Feb. 13, 2024

UCalgary alum works on securing our digital future using quantum technology

Jordan Smith says university’s innovation and mentorship ecosystem was pivotal to supporting startup QTi, a provider of quantum-based security solutions
Jordan Smith with his arms crossed leaning on a wall
Quantum physicist and entrepreneur Jordan Smith plans to build Calgary-based Quantized Technologies Inc. into a world leader in secure communication. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Jordan Smith began his University of Calgary journey hoping to end it as an MD. But, after taking some science courses, his plans for the future pivoted.

“After studying physics and especially quantum physics for a number of years, I became just passionate and in love with it,” says Smith. “Not only that, but I became aware of looming and emerging problems that will challenge the world at large, specifically the progress that has been made in quantum computing technologies.”

Smith, BComm'12, BSc'20, MSc'23, is now leading the charge for a safer digital future through his company, Quantized Technologies Inc. (QTi). While estimates say a state-of-the-art supercomputer could take more than 16 million years to break some of the current encryption methods used today, it would take a quantum computer mere hours, Smith says. This would pose a threat to cybersecurity and allow unauthorized access to the private information of individuals, corporations or even governments.

Quantum solutions to security threats

“Quantum computing makes it a lot more feasible for threat actors to break these encryption methods and compromise the security of digital networks, including the internet,” says Smith.

QTi hopes to protect the world against such threats. “Our technology is said to be quantum-proof in the sense that, even with an infinitely powerful computer it is not possible to computationally break our encryption methods. It can’t be done — the laws of quantum physics guarantee it,” says Smith.

Jordan Smith working with wires on a table

UCalgary has been instrumental in the creation of QTi, says the alum: “In many senses, QTi wouldn’t exist without the University of Calgary.”  

The company had its early beginnings in a UCalgary lab and Smith says his professors were a huge influence on him, adding he found much of his mentorship through the university’s Academic Entrepreneurs in Residence program. 

“It was absolutely pivotal in terms of being informed in important decision-making early on,” says Smith, adding that those early decisions were critical to QTi’s success. 

UCalgary has supported QTi in obtaining early funding, including the Alberta Innovation Catalyst Grant worth $250,000. “That support has been fundamental in our development,” says Smith.

QTi is also part of the Alumni Built Business Directory that serves to promote UCalgary Alum-owned businesses.

Finally, the UCalgary community network has also facilitated important partnerships and connections that will help further the company, such as a partnership with TELUS.

Understand how the universe works at the smallest scale 

Smith says the physics of it all is what makes him most excited about QTi. 

“I’m passionate and in love with studying and trying to understand how the universe works at the smallest scale, and to be able to use that understanding to solve important global problems and benefit society,” says Smith.

He is now looking forward to continuing to grow QTi as a company and hopes it can become a world leader in secure communications technology.

Smith says the company is ever expanding its team and encourages those with relevant skillsets or related tech experience to reach out. With QTi currently raising a round of seed funding, Smith also invites those interested in investing in deep tech to get in touch.

Quantum research: Transforming the future

Find out more about what’s happening with quantum research at UCalgary! Join us Feb. 21 for our inaugural event in the Creating Tomorrow series where we will explore the fascinating world of quantum research and discover how it will impact our daily lives. Learn more and register now.

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