Quantum Bayesian Networks

February 9, 2017

The Bizarre History of Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC Ltd)

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 7:44 pm

Cambridge Quantum Computing (CQC) is a very British startup in the field of quantum computer software with a short but bizarre history that I find humorous. A case of fact being funnier than fiction.

CQC was founded in 2015 by Ilyas Khan. According to the Wikipedia article on Ilyas, which was probably written by himself, he comes to the QC business with no scientific degrees or programming experience of any kind. His training and experience are mostly in investment banking and philosophy. Here are some excerpts from the Wikipedia article:

“Khan is a merchant banker by training and started his career at the London firm of J. Henry Schroder Wagg & Co. Ltd. He was also the owner of the famous English football team Accrington Stanley and is its Patron [2] and the founder and publisher of the Asia Literary Review.[3]”

“His special interests include philanthropy and Wittgenstein, and he is a member of the British Wittgenstein Society.”

“Khan has lectured and published papers on Ludwig Wittgenstein, among other subjects.”

“In 2015 Khan founded Cambridge Quantum Computing,[5] which was selected by Bloomberg L.P., as a business Innovator 2016,[6] he has also published on the subject of Quantum Information Processing [7]”

Apart from having a warm & fuzzy feeling for quantum subjects, it’s not clear that Khan understands the underpinnings of QC enough to lecture about it or lead a QC software company prudently.

I first learned about CQC when the press went crazy over the news that a Chilean investment group called Grupo Arcano led by Alberto Chang Rajii was going to invest $50 million in CQC. For instance, here is an article by Bloomberg announcing this:

Early Google Investor to Help Bring Quantum Computing to Markets (by John Detrixche, Aug 26, 2015, Bloomberg news)

The importance of Alberto Chang to CQC was quickly confirmed by his ascension to the top spot in the “Team” webpage of the CQC website. Here is that page on Mar 4, 2016, retrieved using the WayBack machine. Click to enlarge.

cqc-team-mar-4-2016

All mention of Alberto Chang has disappeared from the latest reincarnations of the CQC “Team” webpage. What happened?

Well, if you google “Alberto Chang” “pyramid scheme”, you will find lots of news articles in English about Chang. (Or if you know Spanish, google the key words: Alberto Chang Rajii estafa)

For most of his career as a VC fund manager, Chang had been claiming that he had a business degree from Stanford, and that while at Stanford, he had met Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and had been one of the first investors in Google, an investment that had earned him millions. But Stanford and the founders of Google have now denied these assertions and Chang has been forced to recant publicly.

Grupo Arcano is (or was) based in Chile, with offices in Santiago-Chile, Miami-USA, London-UK and Sydney-Australia. Chang fled Chile to Malta on April 2016. He is a fugitive of the Chilean Law, which accuses him of running a pyramid scheme. His mother, a cofounder of Grupo Arcano, also tried to flee Chile but was snagged at the airport and is now under house arrest in Chile. Chang was seeking asylum in Malta but the Maltese government ultimately denied it and he awaits extradition to Chile. Chang’s assets have been frozen in the US and Europe, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has recently announced fraud charges against him.

Meanwhile, CQC continues chugging along. I just saw on Twitter that Khan is scheduled to give the keynote speech at some posh UK tech conference.

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4 Comments »

  1. Since they have Cambridge in their name, and thus must be affiliated with Cambridge University somehow, they should hook up with noted Quantum Mechanics expert Joy Christian, who is likewise affiliated with Oxford, then they’ll be the perfect English quantum computing powerhouse.

    Comment by Max Born — February 9, 2017 @ 8:57 pm

  2. No way Khan wrote that Wikipedia article himself. Wikipedia moderators are absolute fanatics in enforcing their guidelines. I once tried to create a Wikipedia article for Kingsley Jones, our Australian acquaintance, because it irked me that a Rugby trainer by the same name has an article, but a guy who wrote some really creative physics papers, and then moved on to become a bit of a financial media and start-up personality down-under, gets none. So I wrote a short stub and then had to waste an inordinate amount arguing with Wikipedia moderators why I thought Kingsley was noteworthy. Apparently it all comes down to having independent links supporting everything you write (which wasn’t really that much).

    Apparently, having a sports affiliation really helps, because that’s where you find tons of online material. So Khan founding the football team Accrington Stanley would have made him instantly noteworthy given these warped guidelines. But that’s Wikipedia for you, an online encyclopedia made by geeks where the jocks still get all the limelight.

    Anyhow, Khan support’s Sabine’s blog so I certainly like that about the man.

    Comment by Henning Dekant — February 9, 2017 @ 9:04 pm

  3. FWIW, CQC have some legitimate guys on board (Simone Severini, Fernando Brandao, Adrian Kent, Alejandro Perdomo-Ortiz), so I doubt that they’re on the Joy level of crackpot-ness. As for Khan’s involvement, it wouldn’t be the first time a money-man has set up a technology company, the workings of which he doesn’t understand…

    Comment by Jim Munroe — March 29, 2017 @ 12:04 pm

  4. I totally agree with everything you said, Jim Munroe. Talking about bizarre news, just yesterday, it was announced that Rigetti has been funded to the tune of $64M, in just one investment round !!

    Comment by rrtucci — March 29, 2017 @ 12:34 pm


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