Home Technology Sandbox AQ, a new Google spinoff, brings AI and quantum technology together.

Sandbox AQ, a new Google spinoff, brings AI and quantum technology together.

by Rizwan Syed
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Sandbox AQ, a new spinoff from Alphabet (Google), aims to solve today’s problems in cybersecurity, sensing, and communications by combining AI with quantum technology.

Jack Hidary, the CEO and founder of Sandbox AQ, is no stranger to using quantum ideas. He even authored a book on it, entitled Quantum Computing: An Applied Approach. His research group has also been spun out as a separate corporation after six years of operating under Alphabet, Inc. (Google’s parent firm).

While quantum computers are extremely beneficial, they are still a few years away. Sandbox AQ aims to tackle contemporary problems using artificial intelligence and quantum physics without having to wait for quantum computers.

“What we discovered is that AI and quantum technology can be used now, that it can be run today, that it can work today, for businesses and major corporations,” Hidary added.

Cryptography that is quantum-resistant
Indeed, one of Sandbox AQ’s first major endeavors is in the field of cybersecurity, which is a problem that must be solved before quantum computers are powerful enough to break today’s codes.

The information must sometimes be kept secret for decades by governments, defense contractors, financial institutions, and healthcare facilities. That means that secure communication sent today using current encryption standards like 2048-bit RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) could be intercepted and saved for future quantum decryption to gain access to the secret data.

Many organizations, including the United States National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), have been working on post-quantum cryptography, also known as quantum-resistant cryptography, for years. They’re working on new cryptographic system standards that will be secure against future quantum computers while also integrating with existing protocols and networks.

This six-year global, multi-stakeholder process, according to Hidary, is nearing a “positive finish.” One of the issues that contributed to Sandbox AQ’s decision to split from Alphabet was the implementation of these standards.

Sandbox AQ believes that AI will be critical in the development of post-quantum cryptography.

“An AI model decides in real-time which protocols and parameters to utilize to encrypt and decrypt at that particular time,” Hidary explained. Their current commercial solution aims to increase security for billions of smartphones, laptops, servers, and Internet of Things devices around the world. “The good news is that we can accomplish it in software,” Hidary continued.

Data centers, point-of-sale devices, microcontrollers, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices will all require these security methods. In addition, the business has established partnerships with Vodafone and Softbank to develop virtual private networks that use post-quantum cryptography (VPNs).

“If you’re creating chips,” Hidary says, “you’ll need to enable these post-RSA encryption-decryption protocols.” “We’re in the midst of a generational shift.”

Furthermore, Sandbox AQ is employing AI to assist security audits in what they refer to as the “finding phase” in order to detect system flaws.

If you have a large enterprise network with many subnets, endpoints, devices, firewalls, routers, and so on, you’ll need to undertake a lot of investigation to figure out where the susceptible protocols are being used.”

Fault Tolerance is Required for Quantum Computing
Sandbox AQ’s overall goal is to keep a watch on quantum computing developments. Hidary, on the other hand, stated that they do not plan to deploy quantum processing units (QPUs) until they can scale to higher quantum bit (qubit) counts and become fault-tolerant by adding error correction.

He does see a “really interesting future” in which CPUs, GPUs, and QPUs collaborate in the cloud to perform what they do best.

Quantum communication and sensing are leading the way.
While the impact of quantum processors may be years away, Sandbox AQ is investigating quantum phenomena in the realms of sensing and communications. “Birds and some species of whales can navigate thousands of kilometers extremely precisely using the Earth’s magnetic field,” Hidary said, describing quantum magnetometry as a future complement to GPS navigation. If we can harness this potential, it could give a solid backup in situations where GPS is unavailable.

Sandbox AQ is also interested in quantum coherent communication. Hidary presented a new communications network that is being created as a parallel Internet but is based on quantum notions such as superposition and entanglement.

According to Hidary, it is being built now all over the planet, even though it will take many years to complete.

What is the best way for me to break into the AI and Quantum industries?
Hidary stressed the importance of Sandbox AQ’s support for training the future generation of AI and quantum engineers, scientists, and mathematicians during our chat. Partnerships with institutions throughout the world and a residence program for Ph.D. students and post-docs are among Sandbox AQ’s initiatives.

“We provide generous pay and a lot of training that is complementary to what they would receive in academics.” They also learn that world-class science and research can be conducted in a commercial setting.”

Consistent Advancement Towards a Quantum World
While quantum processors receive the majority of the attention, Hidary envisions a world in which quantum processors, quantum sensors, and other quantum devices all communicate with one another through a quantum coherent network. Sandbox AQ will be intriguing to watch in the approaching quantum world, with its high-profile coming-out celebration and support from a wide range of sectors.

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