Why Our Digital Society is Two Steps Closer to Y2Q – the Day Quantum Computers Will Break Today’s Public Key Cryptography

Why we are two steps closer to Y2Q

A discussion with Quantropi Co-Founder and Chief Scientist Dr. Randy Kuang

Interview conducted by Quantropi CTO Michael Redding

The Chinese research paper “Factoring integers with sublinear resources on a superconducting quantum processor,” published in December 2022 by Bao Yan et al., has set off a storm of controversy in the cybersecurity community. It introduced SQIF (sublinear-resource quantum integer factorization) – a novel hybrid algorithm that is claimed to factor large numbers with a fraction of the resource requirements of Shor’s algorithm. Shor’s algorithm has so far been able to factor the integer 21, while SQIF is claimed to have factored the 48-bit integer 261980999226229 with just ten physical qubits.

These findings have caused confusion and even panic, with some going so far as to say that SQIF spells the end of classical public-key cryptography.

In this conversation between quantum physicist and Quantropi Co-Founder Dr. Randy Kuang and CTO Michael Redding, Randy shares his thoughts on the potential ramifications of SQIF on classical cryptography, Y2Q, and the future of post-quantum cryptography.

Michael: Starting with perhaps the most worrying question for many, has SQIF broken classical public-key cryptography?

Dr. Kuang: No, the proposed SQIF algorithm has not broken classical public key cryptography.

The paper’s authors have merely demonstrated the ability of the algorithm to factor a 48-bit integer 261980999226229 with just ten qubits. For comparison, Shor’s algorithm has been able to factorize the integer 21 so far – significantly smaller than what SQIF is claimed to have achieved. This implies that SQIF might allow us to defeat classical PKC with much fewer resources than Shor’s algorithm would require. However, we still have a long way to go until we can break 2048-bit RSA. Current quantum computers don’t have enough qubits with good enough fidelity to challenge it.

Right now, the importance of SQIF might not be in its ability to challenge RSA-2048 but rather in its potential to deepen research into novel quantum and hybrid algorithms. Just a few weeks after the SQIF paper was published, a research team at Kipu Quantum in Germany announced an algorithm that is claimed to outperform SQIF when factoring a 48-bit integer with 10 qubits. The team claims to have internally achieved even further records using their new algorithm with a confirmation of the sublinear-resource or physical qubits.

Regardless of the effect of SQIF on classical cryptography, we can expect Y2Q to arrive all the same. SQIF might bring Y2Q closer, but we can’t really tell by how much. None of which changes the fact that the right time to start preparing for the quantum threat is still yesterday.

Michael: What makes this novel algorithm stand out from Shor’s algorithm? Why should we worry about it more?

Dr. Kuang: The major difference between Shor’s algorithm and SQIF is that Shor’s algorithm is based on perfect, fault-tolerant quantum computers, whereas the novel algorithm works with good-quality, imperfect physical qubits with high fidelity to allow the QAOA (quantum approximate optimization algorithm) quantum optimizer to find enough smooth relation pairs.

Why can SQIF use good-quality physical qubits rather than fault-tolerant ones? The reason is that SQIF uses the quantum variational principle. Shor’s algorithm, by contrast, is a generic pure quantum algorithm that requires more qubits and quantum circuit depth.

Now, if SQIF can factor integers with fewer quantum resources than Shor’s algorithm, does that mean it’s faster? No. I think there is some confusion over terminology when people compare SQIF with Shor’s algorithm. We think in terms of speed, but the two algorithms are too different to draw a direct comparison between them. If we already had fault-tolerant quantum computers, Shor’s algorithm might have actually turned out to be faster – that is, it would factor the same integer quicker than SQIF.

The major difference in performance between Shor’s algorithm and SQIF is that SQIF needs fewer and lower-quality quantum resources. In terms of speed, SQIF shows huge speedups compared with pure classical algorithms thanks to QAOA, but we can’t say whether it’s faster than Shor’s algorithm.

The speed difference between SQIF and Shor’s algorithm might not even matter now – I think we should worry not about speed but about capability. If we could use SQIF to break RSA-2048 in an achievable time frame, it wouldn’t even matter whether Shor’s algorithm were significantly faster than SQIF in absolute terms. SQIF might be a big threat because it might be able to factor much larger integers than Shor’s algorithm with fewer computational resources.

Michael: So, I think this is a major difference: Shor’s algorithm works for perfect quantum computers, while this algorithm works on lower-class machines.

Dr. Kuang: The paper indicates that RSA-2048 might be broken sooner with SQIF than with Shor’s algorithm because of the less than perfect qubits it expects to be able to use. This is serious and drives some of the panic – after all, today’s PKI is fully based on RSA.

If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that Y2Q will be coming sooner than we thought. We need to act sooner rather than later.

Michael: The paper refers to two resources necessary for the novel quantum algorithm: the number of qubits and the quantum circuit depth. How does the algorithm leverage these two components? When will we achieve those “372 physical qubits and a depth of thousands” to challenge RSA-2048?

Dr. Kuang: SQIF uses physical qubits, not fault-tolerant logical qubits. At first glance, you might say that we already have enough physical qubits – IBM’s Osprey with 433 physical qubits came out in 2022.

However, this isn’t enough to crack RSA-2048. We don’t just need physical qubits; we need physical qubits with good gate fidelity. IBM hasn’t revealed the fidelity of Osprey yet, but its gate fidelity is estimated to be about 99%-99.9%. To challenge RSA-2048 with the proposed algorithm, we need fidelity three orders higher – to be more precise, fidelity of 99.9999%. Four nines after the decimal point. This is equivalent to one error per 1,000,000+ gate operations.

IBM plans to reach fidelity of better than 99.9% in 2024. That’s just a thousand gate operations per error, whereas we need much more. Osprey has a lot of physical qubits, but they don’t have sufficient quality for SQIF.

The next question is the circuit depth. We need a depth of thousands, but what do we have today? What’s the maximum depth Osprey can support? We don’t know for sure, but it’s probably 10-100. So we need to go at least a factor of 10 deeper to achieve the circuit depth required to challenge RSA. Osprey’s not going to do it, which is why I think we shouldn’t panic just yet.

Michael: So those are the three things to look for – qubits, quantum circuit depth, and fidelity.

Dr. Kuang: There’s one more thing, however, which I confirmed with the paper’s authors. We can make a trade-off between the number of qubits and gate fidelity. More precisely, we can offset the fidelity requirement by using more physical qubits. If we go to 3,000 or 30,000 physical qubits, we might be able to reduce the fidelity requirement and use shallower circuits to attack RSA.

And to again compare Shor’s algorithm and SQIF, Shor requires 4,000 logical qubits or 4,000,000 noisy physical qubits, as well as a circuit depth of 8 billion to break RSA-2048. Osprey doesn’t even have one logical qubit, so we’re far from being able to use Shor’s algorithm to crack RSA. For SQIF, the authors estimate that we’ll need around 372 physical qubits and a depth of thousands to do the same. Even though we don’t yet have physical qubits with fidelities over 99.9999%, we’ll most likely be able to meet SQIF’s requirements for tackling RSA-2048 much sooner than Shor’s.

Michael: What’s the benefit of the classical plus quantum framework presented in the paper? Why not do everything in the quantum realm?

Dr. Kuang: We’ve long known that we cannot crack RSA with pure classical methods. There might not be enough time left in the universe to brute-force RSA on a classical machine. For pure quantum methods, there is plenty of work to be done as well – that might be as far as after 2030 when we have fault-tolerant quantum computers.

By combining classical and quantum, SQIF seems to attempt to address the resource limitations we have both in classical and quantum computers. The SQIF algorithm uses classical Schnorr’s (not Shor’s) algorithm in two steps to turn the integer factorization problem into a lattice-based CVP (closest vector problem) task. In the first step of the algorithm, the paper’s authors use Babai’s algorithm to obtain optimal vectors for the lattice. These optimal vectors may lead to the so-called smooth-relation pairs that might give us the integer factors we’re looking for.

In the second part of the algorithm, we need to solve the CVP linear equation system by finding enough of these sr-pairs. The longer the RSA cryptographic key, the more smooth-relation pairs we’ll need to find to solve the linear equation system. For RSA-48, we need to obtain over 201 sr-pairs, while for RSA-2048, the required number of sr-pairs increases to over 276,769.

In the classical realm, it takes a long time for Schnorr’s algorithm to find enough smooth-relation pairs for the RSA integers. Additionally, Schnorr’s algorithm is known to struggle with scalability. This is where the quantum optimizer, known as QAOA, comes into play. QAOA takes the second part of Schnorr’s algorithm from a mathematical into a physical realm where the energy spectrum of the qubits represents the potential short vectors for sr-pairs. Thanks to this property of QAOA, Schnorr’s algorithm isn’t only faster in the quantum scheme, but also possibly scalable. But because the amount of energy levels for the sr-pairs is limited in noisy physical qubits, we need quantum computers with a certain degree of fidelity and added circuit depth to achieve good results with the algorithm.

Michael: What’s the potential impact of SQIF on lattice-based PQC algorithms? Can SQIF potentially break PQC even before we can use it?

Dr. Kuang: At the very end, the paper presents how QAOA can be used as a subroutine for lattice reduction problems. That said, it hasn’t explicitly claimed that QAOA could be used to somehow threaten and defeat lattice-based PQC algorithms.

At this point, we can only speculate, and the scientific community will need to take a better look at QAOA to determine whether it can solve lattice reduction problems and, by extension, also threaten PQC.

I think this is a much bigger issue than the threat of SQIF to RSA. We’ve known for a long time (at least since Shor’s algorithm was introduced in the 90s) that RSA-2048 and the entire classical public-key infrastructure will fall victim to the quantum threat – the question is when.

However, when it comes to PQC, the ramifications of SQIF could be much more serious and far-reaching. Today, it seems that lattice-based PQC is heavily favored in the research community and is also the basis of some NIST standardization candidates. And because we’re looking to switch to post-quantum cryptography to protect ourselves from quantum attacks after Y2Q, the fact that we might have the key to PQC even before it’s rolled out is extremely alarming. Again, this is only speculation, but SQIF could threaten widely used classical algorithms and future quantum-secure systems that we’re looking to switch to.

This brings us to a bigger thesis: Shor’s algorithm and the likes of SQIF aren’t the only ways in the universe to break RSA-2048. As we better understand quantum physics and as companies like IBM deepen their research into quantum computers, we’ll keep coming up with more and more ways to solve mathematical problems. Most importantly, researchers will probably keep coming up with novel algorithms that can factor integers with fewer computational resources and in a shorter amount of time. We’re already seeing researchers attempt to provide alternatives and enhancements to SQIF, and we’ll most likely see even more work exploring innovative quantum algorithms.

Researchers may start exploring other avenues for attacking cryptography as well. Optimization could be promising in this area, as demonstrated by SQIF’s subroutine QAOA. Machine learning is one field where we may see serious developments – right now, the likes of Meta AI are experimenting with machine learning to discover vulnerabilities in PQC. Meta AI argues that lattice-based cryptography has weaknesses against machine learning models. Because complex neural networks can, in theory, approximate any function, they could potentially be successfully used for attacking PQC cryptosystems.

Ultimately, crypto agility will be the backbone of cybersecurity in the future. We can’t (and shouldn’t) overcommit to particular cybersecurity technologies, no matter how enticing or technologically advanced they seem, because researchers will always find new ways to push boundaries. This is the philosophy that Quantropi’s QiSpace™ platform is built on, and why it will include NIST finalists and proprietary quantum-secure systems that look at the quantum threat from a different angle.

Michael: Will Y2Q hit sooner than predicted? If so, by how much?

Dr. Kuang: I think Y2Q is definitely going to hit sooner, but we cannot tell by how much; it depends on the development of quantum computing, especially on improvements in fidelity.

There is still a long way to go until we get fidelities of over 99.9999% and quantum circuits with a depth of thousands. However, if we were to ask ourselves which would come sooner — 4,000,000 physical qubits and a depth of billions on the one hand, and 400 high-quality physical qubits with a depth of thousands on the other, we would, of course, choose the latter. The technical requirements of SQIF are far more achievable than those of Shor’s algorithm.

There’s also the matter of other research teams coming up with improved ways of factorizing integers. SQIF is probably just one of the many possible ways to factorize large integers. We will certainly see more research into SQIF and possibly even faster and more efficient algorithms, as demonstrated by the efforts of Kipu Quantum. The snowball effect from the SQIF paper will bring Y2Q closer and closer, which is yet another reason to start preparing for the quantum threat right now.

Michael: What are the main technical challenges of running SQIF? Is it even feasible in a technical sense?

Dr. Kuang: Based on the paper, there seem to be no major technical challenges to implementing SQIF in the real world. The authors have provided step-by-step explanations for the algorithm and three examples for researchers to explore. Similar to the work of the researchers from Kipu Quantum, other teams can try to repeat and enhance the results presented in the paper.

I think the main technical challenge for SQIF is the integers it can factor with current quantum computers. The paper claims that SQIF has factored the 48-bit integer 261980999226229 with ten qubits – it will be interesting to see what quantum machines like the 433-qubit Osprey and future larger computers will be able to do. Another interesting question is when quantum computers with enough circuit depth and fidelity to challenge RSA-2048 will appear.

Michael: Do you trust the results of the study, and do you believe it was well set up?

Dr. Kuang: The paper presents interesting ideas for addressing the integer factorization problem, possibly opening a door for a completely new class of hybrid classical plus quantum algorithms. The authors provide a detailed walkthrough for SQIF’s technical implementation, so other research teams can try to verify the validity of the paper’s claims. In this sense, the paper might encourage deeper research into algorithms that can break RSA-2048 sooner and even challenge lattice-based post-quantum cryptography. Researchers are already attempting to scrutinize SQIF and propose better solutions. I am also glad that the paper made more people aware of the quantum threat and made them consider the importance of Y2Q.

No matter what, for a scientific community spread throughout the world, collaboration is the key to enabling ground-breaking research that’ll bring us to better-understood, safer cybersecurity solutions.

About Dr. Randy Kuang

Randy holds a doctorate in quantum physics. His research findings have been published in top international journals and named “Kuang’s semi-classical formalism” by NASA in 2012. On the basis of a successful career in information technologies, including with Nortel as senior network researcher & developer, he co-founded inBay Technologies in 2009, serving as CTO of the cybersecurity platform. As the first recipient of a patent for two-level authentication (2011), Randy is a prolific inventor, with 30+ U.S. patents in broad technology fields, such as WiMAX, optical networks, multi-factor identity authentication, transaction authorization, as well as concepts, technologies, and industrial applications for quantum key distribution.

As the founding root of Quantropi, Randy proposed the universal quantum safe cryptography using Quantum Permutation Pad or QPP applied to both classical computing and quantum computing systems. The typical classical implementation of this achieved Digital Quantum Key Distribution over the Internet and was recently benchmarked by Deutsche Telekom. By randomizing and derandomizing the reference phase space of coherent communications, Randy invented coherent-based CTF-QKD and further extends it for quantum secure QXD for infrastructure. He recently invented new quantum safe public key cryptographic algorithms for key exchange and digital signature.

Quantum-secure any application, product, network, or device with the QiSpace™ platform — without having to sacrifice performance or make major investments in new technology or infrastructure. See for yourself how only QiSpace™ offers TrUE quantum security via all three essential cryptographic functions. Leverage asymmetric encryption algorithms (the “Trust” or “Tr” of “TrUE”) via MASQ™, symmetric encryption (“U” for “Uncertainty”) via QEEP™ and strong random numbers (“E” for “Entropy”) via SEQUR™.  Make it TrUE with QiSpace™ — and protect your business, brand, and customer promise. Now and forever. 

To learn more about our quantum-secure solutions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts!

Sacha Gera

Sacha Gera possesses a deep understanding of the industry’s nuances through extensive experience in the cybersecurity sector. The Ottawa-based leader and Forty Under 40 recipient has nearly twenty years of experience in SaaS industries, professional services, and M&A, working in technology for both start-ups and large multinational organizations, such as IBM, Nortel, CGI and Calian. He currently also holds the position of CEO at JSI and Director at CENGN & Ottawa Board of Trade BOD.

Christopher McKenzie

With his extensive experience in software development and strong analytical skills, Chris can handle the entire end-to-end software development life cycle. Prior to Quantropi, he served as Director of Product Development at Sphyrna Security, Inc., where he managed the delivery of security compliance automation and data diode appliance products, and as Commercial Software Development Manager at Cord3, Inc., where he managed the development of an advanced data access policy management product. Chris graduated from Computer Science at Algonquin College and the Ottawa School of Arts in 1998. Read less

Dr. Randy Kuang

Randy holds a doctorate in quantum physics. His research findings have been published in top international journals and named “Kuang’s semi-classical formalism” by NASA in 2012. With a career spanning IT, including with Nortel as senior network researcher & developer, he co-founded inBay Technologies in 2009, serving as CTO of the cybersecurity platform. As the first recipient of a patent for two-level authentication (2011), Randy is a prolific inventor, with 30+ U.S. patents in broad technology fields, such as WiMAX, optical networks, multi-factor identity authentication, transaction authorization, as well as concepts, technologies and industrial applications for quantum key distribution.

Cory Michalyshyn

Cory brings a breadth of experience to the Quantropi team, working fractionally with multiple SaaS technology companies as CFO, and as the CFO with Celtic House Venture Partners. Prior to these roles, Cory was CFO and COO at Solink, and played a lead role in the metrics-led pivot to a direct-sales SaaS model, followed by multiple VC-backed funding rounds and their recognition as one of the fastest growing start-ups in Canada. He qualified as a CPA while serving technology, VC & PE-fund clients at Deloitte, and earned his Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University.

Ken Dobell

Ken leads marketing strategy at Quantropi. In high demand as a consultant with 25 years’ experience in performance media and an award- winning creative background, he has completed successful transformations, (re)branding and product development mandates with KPMG, Keurig DrPepper, Fidelity,the Previan Group of companies, Coveo, and numerous others. Previously, Ken pivoted an offline advertising brokerage to a leading-edge, data-driven performance agency as President of DAC Digital, held a progression of international leadership roles with Monster.com in North America and Europe, pioneered a range of multi-channel initiatives as VP Marketing with a global franchisor, and introduced a mobile-first programmatic media offering to Canada within WPP.

Raj Narula, P.Eng.

A seasoned technology executive, business builder and angel investor, Raj has held operational and advisory roles in Recognia (Trading Central), Belair Networks (Ericsson), March Networks (Infinova), Sandvine (Procera), Neurolanguage (ADEC), Bridgewater Systems (Amdocs), Vayyoo (Cafex), TenXc (CCI), 1Mobility (Qualys) and others. Having divided his time among North America, EMEA and Asia-Pac for over 20 years, Raj speaks several languages. He grew up in Asia, Europe, South America and Canada, and holds a B.Eng degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. He is also a co-founder and Charter Member of the Ottawa chapter of TiE (the Indus Entrepreneur).

Michael Redding

Before joining Quantropi, Mike was Managing Director and co-founder of Accenture Ventures, where he grew a global portfolio of strategic partnerships and 38 equity investments in emerging technology startups.

During his nearly 30 years with Accenture, he incubated and launched technology innovations for enterprises across multiple geographies and industries. Ever-passionate about bold ideas with game-changing results, he speaks frequently on the impact of emerging technology on large organizations.

With a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton, and a Master’s in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern, Mike is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Accenture Foundation and Board Observer for startups Maana and Splice Machine.

Alex He

Alex is a product-oriented project manager who bridges the gaps between the company’s engineering and commercial teams. He has over ten years of experience in the analysis, design and development of enterprise-class applications, with a particular focus on creating optimal user experiences (UX). Ever passionate about cybersecurity solutions that can deliver solid security without unreasonably sacrificing customer convenience, Alex is the lead inventor of a registered patent on user interface security. He is committed to helping ensure that the Agile software engineering team at Quantropi delivers consistently high-quality, high crypto-agility cybersecurity solutions for next-generation communications.

Nick Kuang

As VP Corporate Services, Nick plans, directs and coordinates a wide range of activities aimed at achieving Quantropi’s vision of the Quantum Internet. He has a keen interest in transformative technologies and the possibilities they offer for bettering our everyday lives. A pharmacist by training, Nick nurtures teams with a focus on integrity and collaborative effort, coupled with strong attention to detail. With prior experience in a successful biotech start-up developing point-of-care test kits, he enjoys the fast pace and challenge of the start-up environment.

Tina Wang

Tina develops websites and participates in a range of different projects, using new frameworks for front-end UI, along with Vuejs, Angula, Beego, Ruby on Rails, and Electron. She developed Quantropi’s desktop CipherSpace application by integrating Electron, Webassembly and Go, to ensure a good user experience, as well as perfect operating system compatibility. She is also part of the dynamic and efficient QKD-NODE project team. Tina is always looking for new ways to increase her knowledge, improve her technological proficiency and enhance her strong execution and implementation skills. Prior to Quantropi, Tina served as a full-stack web developer at Sunny Future, where she maintained a WordPress home site and managed the release of new content for the company.

Bond Vo

Bond Vo is the Business Analyst of Quantropi. Along with Quantropi, Bond has been dynamic in accordance with a fast and evolving startup environment and is responsible in a wide range of areas including market research, funding, and more involved in the controller roles to oversee day to day accounting operation as well as build financing models and budget to achieve company’s ultimate goals/objectives. Bond has applied best practices consistently and successfully supports equity, debt, and non-dilutive funding for Quantropi since joint the team. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce concentrated in Finance from Carleton University. Outside of his professional career, Bond also participated in volunteer for the Vietnamese Immigration Student Association (VISA) to help and support students as well as newcomers in Canada.

Pauline Arnold

As James Nguyen’s EA, Pauline Arnold brings more than 40 years of experience in complementary customer service and administrative roles. Prior to Quantropi, she served 20 years as Branch Manager and an assistant in investments, and over 20 years at Metropolitan Life Canada in various aspects of the insurance sector – assisting clients, management and colleagues to complete tasks, solve problems, address questions and achieve goals. She also worked part-time for Royal Lepage Performance for 5+ years as a receptionist & admin, and for 5 years was chair of the TKFG’s charity golf tournament.

Dafu Lou

Dafu is Quantropi’s Director of engineering. Prior to Quantropi, he served as a technical leader at Irdeto, a world-leading provider of digital platform security software, where he was responsible for white-box cryptography, cloaked CA secure core, and iOS/android application protection services, among others. Prior to Irdeto, Dafu served as a senior software engineer at SecureNex Systems, where he led the implementation of an SSL-VPN solution and ECC-based secure data storage & PKI. He earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa in 2009. Dafu is also a part-time professor, teaching VLSI, Cryptography and other subjects at uOttawa.

Eric Chan

Eric Chan a.k.a. EEPMON is a Crypto / Digital Artist with 15 years in the industry – and Quantropi’s Creative Emissary. His hybrid fractal/digital creations have been seen in fashion, comics to museums and has exhibited worldwide. EEPMON’s collaborations include Canada Goose, MARVEL, Snoopy, Microsoft Xbox, Canada Science & Technology Museum and was a TEDx performing artist. In 2018 he represented Canada on its first Creative Industries Trade Mission led by Canada’s Minister of Heritage and serves on the Canadian Museums Association‘s Board of Directors. At the same time, he is currently completing his Master of Information Technology – Digital Media at Carleton University. 

Jeff York

Jeff’s distinguished career includes an extraordinary track record of successfully navigating and spearheading expansions and transforming companies into industry giants. Jeff was the President and CEO of Giant Tiger Stores for 10 years. In this capacity, Jeff helped grow the business from a regional discount chain with 250 million in sales to 1.4 billion in sales nationally as Canada’s third largest discount chain. In 2009, Jeff joined Farm Boy with a mandate to expand the business. Under his leadership, the company grew from a nine-store chain in the Ottawa region to 26 stores in Ottawa, Kingston, the GTA and Southwestern Ontario. Farm Boy was acquired by Sobeys’ parent company Empire Company Limited for $800 million in 2018.

Patricio Mariaca

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Marco Pagani

Marco Pagani began his long and successful career as a senior executive in Ottawa’s high-tech sector in 1985, with Nortel Networks (then Bell-Northern Research). He rose across two decades to become president of several Nortel Business Units, managing more than 2,000 employees and over $1 billion in revenue. Having gone on to advise numerous organizations, as well as guide a range of companies through complex, critically necessary turnarounds, he is particularly respected for placing a strong emphasis on ethics and corporate governance in building the culture of the corporate and not-for-profit organizations he leads and supports.

Lawrence O’Brien

Lawrence O’Brien is a founder of Calian Group and former Mayor of Ottawa. Larry founded Calian Technology Ltd. in 1982 with a $35 investment and built it into a $200M/ year profitable, dividend-paying public company by 2006. As the CEO of Calian, Larry executed an IPO in 1993, completed five significant acquisitions, and managed the overall strategic growth of Calian from 1982 until 2006. After retirement from Calian in 2006, Larry served as the 58th mayor of Ottawa and proceeded to push forward four major economic development projects, including a Light Rail Transit tunnel in the core of the city, a new Convention Centre, now known as the Shaw Centre and a new trade show facility and a major urban renewal project that rebuilt 40 acres of dilapidated downtown Ottawa called Lansdowne Park into a vibrant, destination for citizens and tourist.

Dat Nguyen

Dat Nguyen has executive experience with top global consultancies such as IBM, Accenture, Ernst & Young (EY), and decacorn start-up Grab at C-Level roles.

During 20 years of consulting, Dat has worked with multiple companies across Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, and the Asia Pacific with CEO roles and leadership such as CEO for Accenture Vietnam, CEO of Grab Vietnam, and Partner of EY Consulting leading the technology practice (including Cybersecurity) in Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia).

Dat is a tech entrepreneur, a co-founder, and a digital ecosystem builder. He is passionate about new and innovative technologies and is involved in multiple companies across verticals such as AI, Blockchain, Web3, Cybersecurity, InsurTech, and FinTech. Dat is currently a member of the ASIA CEO Club.

Dat earned the Executive Education at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School, and received the Executive Certificate in Public Leadership in 2018.

Tanya Woods

Tanya Woods brings more than a decade of successful strategic advocacy experience to her role at the Chamber of Digital Commerce Canada. Tanya most recently served as the Interim Executive Director for the Blockchain Association of Canada and is a champion for Canada’s digital innovation ecosystem, domestically and globally. Tanya has held senior-level positions in the industry, representing national and multinational organizations in the telecommunications, technology, and entertainment sectors, including BCE Inc., Microsoft, Hut 8 Mining, and Nintendo. She has also advised and represented the Government of Canada in global trade negotiations and on the growth of the country’s blockchain ecosystem. Tanya is a global public speaker and published author with degrees from the London School of Economics, Ottawa University, and American University Washington College of Law. She was named among the top 10 “Leading TechWomen in Canada” by the Government of Canada, a “Trailblazer” by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and a “Top 40 under 40” in Canada’s Capital by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal.

Renato Pontello

Renato has 30 + years of experience as a trusted legal advisor and strategist. As an executive he has assisted numerous companies and their Boards of Directors to plot out and implement significant growth, diversification and reorganization plans in challenging circumstances. He was lead counsel on the sale of Zarlink Semiconductor’s $680 million dollar business as part of a takeover bid. At Zarlink he negotiated significant development, manufacturing, supply, distribution and IP licensing agreements with leading suppliers (eg Cisco, Nokia, Ericsson, Medtronic, Starkey, TSMC, Global Foundries, etc.). Renato has been involved in M&A, restructuring, financings and commercial contracts for dozens of companies. He also provides legal support in regards to intellectual property, securities, real estate leasing and employment law. He represents clients mostly in the SaaS, wireless, proptech, quantum, renewables, e-commerce, engineering and real estate conversion space.

Timothy Stapko

Timothy Stapko is a senior software engineer at Microsoft with 20+ years of experience in the information technology industry specializing in embedded systems, IoT security, security (SSL/TLS), and 9+ years of experience leading projects and a team of engineers on two commercially successful implementations of TLS for resource-constrained embedded systems (including cryptography, X.509, DTLS, HTTPS, etc.). Tim also has experience with US federal information standards (e.g., FIPS) and other standards and certifications (e.g., Common Criteria/EAL) and specializes in C, C++, FIPS 140-2, Linux, SSL, TLS, TCP/IP

Jay Toth

Prior to joining Quantropi, Jay was Chief Growth Officer of Kepro, responsible for the organization’s overall growth strategy in government markets. Before that, Jay held a progression of sales leadership and general management roles during his nearly 17 years at Microsoft, including GM, Enterprise Services, State and Local Government & Education, during which period he was responsible for the most complex business in the U.S. subsidiary (with 2,000 customers across the country), nearly doubling revenue from $160M to over $300M. Prior to his career at Microsoft, Jay was VP at Risetime, where he launched and ran a Financial Services practice area; a Principal at Lakefront, where he was responsible for business development and strategic partnerships; and a Manager at Accenture in the Emerging Technology Solutions group. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia.

Nik Mahidhara

Prior to joining Quantropi, Nik most recently provided strategic and tactical leadership as Director of Finance overseeing a large corporate treasury department. Here, he managed over $2B in operating funds and $1B in financing. Other responsibilities included cash management and forecasting, liquidity and investments, corporate financing, financial risk management as well as accounting and internal control management. Preceding that, Nik provided assurance, accounting and advisory services focused on high tech clients with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada. Nik has held progressive finance roles in various different environments and holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.

Brian LaMacchia

Brian LaMacchia recently retired from Microsoft Corporation where he was a Distinguished Engineer and head of the Security and Cryptography team within Microsoft Research. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington, an Affiliate Faculty member of the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Brian also currently serves as Treasurer of the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) and as a Vice President of the Board of Directors of Seattle Opera. Brian received S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1990, 1991, and 1996, respectively.

James Nguyen

James Nguyen is a Co-Founder and the CEO of Quantropi, a quantum-secure communications company established in 2018. Alongside Dr. Randy Kuang, he aims to uphold truth and trust in the digital economy on a global scale. In 2021, James was officially recognized as a recipient of Ottawa’s Top Forty Under 40 Award, and he holds a degree in Economics from Carleton University.

With a profound understanding of banking and global finance, James actively invests in and advises early-stage companies in the fields of Fintech, Graphene, and Quantum Technologies, particularly in emerging markets. Prior to his role at Quantropi, he served as the Chief Investment Officer and VP of Asia Operations for a diverse group of private and public interests involved in real estate, mining, energy storage, and manufacturing. In this capacity, he was responsible for strategy, banking, and global expansions, successfully securing substantial investments and partnerships to commercialize graphene applications across various industries.

James participates as a speaker and panelist at international conferences focused on quantum technology, cybersecurity, and investment. He also contributes to the community as a volunteer and mentor, leveraging his expertise and experiences to benefit others.