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Ilyas Khan

Founder & CEO, Cambridge Quantum Computing

Ilyas Khan, is the CEO and founder of Cambridge Quantum Computing (“CQC”).

Prior to CQC Ilyas was the founding Chairman of The Stephen Hawking Foundation. He is a Fellow of St Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge, and also the Leader in Residence at the Judge Business School where he was instrumental in the establishment of the highly regarded Accelerate Cambridge programme of investment in early stage Cambridge based technology sector companies.

Ilyas is a regular and extensive writer and commentator on topics relating to quantum computing. He has a long-standing interest in the foundations of mathematics and category theory. He is a Life Member of the American Mathematical Society.

What is it about FinTech that excites you?

The way we are seeing incumbent banking institutions challenged and made to rethink their own strategy and deployment models in areas such:

– Digital banking: where we are seeing fierce competition from challenger banks such as Revolut, Monzo etc. (how do they monetise – still to be seen – but exciting).
– Supply chain financing: where we see non-banking institutions now offering more attractive financing solutions. UK based Greensill capital is a great example.

In areas such as above, we’re now seeing companies rapidly achieve unicorn status a valuations here in the UK of: Grensill = $6bn, Revolut = $5.5bn, Monzo = $2.5bn.

All very simple ideas very nicely executed.

What do you envisage being the biggest development in FinTech in the next 5 years?

It is clear the application of quantum technologies will have deep and far reaching consequence for the Fintech industry in the next five years, and will impact how data is protected and analysed.

Cryptography: Whilst blockchain and certain encryption algorithms rely on the difficulty in solving one-way mathematical functions, quantum computers will be able to accomplish such a task very quickly. As the quantum threat grows over coming years, the Fintech industry needs to start today to develop and adopt counter measures in the form of quantum-safe encryption and protocols across its entire data ecosystem

Machine Learning and AI: With potential quantum speedups in applications such as high frequency trading, portfolio optimization, generative modelling, and Monte Carlo simulations, incumbent institutions are developing methods to leverage the power of quantum computing through in house quantum task forces and start-up partnerships.

What do you enjoy doing in your time away from work?

I am a runner, and would recommend it to anyone and everyone as a way to just take a step away from the hustle and bustle of today’s over-stimulated life. I have run a number of ultra-marathons and the attractions of the challenge of these long events are hard to articulate.

Also, I have spent my life immersing myself into recreational reading. I am an avid and enthusiastic reader, and one of life’s great pleasures is to lose a sense of time in a good book.

What is the biggest change that you have witnessed in the sector over the past 12 months?

A growing realisation that quantum computing is for real

Who would be your top 3 dinner party guests and why?

Richard Feynman – nobel prize winning physicist

Alexander Grothendieck – the mathematician who might well be the most important mathematician since Euler

Pablo Casals – the Spanish cellist