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Standard Chartered latest bank to explore quantum computing

Standard Chartered is working with researchers to establish use cases for quantum computing in the banking sector

Standard Chartered is the latest bank to commit to researching the potential use of quantum computing in the banking industry, through an academic partnership.

The bank is collaborating with US-based Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to develop quantum computing applications.

USRA is a not-for-profit organisation, with a group of 49 universities its members.

“The world is currently in the process of identifying commercial use cases where quantum computer capabilities will surpass classical computers,” said Alex Manson, global head of Standard Chartered Ventures. “We have a conviction that some of these use cases will transform the way we manage risks in financial services, for example by simulating portfolios and exponentially speeding up the generation of market data.”

The technology will be able to make calculations that traditional computers are fundamentally unable to do. If practical, they would mark a leap forward in computing capability far greater than that from the abacus to a modern computer.

“Similar to other major technological advancements, quantum computing is set to bring widespread benefits as well as disrupt many existing business processes,” said Kahina van Dyke, global head of digital channels and client data analytics at the bank. “This is why it’s important for companies to future-proof themselves by adopting this new technology from an early stage.”

“Quantum computing is set to bring widespread benefits as well as disrupt many existing business processes. This is why it’s important for companies to future-proof themselves by adopting this new technology from an early stage”
Kahina van Dyke, Standard Chartered

Working with USRA, Standard Chartered has access to academic researchers. “[This] provides us with a unique opportunity to explore a wide range of models and algorithms with the potential to establish quantum advantage for real-world use cases,” said van Dyke.

At the same time, USRA, whose member universities have produced more than 50 peer-reviewed publications on quantum computing over the past seven years, said the partnership with a commercial organisation would help it diversify its research.

Standard Chartered is not alone. Dutch bank ABN Amro is working with researchers to explore how the technology can be used to secure online banking. It is working with Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research to prove that quantum key distribution can be used to secure data traffic.

In the future, quantum computers will be able to crack encryption methods, and today’s security systems for internet and mobile banking will no longer be sufficient.

Meanwhile, Spain’s CaixaBank has used quantum computing technology to develop a machine learning algorithm to calculate customer credit risk as part of its analysis of the technology’s application in banking. This followed tests of quantum computing.

Five application areas for quantum computing

  1. Drug and materials discovery: Untangling the complexity of molecular and chemical interactions leading to the discovery of medicines and materials.
  2. Supply chain and logistics: Finding the optimal path across global systems for ultra-efficient logistics and supply chains, such as optimising fleet operations for deliveries during the holiday season.
  3. Financial services: Finding ways to model financial data and isolating key global risk factors to make better investments.
  4. Artificial intelligence (AI): Making facets of AI, such as machine learning, much more powerful when datasets can be too big, such as searching images or video.
  5. Cloud security: Making cloud computing more secure by using the laws of quantum physics to enhance private data safety. 

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