Sandbox AQ, Alphabet’s quantum artificial intelligence company, spins off • The Register

Alphabet created another company – this time Sandbox AQ – which worked on blending quantum computing and AI with a focus on “post-quantum cryptography”, data security and even clean energy.

The company is based on a set of APIs called Floq allowing developers to use tensor processing units (TPUs) to simulate quantum computing workloads. The preliminary code has been published on GitHub.

The spin-off quantum tech group — not to be confused with Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative — started life at Alphabet in 2016, but flew under the radar largely because it operated outside of Google’s Moonshot division. Google, where it sends other concepts requiring experimentation.

Now that it’s split from the mothership, with founding CEO Jack Hidary still at the helm, Sandbox has changed its name to Sandbox AQ for maximum buzzword appeal: “In addition to cybersecurity, quantum technology and AI working together have a powerful compound effect, we call it AQ,” hidary said.

Sandbox AQ, chaired by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, just completed an oversubscribed funding round with investments from Breyer Capital, Schmidt himself, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures and others.

Schmidt said in a maintenance with Reuters that converting large enterprises to quantum secure communications would be “a pretty big deal”.

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The company also has a good list of top-tier customers, including Vodafone Business, Softbank Mobile, Mt Sinai Health System and “other leading Global 1000 companies,” Sandbox AQ said.

Sandbox technology still stealthy

At his websiteSandbox AQ describes itself as “a SaaS company combining AI and Quantum technology to solve difficult problems impacting society”.

Sandbox said its products include “post-RSA” cybersecurity modules and clearly mentions its existing customers, but that’s about it. Hidaire admits which is already a well-known fact: “fault-tolerant quantum computers will not be commercially available for a decade or more”.

Yet, said Hidary, “we have provided practical quantum and AI solutions that solve real-world challenges for a wide range of industries.”

Breakthroughs in quantum computing are still infinitesimally small and rudimentary: Microsoft has only recently said that it has created the conditions necessary to maintain its version of a quantum bit. That hasn’t stopped funding and interest from private investors and the US government trying to get a piece of the pie before it’s even come out of the oven.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said he sees Sandbox AQ as a spiritual successor to Salesforce. “Jack [Hidary] mimics the way Salesforce.com harnessed the era of cloud computing and applies it to the era of quantum technology,” Benioff said.

Sandbox, for its part, does not waste its resources and has actively partnered with universities to fund doctoral students and host postdoctoral fellows. Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge and others have all partnered with Hidary and company. ®

Michael J. Chiaramonte