms of skills, what they need in terms of training. So, we really try to build this workforce or support the creation of these workforce in quantum.

Yuval: You mentioned governments. How well do you think governments understand quantum? I saw someplace that 25 countries have invested about $25 billion or at least have committed to that. So, a lot of money is flowing into quantum, but do you think that governments understand the potential of quantum or do they still need help in that?

Araceli: That's a very good question. I think that depends on the government, of course. And you saw that, we have that overview where we show these 25 billion from public funding. I think UK is in a very good position, mainly because they started quite early, right? They started 2013 to 2014 with the initiative. Then we have Canada and Singapore who were focused for years, even before the UK, on the research side. But do their governments understand the potential quantum? That's another question.

I think US and the European Commission in general they have been trying to push this forward. So, they have very good advisors to the government at the moment, but I think there's a lot to be done there. There is a lot because so far there has been only public funding that goes to research. The fundamental science we'll always read that is for commercialization of the technology, but at the end we are still into the research phase. So, what we need I think is trying to push from not just scientists to tell the government, "We need money to do the research", but also from industry telling the governments, "We need money to push it forward, to go into the next level that is really commercializing the technology."

Yuval: And so, how would you think about US versus Europe, for instance. Do you think that the European Union is more advanced or less advanced in government understanding of quantum than the US?

Araceli: Also, good question Yuval. If you remember when they launched the programs it was the same year. It was quite funny, as I said that suddenly there were all these initiatives and launch at the same time and the US created the office that advises them. It's an office full of scientists really, but they were working for the government. They were working directly with The White House on advising what they could do, that was really useful.

And on the European Commission... First of all, we cannot compare one country US, with European countries that are altogether into... we are talking about very different countries with very different cultures, with very different governments. Trying to put all that together, it's not comparable to just one country as the US. But the European Commission, I think is aware of the potential. That's why we have the Flagship and that's how we have seen now that in different countries, there is a national initiative on top of the Quantum Flagship. So, I think that there are specific governments in Europe that are very aware of the potential of quantum. And that's how they have put their own money on top of the money that was coming from Europe. So, answering the question, it depends on the country in Europe. I think we cannot compare.

Yuval: So, when we talk about a shortage of qualified people to do quantum computing. I think an ideal candidate and maybe it's like a unicorn, maybe they're only exist in fairytales, probably is someone who has a deep understanding of quantum physics has a very good understanding of computer science and potentially also a business understanding so they can translate the business needs into technical and vice versa. And let's assume that either these people don't exist or they're very few of them. So, what would be our preference? Would it be to take a PhD in quantum information science and teach them how to program or to get a good AI or ML or other type of programmer and teach them the fundamentals of quantum?

Araceli: That's the big, big question, when we talk about the quantum workforce at the moment, and I see this every day when I talk to companies or when I talk to individuals. I see we have very good candidates, very good people with very good CVs, they are researchers. They have been doing fantastic fundamental research into theoretical quantum physics, not even quantum computing sometimes. And they have been touching here and there a little bit about quantum computing, but they are not programmers, they don't know so many programming languages, they don't have experience in industry, they don't know anything about business. It's very hard for them to find a job in quantum at the moment very, very hard.

Then think about the people from software, they know a lot of different languages, but they have no idea what quantum... But these people if they kind of start by themselves, get into some free resources. If they understand the basics of quantum computing, answering the question, I think is easier for a person with experience in different computing languages and experience working in industry to understand the fundamentals of quantum computing. I'm not saying the foundations of quantum mechanics, I'm saying the basics that you need to be able to build a circuit in a quantum computer. I think that's easier than trying to teach everything that you need about business, about working in a different environment that the fundamental research. And also on top of that, really, to program different languages, to a person that has been just doing fundamental science. So, that's the tricky part now.

And then on top of that, we have the third layer where we have people with business experience, they're very good in networking with people. They can be an asset for your company, but they don't know anything about quantum. They also need to show that they will be able to talk in a very technical language to someone. So, trying to find a person who can speak the technical language, who understand the business and who has experience in business, that's I think even more difficult right now. And that's the unicorn that we have everywhere right now. It's getting harder and harder. I can see that, harder because the providers are getting more specific.

Yuval: One solution of course is, we see these big universities, Harvard, MIT, USC, others, putting together training programs that are focused on quantum. So, now they're starting to build a pipeline of quantum information scientists that understand this, but that's going to take a couple of years and maybe the capacity is not enough. But maybe there's a different aspect to the solution today when you program in quantum you program at a very, very low level, and maybe the solution is just to have tools or platforms that give you more of an abstraction layer that allow you to say, "Well, this is what I want to do and not necessarily how it gets implemented into the gates." Today when you create a webpage you don't worry about assembly language, you don't worry about CMOS gates, you don't worry about the architecture underneath. So, do you think that the tools or platforms could help solve that issue?

Araceli: A lot, yes. I think that will solve the problem. As you said, there are a lot of initiatives in the direction of building master programs for quantum scientists, and there are people ready with those masters. They're the ones that started one, two years ago and I've seen this as well: these people they come with a master in quantum science, and I have to tell them, "I'm sorry, but you don't have the deep understanding that is necessary for the job openings at the moment, because they need someone with a PhD or someone not with a PhD, but with the industry experience." So, they're in that kind of limbo at the moment where they don't have enough industry experience, and also they don't have enough kind of a research experience that they can apply. So, if there is something in that direction where they don't need to go into the details, but they can apply what they know at that level, I think that will be really, really helpful in terms of quantum computing.

Yuval: Other than people, what else do you think is missing to get quantum to the next level in terms of production and acceptance and delivering true business benefits?

Araceli: I think we need to understand. At the beginning when I started with the company, I always say, we need to be realistic. And I still say that we need to, we cannot say that we are going to have a quantum computer... An actual quantum computer in two years that is going to change our lives. It's not going to happen, but that what we have is we have different intermediate steps, until we have that actual quantum computer, that can bring benefit already to business. But the business they need to understand what that intermediate step means for them and how they could start playing with that. It's like we need everyone to be on board, on the same boat. We are developing the software, we are developing the hardware, but to develop the software we need use cases. So, I want to develop an algorithm that is going to bring me a solution for specific problems. But if I have no idea about what those problems could be, if I'm not working with an end-user, I cannot wait until I have an actual quantum computer in 10, 20 years to be able to see what the solution could be because right now we can already try to implement algorithms that are bringing benefits to the business even though we are in these intermediate steps. It's like we need to be realistic that the disruptive change is not going to happen in the short term, but we need to be already on board because otherwise it's going to be too late. I think it's funny when you try to think about it, it's too late sometimes when we think about the technology or otherwise you miss the train, but it's also too early to think about how this is going to really change all our society.

So yeah, we are in that limbo, and let's use that word where everyone should be aware. So yeah, that's one thing that I think is needed. And another one is cooperation. We have seen, and I have seen this in the last years, it's more about working together. What can you bring to the ecosystem? What can I bring to the ecosystem? How can I bring you something that you need? And the opposite. And how can we work together to bring everything forward. And it's the only way, it's really about working together. So, you have a quantum company, we are working in kind of consortiums where we have hardware companies with software companies, with end users, and altogether, we try to develop a new solution. And it's the only way.

Yuval: As we move from research into production, that needs money and that money could come from government, but it could also come from investors. Do you think that investors today are sufficiently verse in quantum computing to make the right investment choices?

Araceli: That's an awesome question. And actually something that we have been trying to understand in the last years. So, when I was saying that in a conference and I was always hearing, "Yeah, we are part of deep tech." But it's very hard to understand deep tech. When we talk about something that is such a long-term, how can an investor understand that they need to put money in something that they don't know, whether it's going to bring any benefit in the very long term. It's very, very hard to show how things are going to be scalable. So, there is a missing education or training for investors as well. And that's how we actually thought that we could bring something in that direction. We organized the first pitch event last year, where we had different companies pitching for investment and we also have investors coming and just understanding a little bit what the companies wanted to develop.

But of course, if they don't know the fundamentals of why quantum can be disruptive, they cannot just hear a pitch and say, "Yeah, I'm going to put money on that." So, what we are creating at the moment, we are organizing the first Quantum Mentorship Programme for investors, where we offer a training in quantum technologies. We want to teach them about the ecosystem, who is doing what in quantum, what are the different technologies, what is really important when you think about putting money on it, and how can you evaluate, how can you assess whether one idea is good or bad? We want to invite current investors in quantum. And we also want to invite companies that they can already show them how they have grown in terms of investment. And we are launching this, this month, actually. So yeah, I'm happy if anyone is more interested about it.

Yuval: So, as we come towards the end of our discussion today, let's assume that I'm a first-year or second-year student. And as you can see, I'm a few years removed from college, but let's assume hypothetically that I was, and I hear about quantum, and I say, this is great. I want to be part of this industry. What would you advise me? How do I get started?

Araceli: What I tell people is, first of all, now is the best opportunity to get involved from anywhere in the world, because most of the events are still virtual. So, if you can, just join the wellness. You can join the conferences, you can just start hearing the things, what are the new developments, who is doing what. Your name kind of is known to the people. I think that's how a lot of people actually, after some years, they are really well-positioned into the ecosystem because they are known, because they have been part of it for several years. That's one thing. The other thing is what you need to start with the fundamentals. What I did was really going to really the foundations of quantum mechanics and really into detail. But if they don't want to do a PhD in quantum, they just want to learn by themselves a little bit about programming.

There are fantastic resources everywhere. So, my question is always, where do you want to go? What do you want, do you want just to learn a little bit about quantum computing coding as a hobby, or do you actually want to build a career into, I don't know, quantum communication, which is completely different than actual quantum computing? It's really about answering those questions, is where are you and where do you want to go, and trying to build that career and those bridges into that direction. It's not easy because the question what do you want to do with your life is one of the hardest ones. But I think it's the easiest for all those people that want to jump into quantum to start learning with the small things. They are really a lot of resources out there. It's just trying to understand what are the best, depending on what they like the most.

Yuval: And it sounds like you may be able to help there. So, how can people get in touch with you to learn more about your work?

Araceli: Sure. They can just go to our website. So, qureca.com. They can send an email to us: info@qureca.com and they can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn. So, I'm really happy every time that someone, an individual, is asking this, what can I do if I want to go into quantum computing. I'm really happy to spend some time just understanding where they are and where they want to go, and provide some career advice.

Yuval: That's excellent. Araceli, thank you so much for joining me today.

Araceli: Thank you Yuval for inviting me again.


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