Quantum Computing Use Competitive Analysis

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Quantum Computing Use Competitive Analysis

Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo are three additional financial technology companies that are currently developing use cases in the area of quantum computing. Notably, these organizations have reported mixed results with practically applying this technology in financial services, and do not appear to be using quantum computing within production systems/services at present.

Barclays

Positioning Statement

  • Overall, Barclays asserts that it wants to be "quantum ready," while acknowledging that the future of quantum computing in financial services and technology remains "unknown."
  • Despite the opaque nature of quantum computing and its potential applications, Barclays currently states on its corporate website that it "concluded that quantum computing’s potential was so great that we should commit to an initial program of research and development."
  • Barclays adds that it has therefore undertaken "in-depth experimentation" of the technology, with the "twofold" goal of understanding the potential of quantum computing in the banking industry overall as well as determining how Barclays specifically might leverage the technology for commercial purposes going forward.

Key Use Cases/Applications

Partnerships

Key Messages

Communication Tactics

  • Notably, Barclays has deployed a variety of communication tactics in sharing its journey to date with quantum computing, and appears to be actively promoting its recent efforts.
  • Not only does the company dedicate substantial discussion on its corporate website to the subject, but it has published a white paper in partnership with IBM related to its settlements use case, regularly encourages Barclays Director of Research and Engineering Dr. Lee Braine to participate in interviews that highlight the company's focus on quantum computing and contributes to other related media coverage.


Goldman Sachs

Positioning Statement

  • Although Goldman Sachs has been publicly speaking on the topic of quantum computing in financial services as early as 2017 and 2018, any formal positioning statements related to the financial technology firm's use of this innovation have been limited.
  • However, Goldman Sachs Global Head of R&D Engineering Jeremy Glick asserted publicly this year that the company views quantum computing as a "longer-term" project, wherein the current focus is on fostering communication and other forms of collaboration between banks and "quantum experts."
  • This public statement appears to be corroborated by the company's posting last year for the "Leader of a new quantum computing research team in R&D Engineering."
  • Notably, this position has two key goals: (1) to identify applications for this new technology across Goldman Sachs and (2) to liaise with clients, Goldman staff and academics on the subject.

Key Use Cases/Applications

  • Goldman Sachs has been researching the potential applications for quantum computing in financial services since 2015.
  • These projects have most notably included an exploration of how quantum computing can be leveraged to "speed up financial calculations and artificial-intelligence-based decision-making," with the Monte Carlo computational algorithm as an initial use case.
  • However, Goldman Sachs reported in 2020 that this first significant test of quantum computing was unsuccessful, given that Monte Carlo simulations could not be "parallelized on a quantum system."
  • Moving forward, the company is shifting its research efforts to determine how to "decrease the depth of quantum circuits to handle the simulations."

Partnerships

  • Goldman Sachs initially partnered in 2019 with QC Ware to explore its initial use case for quantum computing in the area of Monte Carlo simulations.
  • Notably, Goldman Sachs not only inked a formal work arrangement with the company, but also became a lead investor in the software startup.
  • Since then, the financial technology firm has expanded its collaborations in quantum computing to include a new deal with IBM in May 2020.

Key Messages

Communication Tactics

  • Although Goldman Sachs has consistently spoken on the subject of quantum computing as early as 2017, these mentions have generally been more limited and from a research/analyst perspective.
  • However, as recently as 2019 and 2020, Goldman Sachs leaders including Global Head of R&D Engineering Jeremy Glick and Senior Researcher Paul Burchard have begun to more formally and publicly discuss the role that the company envisions for quantum computing at the company.
  • Meanwhile, it appears that Goldman Sachs intends to launch a broader "client facing" and potentially market facing communications strategy on the subject through its new head of quantum computing research, per the associated job posting.


Wells Fargo

Positioning Statement

  • Wells Fargo has published only limited references to quantum computing across its owned media channels; however Wells Fargo Chief Technology Officer Saul Van Beurden publicly referred to the company's positioning statement on this new technology in 2019.
  • Specifically, Wells Fargo's goal related to quantum computing is to "test and learn" about this innovation, so that it can better understand its optimal use cases and potential impact on the financial services sector.
  • Mr. Van Beurden added that while many in his industry believe that quantum computing will "never come to production" or will take "10 or 15 years" before practical applications are possible, Wells Fargo views quantum computing as a "game-changing impact" on financial services and wants to ensure that it doesn't have "regrets" about moving too slowly on the technology once this "wave starts to take off."

Key Use Cases/Applications

  • Although the company has been public in its pursuit of quantum computing, Wells Fargo has been reticent to share details related to its current use cases.
  • Mr. Van Beurden has publicly stated that Wells Fargo is dedicating several "data scientists and Ph.D.s in quantum computing" to explore the areas where the company has its "first hypothesis" and use cases in mind.
  • However, Wells Fargo has not disclosed the specific areas of focus within these initial research efforts.

Partnerships

  • This past November 2019, Wells Fargo and IBM announced a formal, multi-year collaboration in both the areas of quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
  • As part of this partnership, Wells Fargo joined the IBM Q Network and gained access to the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab.
  • Although Wells Fargo separately reported that it has included MIT within this collaboration, specific project details have not been publicly reported.

Key Messages

Communication Tactics

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