The Malaga merger is a quantum technology company independent of Google

At the digital pole they remember some conventions that interacted with the audience. Fernando Dominguez from Pinuaga said he loved being interrupted at the beginning of his talk, and of course he was: questions and comments poured in, and by the end, there was a line of attendees waiting to meet him. He's not a 'youtuber' or a 'gamer': he's the vice-president of Sandbox AQ, which aims to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, tackle cybercrime in the future, or create an alternative to GPS navigation.

Dominguez de Pinuga's talk at Polo Digital was his presentation on the technology Malaga society. The vice president of Sandbox AQ moved to Málaga a few months ago: great news for tech Málaga, because he is willing to look for talent and make connections with the local tech ecosystem, including the university. . 'Residency' (Internship period for Doctoral and Postgraduate students). Remote work is more common in your company; They are looking for talent anywhere. And he warns: „Everything that can be done from Málaga is welcome. I hope that in a few years Google has an office here, that will be a good sign,” said the businessman, who is of Valencian origin, but when returning to Spain he wanted to settle in Málaga for a fundamental reason. : Direct flight to NY.

Sandbox AQ has been shrouded in mystery since its inception: its existence was not even known for much of its early phase within X, and now it continues to provide statistics on revenue or workforce; One of the few numbers that emerged was that an investment round held in 2022 raised more than $500 million. Silicon Valley heavyweights have also been known to bet (and like to say so) on many of them. Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Thomas Tull, David Siege or Bradley M. Bloom established it as a secret task force within investment funds such as Breyer Capital and Guggenheim Investments.

The enthusiasm among investors for this Google 'spin-off' is no accident: it is part of an investment race between major world powers (led by China and the US) to reach the top spot. Quantum technology. „Global investment in quantum computing is $38.6 trillion, four times more than in artificial intelligence in 2016. All countries with a certain weight are trying to lead this technology. China accounts for half of the investment; they have set a goal of mastering quantum by 2030 because it is geopolitical for them. They hope to provide leadership. And the United States is worried because it knows it has an advantage and is doubling its efforts,” Dominguez de Pinuaga explained in his speech. Within the European Union, Spain is leading the commitment to this technology, in fact one of the first quantum computers on the continent: it is in Barcelona, Institute of High Energy Physics.

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What is it about quantum computing that attracts so much interest and so much money? Simply put: it represents a new era of computing in which computers can do things that are now unimaginable. It will have disruptive effects on many levels: economic, scientific and military.

For his part, Domínguez de Pinuaga is convinced that what his company is doing — combining quantum technologies with artificial intelligence — is going to change the world. Yours is part of a select club of companies already developing commercial applications for quantum technology, in your case from 'hardware' (ie, it's not seeking to build a quantum computer), but from 'software'. „We are developing applications of quantum technology in conjunction with artificial intelligence that do not require a quantum computer,” he summarizes.

Domínguez de Pinuaga summarizes his company's ambition thus: «Sandbox AQ is not a conventional company; And it is not a 'startup'. „This is a company that will be marked as a great technology leader of the next decade.” He then goes on to argue his statement like this: „Five or six years ago, Jeff Bezos, in a very famous interview, was asked where Amazon would be in 2040. And he said, by then, Amazon shouldn't exist, because today's leading companies will be tomorrow's leading companies.” Now. If you look at the companies that are in the 'top 10' – Google, Meta, Apple – they didn't exist twenty years ago.”

The first application Sandbox AQ started marketing (as subscription software or SaaS) was interested in protecting conventional computers from quantum computers. More specifically, current encryption models cannot be modified to make them vulnerable to attacks that quantum computers may plan in the future. This division of the company already has contracts with DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency) and the United States Air Force.

Another area of ​​its operation is quantum sensing, with two applications already in the works: one is to develop navigation systems that do not depend on the GPS signal, but instead work with the Earth's magnetic field. „This is nothing new: birds and whales orient themselves in this way in their migrations. Our contribution is to combine AI to remove interference,” explains Dominguez de Pinuca. With magnetometers attached to the aircraft, they focus on the Earth's magnetic field, and AI interference is eliminated. Another important field of quantum sensing activity is healthcare. „Until now, electrocardiograms, which measure electrical signals, have been used to monitor heart activity. We've developed a device with quantum sensors that monitor the heart's magnetic field; again, what AI does here is refine the measurement and remove interference. We're already running it in several hospitals, and this is just the beginning: the same can be done in the brain.” He explains.

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Also in the health sector, but changing quantum technology (from sensing to simulation), its biopharmaceutical molecular simulation division, AQBioSim, is limited, helping biotechnology, pharmaceutical and research companies and organizations to accelerate the development of new drugs for cancer. Alzheimer's or Parkinson's through the use of quantum-inspired algorithms.

Domínguez de Pinuaga highlights that the key that allows Sandbox AQ to do all this is its impressive „exceptional talent.” „We are working on new navigation models, ending Alzheimer's disease, developing new drugs to save lives, protecting data from future cyber attacks with a new encryption model. It is very attractive to a certain level of experts. Sandbox AQ is a 'coincidence' of talents. We have biologists, There are doctors, physicists, IT people, industrial engineers, business people. We bring in the best talent, get them to solve big problems and let them do it. When you make an impact with good talent, you know you're going to be one of the best leading companies of tomorrow. ” he says.

„It's an exciting moment in Malaga”

Leaping from the quantum universe to the mundane, Dominguez de Pinuca talks at length about Malaga, where he is „delighted” to settle in Malaga with his wife – an American – and his children. “Everyone has been beautiful. Honestly, it has made a huge difference for us. „They've made us feel very welcome and we've found a nice community coming here from outside.”

„In one of those fiery moments, there's a 'momentum,' an energy, and that's why things happen,” highlights Malaga, Sandbox's vice president and former Google executive. „If it's three years, seven or thirteen years, I don't know how much he has left. But it's a sweet moment where there's a lot of technology coming out of it,” he points out.

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Fernando Domínguez de Pinuaga was born in Valencia and moved to Paris to study industrial engineering. He played for Spain from 2003 to 2006 and confessed that he „left because I wanted to play rugby”. There he obtained his Master's Degree in Energy. The next thing is to start working for the Mexican oil company Pemex. And while in Mexico, a rugby teammate who worked at Google encouraged him to knock on the door of a multinational company that was expanding rapidly in Latin America. In the interview, the 'country manager' told me that he knew nothing about digital advertising. I told him no, but I learned quickly,” he says.

Selling ads didn't particularly inspire Fernando, but at one point he saw an opportunity to jump into an energy-related project: his specialty as an engineer. I love Steve Jobs' speech where he talks about 'connecting the dots'. [»Connecting the dots«]. There are things that seem unrelated when they happen, but in the future they become relevant and meaningful,” he says. The next leap was geography: He moved to San Francisco, where a few years later he began working at Google on quantum technology and artificial intelligence. That team created Sandbox AQ, one of the few 'spin-offs' that Google acquired.

What is quantum computing?

Let's get back to the basics: What is quantum computing? We are talking about a computing paradigm that differs from classical computing because it is based on the use of 'qubits', a special combination of ones and zeros. Bits in classical computing can be either 1 or 0, but a 'qubit' can have both states simultaneously. It creates new logic gates that make new algorithms possible. This ability to be one and the other at the same time—which makes this whole model so difficult to understand—is based on one of the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, known as the principle of superposition of states.

Domínguez de Pinuaga explains that quantum computers will not replace conventional computers, but will work alongside them and focus on solving specific problems that cannot be solved by binary computing: for example, the calculation of genetic mutations, the prediction of animal prices. Measuring air flows in hypersonic aircraft or developing new materials.

One of the main reasons that quantum computers will not replace current computers is that they are too difficult and expensive to build. They are highly sensitive machines and require very specific conditions of pressure, temperature and insulation to function without errors (although there are experiments that avoid some of these requirements, such as photonic computers). Some of the quantum computers in the world are still in the experimental stage. They are fickle, make mistakes, and can only function for very short periods of time. They require multi-million dollar investments and are under the control of governments and large corporations such as Google, IBM or Microsoft. However, some of these machines are open to outdoor use; In this way, through the cloud, any organization can access quantum computing.

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