In October, we partnered with the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) to explore the evolving landscape of Quantum Information Science (QIS) in Illinois—including how researchers in the state are learning to harness the technology and building relationships with industry along the way. In this Catalyst Conversations, we hear from Pranav Gokhale, Founder of about launching a pioneering quantum startup, Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, the role quantum will play moving forward, and much more.

[Excerpt from Catalyst Conversation below]

Why quantum? What excites you about the technologies made possible by quantum information science (QIS)?

QIS is exciting because it can fundamentally change what is scientifically possible. In the particular domain of quantum computing, what’s incredible is that qubits (quantum bits) can be exponentially more powerful than traditional bits. As a result, there’s an entire class of problems that are virtually impossible to solve even on a supercomputer, but would be easily solvable by a quantum computer. For example, with a few hundred perfect qubits, we could figure out how to biomimic the process of nitrogen fixation. This process is needed for the production of fertilizer, which accounts for 2% of the world’s entire energy expenditure. Quantum computing will enable us to dramatically reduce that energy burden. While many of these applications will materialize in the longer term, we think that quantum computing will also enable nearer-term speedups for use cases in energy, finance, and logistics. And that’s just quantum computing—other areas of QIS like quantum sensing and networking enable another suite of applications as well.