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CaixaBank R&D looks to apply quantum computing to Spanish financial activity

CaixaBank has conducted the first real tests using a quantum computer in order to study the applications of this technology within the scope of risk analysis. The projects have been developed using IBM's Framework Opensource Qiskit, an infrastructure that includes a simulator and a 16-qubit quantum computer. This framework provides the scientific community with tools to develop and execute quantum algorithms.

The objective of this phase was to validate the capacity of quantum computing to improve processes. The financial sector currently performs tasks that require enormous computational resources, which can be carried out faster by implementing quantum computing. This is what CaixaBank has been trying to test with the developed projects.

Specifically, the bank has started a project aimed at performing risk analysis simulations on financial assets. It has implemented a quantum algorithm that is able to assess the financial risk of two portfolios - a mortgage portfolio and treasury bills portfolio - specifically created for the project using real data.

This work usually requires an enormous amount of time and resources. However, when applying the quantum algorithm to the risk analysis, the bank says that it reaches the same conclusions as the traditional method, but in much less time. Whereas the traditional method requires an enormous amount of simulations (around thousands or millions, depending on the case), when implementing the quantum algorithm, only around dozens of simulations are required. In terms of time, it involves cutting down the complex work of several days to just a few minutes. 

First bank in Spain to work with quantum computing

By developing these projects, CaixaBank says that it has become the first bank in Spain, and one of the first in the world, to incorporate quantum computing into its R&D activity.

Although the bank says it may still have to wait for the first commercial applications of quantum computing to see the light, it is crucial to spend time assessing the potential use of quantum computing in the various financial business areas, as well as in generating the required capacities to undertake any future projects, before it becomes a reality.

CaixaBank currently has a team dedicated to innovation within this field whose members have varied profiles and work on the bank's different capacities in a multidisciplinary way. Having successfully completed this first test, the bank is working on exploring the use of this technology applied to optimisation algorithms, machine learning and secure encryption methods.

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