Tell us about your background — where did you grow up?
I grew up in California, and when I was just learning to read, I was attracted to two kinds of books: one, like a Child's First Book of Electronics, was super fun because I could build what I read, constructing simple circuits that did something that amazed, while the second, like Upside Downtown, was a sill, abstract and whimsical story that delighted me with the absurdity or the world. My current work in building a quantum computing company doesn't deviate much from ether of those areas.
Did you have any academic or business mentors that influenced your career path early on?
Most of my family and friends were entrepreneurs, so that seemed totally normal to me. For instance, ran a neighborhood fair and made enough money when I was 10 years old that I could recruit local kids to work with me-we all profited. After that, I started a leather crafts company that I ran while in high school, and I paid for most or my college and Harvard Business School expenses by starting a profitable film series as an undergrad at Amherst College.
I've been fortunate to have a series of mentors in the tech space. Jim Cash, a professor at the Harvard Business School, piqued my interest in I and programming in a time of punch cards. David Liddle, who ran Interval Research for Paul Allen, was a role mode of someone fostering cross-disciplinary innovation in a Palo Alto-based think tank spanning core technology to ethnographic research of human behavior to cellular biology to dance, while Pitch Johnson, one of the founders of the venture capital industry and the board chair at HYPRES before me, reinforced the combination of patience, good judgment and practical business strategy informed by a strong, ethical backbone that characterized one of the best investors in the history of Silicon Valley.
What was the reason you founded Seeqc? What was the opportunity you and your co-founders saw for the company?
While serving as a chairperson at HYPRES in 2017, we conducted a strategic planning process to help each of our divisions imagine a scenario where they could pursue their most ambitious future. It became obvious, based on our unique capabilities in Single Flux Quantum chip design, manufacturing and system integration, and working in commercial markets, that we should spin out to form Seeqc and build a Scalable Energy Efficient Quantum Computer.
I also had a key partner at HYPRES in building out this vision: CTO Oleg Mukhanov, with whom I had worked over the previous nine years. Knowing you have one of the luminaries in SFQ with the respect of his peers around the world as your founding partner, not to mention that he is such an excellent person, made this a straightforward and easy decision, and adding Matt Hutchings topped the cake!
What do you think of Seeqc's most monumental accomplishments to date?
We spun out in April 2019, and we've marked this time with a series of Important milestones. First among them, our team designed, built and tested the world's first all-digital SFQ readout and control chip for a quantum computer. We filed a portfolio of new patents and added significantly to our foundry and test capabilities, having just completed construction of our new headquarters and milliKelvin test center.
The most important accomplishment is building our team — doubling our technical staff. Adding these people, with their new perspectives, ideas and experiences, is what will enable us to fulfill our vision in the coming months and years.
What major breakthroughs do you think quantum technology will bring in our lifetime?
Although I am excited by the possibility of quantum computers developing new materials, chemicals, and drugs that will greatly advance the work we already do within these domains, I am more interested in using quantum technology to accomplish tasks that we are completely unable to perform today.
For instance, imagine building a quantum computer and application sufficient to simulate the safety and efficacy of drug trials entirely in silicon. Or being able to build a computer that can model and incorporate many complex natural systems to construct an accurate climate model that could enable us to manage the stewardship and growth of our planet in a. way that ensure health, prosperity, equitable resources and climate science for a more ecologically responsible future.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In normal times when my wife and I travel, we nearly always go to an art museum or gallery or site-specific cultural installation to get inspiration from those who push artistic and cultural boundaries. I read books about quantum physic and science history, as well as crafted fiction. I can't miss watching a competitive game, whether basketball, football or baseball, and I love to hike, cycle, raft and ski. I have a new passion enlivened by our Covid lock-down: cooking traditional Szechuan cuisine with authentic ingredients, courtesy of Amazon.