CSPS Digital Academy Events/Moving Quantum Computing from Theory to Practice - Speaker Biographies

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Date and time: June 16, 2021 | 10:30 am to 4:15 pm (ET)

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Speaker Biographies

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Dr. Peter C. Mason

Director, The Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors Challenge Program, National Research Council
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Dr. Mason completed a bachelors degree in mathematics at Mount Allison University in 1990, gathering medals for the top graduate in both math and physics, and intramural athletics, before moving to Guyana to do volunteer work installing emergency backup electrical systems in remote communities. After doing a masters degree at McMaster University, he spent a year travelling and volunteering in Indonesia then returned to McMaster to complete his PhD in physics.

In 1998, he returned to Mount Allison as a professor in the physics department before joining the National Research Council for a post-doctoral fellowship, where he led experiments at Chalk River National Lab, the National Institute of Standards (NIST), Oak Ridge National Lab, and Cornell University’s High Energy Synchrotron Source.

In 2002, after a two year stint in the photonics industry, he joined Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) as a defence scientist in the secure mobile networking group. He was named Group Leader in 2006 and then transitioned to Head of the Cyber Operations and Signals Warfare section in 2014. He took the role of Chief Scientist of Electromagnetic sciences in 2017 and transitioned to the position of Chief Scientist of DRDC in late 2018 where he led the effort to write the DND Quantum S&T Strategy. In February of 2020, Peter moved to the National Research Council of Canada to become the director of the NRC’s new Internet of Things: Quantum Sensors Challenge Program. He is the author of more than 70 scientific papers and reports in topics spanning materials science, cyber security, machine learning, network traffic analysis, and algorithms.

Outside of work, Dr. Mason is an award-winning community cycling advocate. He has a 12 year old son Finn, whose teams he coaches in hockey, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking.

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Neil Bouwer

Vice-President, Innovation and Policy Services Branch, Canada School of Public Service
Neil Bouwer has also served as an Assistant Deputy Minister at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Privy Council Office of Canada; and in executive positions at the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, Human Resources and Social Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada. He has also worked at the Department of Finance and Western Economic Diversification Canada, and has Economics degrees from McGill University and St. Thomas University. Neil actively supports the Government of Canada policy and data communities, the Advanced Policy Analyst Program and the Free Agent HR Program.


Geneviève Tanguay

Vice President, Emerging Technologies, National Research Council
In April 2016, Dr. Geneviève Tanguay joined the National Research Council of Canada as the first woman Vice-President Research. She leads the Emerging Technologies Division which oversees Nanotechnology, Metrology, Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics, Security and Disruptive Technologies, and Advanced Electronics and Photonics. As part of her remit, Dr. Tanguay is also responsible for NRC’s support to TRIUMF. She chairs the NRC’s Governing Committee on the Recruitment and Retention of Women and is responsible for coordinating interactions with Canadian universities. Dr. Tanguay also serves as the Canadian Co-Chair of the Canada Germany Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee. Prior to joining NRC, she served as Vice-Rector Research, Creativity and Innovation at the University of Montreal, one of the four universities with the biggest volume of research in Canada. Prior to this, she served as the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Research, Innovation, Science and Society in the Quebec Government, responsible for preparing and implementing the Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy (2007-2010 and 2010- 2013). She is an active member of boards for national and international organizations.

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Christian Weedbrook

Founder and CEO, Xanadu Christian Weedbrook is the Founder and CEO of Xanadu, a photonic quantum computing company based in Toronto. Christian has over a decade of industry, government and research experience in quantum computing. He holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Queensland and was a postdoc at MIT and the University of Toronto.

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Alireza Yazdi

Founder and CEO at Anyon Systems Inc.
Alireza Yazdi is the founder and CEO of Anyon Systems. Alireza specializes in high performance computing and superconducting quantum information. Prior to founding Anyon Systems, Alireza was a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University and RWTH Aachen where he worked on massively parallel simulation and modeling of multi-physics and multiscale phenomena in aero-engine combustion. His research on quantum chemistry led him to quantum computing in 2012. He finally founded Anyon Systems in 2014 with the goal of developing and commercializing quantum computing platforms. In 2020, Anyon Systems secured its first order from the Government of Canada to deliver its Yukon generation quantum computer to Defence Research and Development Canada.

Alireza received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University where he is also an Adjunct-Professor.

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Vlad Gheorghiu

CEO, President and Co-Founder of softwareQ Inc
Dr. VLAD GHEORGHIU is the CEO, President and co-founder of softwareQ Inc., a quantum software and quantum information processing company in Waterloo, ON Canada. Vlad is also a senior researcher at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, ON Canada, working on quantum information and computation. He collaborates as well on quantum risk assessment with evolutionQ Inc., ON Canada.

Vlad is a member of CryptoWorks21 Quantum-Safe Cryptographic Infrastructure Program and a member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Quantum-Safe Cryptography Standardization Group.

Vlad holds a PhD in Theoretical Physics from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. His current research interests lie in quantum software and quantum architectures, quantum-resistant cryptography, quantum error correction, quantum cryptanalysis and resource estimation for realistic implementations of quantum algorithms, entanglement theory, as well as applications of machine learning techniques to the quantum domain.


Ghislain Lefebvre

Partnership development manager, Université de Sherbrooke
Ghislain Lefebvre began his career as a physics teacher in several CEGEPs that welcome grade 12 and U1 students in the province of Quebec. He then launched his own business by founding a brewery with his wife. He held the positions of brewer and president. Back in the Eastern Townships, he was director of the regional agri-food regional board and responsible for the deployment of the local food identification brand. Since January 2020, he is back in the world of physics and holds the position of Partnership Development Manager for the Institut quantique of the USherbrooke.

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Sarah Blanchette

Junior quantum computing developer, Université de Sherbrooke
Sarah Blanchette graduated in 2021 from the University of Montreal with a bachelor’s degree in physics. During her studies, she held a junior data

scientist role in the artificial intelligence department of a major airline. She is now a junior quantum software developer for the IBM Q Hub of the Institut quantique at the Université de Sherbrooke.

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Kenneth Wood

Global Business Development Director, IBM Quantum System Program
Kenneth Wood is the Global Business Development Director for the IBM Quantum System Program reporting into the IBM Intellectual Property organization. Mr. Wood provides management and direction to quantum business development resources located in North America, Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific. Under his leadership, the IBM quantum team has finalized technology access, joint development and license agreements with JP Morgan Chase, ExxonMobil, Samsung, Goldman Sachs, Amgen, BP, Mitsubishi Chemical, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Labs, and many others.

Mr. Wood received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University, and holds a Professional Engineering license.


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Maxime Dion

Quantum Computing Developer, Université de Sherbrooke
Maxime Dion completed his doctorate in experimental physics at the Université de Sherbrooke in 2017 on quantum materials, more specifically, on the superconductivity in thin films. Since then he has had a strong interest in theory, programming and pedagogy. In 2020, this prompted him to join the Institut quantique team as a quantum computing developer in order to participate in the IBM Q space project. Maxime’s current contributions to quantum efforts involve training and supporting various research projects using the particular characteristics of quantum computers. His research interests cover the simulation of quantum systems and the optimization of machine learning algorithms.

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Marco Armenta

Quantum computing software developer, Université de Sherbrooke
Marco Armenta did his bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics in Mexico. He then got a Ph.D in mathematics in a joint program between the University of Montpellier in France and CIMAT in Mexico. He moved to Sherbrooke in 2019 to do a postdoc at the departments of mathematics and computer science at Université de Sherbrooke and worked on the mathematics of artificial neural networks. He is now a quantum software developer at Institut quantique.