Inside Quantum & HPC Minds:
Dr. Stefan Kister

As part of our “Inside Quantum & HPC Minds” series, we have interviewed Dr. Stefan Kister, HPC/QC Solution Architect at ParTec. Stefan discusses his pathway to Quantum Computing, his motivations for joining ParTec and his vision for ParTec’s quantum solution. He also offers valuable advice for customers assessing when and how to get started with QC. 

Dr. Stefan Kister
HPC/QC Solution Architect

What initially sparked your interest in Quantum Computing (QC)?

Having studied chemistry, I used classical quantum mechanical calculations as one part of my PhD thesis. I transitioned to IT in ’99, starting as a Systems Engineer and advancing to a Systems Architect in pre-sales at IBM. Quantum grabbed my attention again in 2016 when IBM unveiled the first 5-qubit cloud-accessible system. Joining IBM’s Quantum team part-time in 2020 and full-time in 2023, I am now responsible for both HPC and QC solutions at ParTec.

You were with IBM for a long time, what motivated you to join ParTec?

While IBM stands out as a quantum pioneer, my previous role resembled consulting, and the disparities between consulting and pre-sales—where I’d spent over 24 years—were significant. I sought a return to a pre-sales role, but it wasn’t an option at IBM last year. Former colleagues from IBM, now with ParTec, reached out to me. We had fruitful discussions, and I resonated with their vision of becoming a full-stack quantum integrator.

What is your vision for ParTec’s Quantum Solution?

ParTec brings deep expertise in HPC. We’ve seen HPC systems evolve from monolithic, proprietary systems to modular, open architecture and we believe the same approach applies to QC. Our solution? A modular, component-based quantum computer controlled and integrated by ParTec software, adaptable to various environments. While we favor European vendors to support European technology sovereignty, we maintain global partnerships.

What excites you most about the future of QC?

Indeed, it’s crucial to note that quantum computing is still in its research phase. Currently, quantum computers don’t offer unique value compared to classical ones. However, being part of this journey toward a transformative technology is exhilarating. In the short term, quantum advantages may only be evident in specific niche areas. Personally, I find the potential in simpler materials problems particularly promising, which is thrilling for a chemist.

What advice would you give customers when and how to get started with QC?

First: Act now! Talent is scarce, learning curves are steep. Begin today to gain quantum autonomy and stay ahead. Second: Begin with an open approach to maintain flexibility in adapting to different quantum processing unit (QPU) technologies. It’s uncertain which technology will prove best, especially for your specific niche. Third: European companies should also consider European tech providers. Supporting a European quantum computing tech industry is essential for its development!

For further editions of our “Inside Quantum & HPC Minds” series, please visit our dedicated page.