George Gesek, CEO of NOVARION Systems, gives us useful insights into how quantum computing will impact the financial services industry.

We had the pleasure of meeting Mr Gesek at the European Payment Summit 2018, where he gave an in-depth overview of this new technology and what benefits quantum computing can bring to businesses around the world in an interview with The Paypers.

NOVARION Systems is a powerful computer manufacturer based in Vienna, serving thousands of customers in various industries, scientific and governmental organisations. The computers developed by the company are based on artificial intelligence systems and high level transaction processing for meta-information. According to NOVARION’s founder, this transaction processor “should be able to perform the same number of transactions per second as the human brain by 2025”.

Since everything in our universe represents information, it is necessary to process this information in order to perceive, understand and comprehend something of what is in it. To achieve this, “until the end of the 2nd millennium, people knew two kinds of information processing machines: the computer, called the Turing machine, and the brain”. The future sounds more promising, however, according to Gesek, as “the beginning of the third millennium reveals a much more powerful beast for information processing, the quantum machine or quantum computer,” he added.

What is quantum computing?

A quantum computer is an unprecedentedly powerful tool that processes vast amounts of information, all at a glance. In fact, a quantum machine works similarly to how the universe calculates and analyses space and time coordinates, the basis of what we call reality.

Mr Gesek added that “since the amount of information exceeds that of our state-of-the-art computers by factors such as 10 to 70, scientists plan to collect and input this quantum information into newly developed machines called quantum computers.”

Moreover, there are several types of these machines related to the different implementations of quantum information memory called qubits. From a scientific point of view, “these are two different technological types, namely those that are mounted on a solid surface and thus, in order to preserve the valuable quantum information long enough for computation, are deeply cooled, almost to absolute zero (<1mK). The others are built with free particles such as light (photons) or single ions (electrically charged atoms confined in a magnetic field), but at room temperature,” adds the NOVARION CEO.

Interestingly, early adopters in the computer industry on both sides of the Atlantic have relied on the two different technology approaches. In the US, large companies such as IBM, Google or Microsoft have opted for the “frozen” architecture on a superconducting chip. Back to his company, Gesek emphasises that in Europe “smaller companies like NOVARION Systems will implement the 300 Kelvin version of Qubits. The idea is to get the elusive quantum information out of a solid crystal lattice for much longer without interactions.” With a confident smile, he added that it would be interesting to see “which quantum technology will prevail, so far the race for qubits has just begun”.

Quantum Computing for Financial Services

After presenting the technological aspects of quantum computing, Mr Gesek also presented some of the main applications of the technology in the financial industry. He praised the volume of information and results that quantum computing offers “due to the computation of quantum information that effectively adds meta-information to the model. Thus, with a quantum computational model of a system, such as financial markets, the results can include probabilities of future events such as trades or quotes,” he said.

Combating money laundering (and financial fraud in general) is an area that would benefit greatly from quantum computing. “Especially in the context of financial analysis of transactions,” Gesek said, “quantum models could be very efficient in detecting undesirable behaviour such as fraud or money laundering. A human financial analyst with a quantum computing assistant is in many ways more efficient than today’s classical computer-based skilled workers and will be the new normal once enough quantum computing power is available in data centres.”

“There are two sides to every story” – challenges and threats.

“There is more to the technology than meets the eye,” says the founder of NOVARION, as “quantum computing is both a threat and an opportunity for the entire financial industry. The threat stems from the extreme computational power that compromises most of the most advanced encryption methods and security measures for classical data, including blockchain.” The good news is that “on the other hand, quantum information will enable encryption of the data itself and provide technologies for identification in the future.”

For those who want to know when quantum computers will make their debut, Mr Gesek announced that NOVARION has recently made significant progress with its science partners in integrating the first industry standard for future quantum computers.

“This new technology is expected to lead to a useful quantum computer for the financial industry in just 4 years (by 2022). Among the first use cases already being evaluated with NOVARION’s banking clients are optimised workflows where computers and humans work together, and new predictive models for market behaviour,” he concluded.

If decades ago technology would take a long time to design, test and implement, today it goes from beta to real-world application in a fraction of the time. During an interview with the founder of NOVARION, we found that even though quantum computing is still an emerging technology, we are the winners, in the role of consumers who see the benefits in terms of convenience and functionality in our banking and financial experiences.

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