Finance's quantum computing teams - and who's hiring
Quantum computing is cool. Aside from its name, which simply oozes space travel and Blade Runner-esque artificial intelligence robots, it’s also pretty damn useful.
Banks know this, and they’re… Actually doing something about it, believe it or not. Although the recent room-temperature semi-conductor talk ended up falling flat, quantum computing is still very much a progressing field – and one that will turn finance on its head.
JPMorgan is one of the best established (finance) names in the quantum computing space. Its team is headed up by Marco Pistoia, a former IBM “distinguished engineer” and “master inventor”, and, more importantly, a senior manager in quantum computing. IBM’s research into quantum computing is groundbreaking – it and Google are generally considered the industry’s cutting edge. Pistoia's team includes the likes of Charles Lim, a quantum encryption expert, who joined in Singapore in 2022.
Goldman Sachs has a quantum team too. Last year, Goldman partnered with AWS late for a foray into the uses of quantum computers for financial applications (block encoding, specifically). There were mixed results – “the number of qubits… might be prohibitively expensive without major advancements in quantum computing technology,” the related paper said. It's not clear how well that endeavor is going though - William Zeng, Goldman's former head of quantum research was leading the partnership, but left in July to become a partner at Quantonation, a venture capital firm investing in “quantum and deep physics technology”.
It's not just the big US banks. Moody’s, the rating agency, is interested in quantum too. Its head of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing, Sergio Gago, might inspire bank technologists that don’t have a quantum background. Gago is a graduate in telecommunications engineering, and before being named Moody’s quantum computing chief, was an MD in the media solutions team.
Quantum jobs in financial services: who's hiring?
Banks are actively hiring for positions. HSBC picked up Alejandro Rodriguez-Pardo Montblanch, a Cambridge physics PhD in quantum technologies, back in July as a “quantum research scientist”. The bank’s quantum computing chief, Philip Intallura, was actively calling for applicants to the quantum computing research team as recently as December last year.
JPMorgan are is actively looking for quantum computing expertise – at all levels of experience. The bank is currently looking for summer associates in “quantum computing applied research” for next year. No familiarity with finance required, although experience in quantum computing is required and a preference will be given for “candidates with a strong publication record”.
Wells Fargo, meanwhile, has posted its own job specs for a quantum computing gig (lead information security engineer in post quantum cryptography research and development, to be exact) – a job requirement that doesn’t mention finance anywhere, nor a proclivity to publishing, but instead a “strong background in linear algebra,” as well as optical communication, and “a desire to learn and grow your portfolio of various businesses and technologies.”
Why would banks be interested in quantum computing, anyway?
A variety of reasons. Although quantum computing could (will?) have a huge impact on nearly every industry you can imagine, for banks specifically, the cryptography issue is probably the biggest one: quantum algorithms have the potential to bust all current security measures. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a 2021 shareholder letter that quantum computing was a “critical area” for investment for this reason.
Wells Fargo’s quantum computing research lead Peter Bordow, meanwhile, speaking to Quantum.Tech, spoke like a man under siege. “This is a long game,” he said, “where we'll be mitigating threats we know today and anticipating those not yet known or invented for decades to come.”
Bodrow also made some interesting comments about Wells Fargo’s hiring style for its quantum team. “We try to cast a wide net,” he said, “I think there’s value in a distributed approach of upscaling current talent, recruiting from the available talent pool, and partnering with experts in the field.” Come one, come all, then.
Bordow, by the way - the same Peter Bordow - is perhaps better known as an award-winning blues artist, singing under the name “Preacher”. The name comes from an event in 1996 “that changed his life direction”. He charted strongly at the turn of the millennium and “today,” according to his spotify profile, “preacher continues to penetrate deep inside the listener.” Cool.
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