By the beginning of 2020, no initiatives were promoting and discussing quantum technologies outside the academia in Brazil. Also, unlike many developed countries, Brazil has not defined a national plan to develop Quantum Computing. There was an urge for someone to take action and to start this movement among Brazilians.
A group of four friends had decided to take this responsibility and founded Brazil Quantum, with the ultimate goal to make Brazil a global player in quantum computing. Rodrigo Ferreira, Pedro Ripper, Rafael Verissimo, and Camila Pontes started as an online community (to connect students and enthusiasts) and a blog page (to promote and explain the basics of quantum computing).
The initiative has substantially grown over time and started to perform different activities. Beyond the online community – which has expanded to a couple of hundred members – and the blog page, Brazil Quantum also runs an interview series in which experts come to talk about their research. The real impact, however, was yet to come.
Brazil Quantum began to explore real use cases to quantum computing technology. The first case is a post-quantum cryptography study in partnership with the Central Bank of Brazil and supported by Microsoft. This study is supervised by the Central Bank’s Information Technology Department (DEINF), which has been leading innovative studies and projects, such as central bank digital currencies (CDBC) and the Brazilian instant payment system (PIX).
Our current initiative focuses on PIX (Central Bank of Brazil’s instant payments ecosystem), a widely used platform that has moved BRL 83.4 billion in only one month. Brazil Quantum is analyzing and comparing the main quantum-safe algorithms to evaluate the feasibility of their use in a retail instant payment system, like PIX. The proof of concept will culminate into a paper that will discuss the quantum-safe algorithms’ applicability and scalability on PIX.
Not limited to post-quantum cryptography, Brazil Quantum is developing one of the firsts introductory quantum computing courses in Portuguese with its partner QURECA (Quantum Resources and Careers). The initiative believes that this course can motivate young students to pursue their future studies and push the Brazilian quantum workforce forward.
Moreover, the initiative is also pairing up with the Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (I2A2) to create a quantum computing course series in English. The first part is about theory and programming basics, while the second will focus on a specific field of quantum technologies. The enrolled students must complete tasks throughout the course to save their spot in the cohort and ultimately earn the completion certificate.
Beyond those educational resources, Brazil Quantum is negotiating a study project with Klabin S.A. – the largest paper producer, exporter, and recycler in Brazil – on behalf of Arnaldo Gunzi (Klabin’s project manager). A couple of interns will be selected to study and propose an approach to an optimization problem via quantum algorithms. As that will be one of the firsts quantum-based projects on the Brazilian industry in general, Brazil Quantum and Klabin are confident that it might attract other companies into this field.