Today, we are thrilled to welcome the newest member to IonQ’s Board of Directors: Kathy Chou. Chou is Senior Vice President of SaaS Engineering at Nutanix and was previously the worldwide head of Sales Strategy and Operations for VMware. She brings decades of enterprise experience to the company – especially in the areas of hardware, software, and supply chain management – and as a member of the Board, will help support IonQ’s work to transition the company from a hardware provider to a full stack quantum company. We spent a few minutes with Kathy and heard more about her enthusiasm for IonQ's quantum innovation and what she’s looking to achieve as part of the Board. Here's what we learned:
Kathy’s hardware background began with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S. degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering, both at Stanford, that led her into a role at Hewlett Packard (HP) where she worked on pioneering research into the use of algorithms to straighten out addled supply chain problems.
HP was building customized computers for customers around the world and it usually took about two weeks for them to deliver. Some expensive parts were in danger of becoming obsolete before being used. Chou used a machine learning algorithm (before the phrase was in common use in tech) to figure out that 20% of the components in their inventory were ordered 80% of the time.
“We won the Franz Edelman Award for it,” Chou recalled. “We developed a machine learning algorithm where we studied everything in history that was ordered and we came up with a utilization curve that changed what components we kept in stock. We reduced cycle time for 80% of the orders from two weeks to two days, which was unheard of at the time.”
Chou’s experience runs parallel with the achievements and research IonQ has already taken on, as seen in our recent partnership with GE Research to model risk aggregations. She understands how to leverage new capabilities in computing for real advantage in business.
Chou is well versed on the software side of the business, including the cloud. IonQ is no longer just a hardware company – we build software throughout our quantum stack that needs to be useful and user-friendly for our customers immediately. Chou’s current position heading up SaaS Engineering at Nutanix (SaaS stands for ’software as a service’) has her at the forefront of building and strengthening a cloud-based software enterprise. This combination of experience will provide the Board with invaluable expertise to support IonQ’s future as we work to expand the availability of our quantum computers over all three major cloud services.
“We will need to have demonstrated to the market what our systems and software are capable of. With quantum computing, a lot of people think this is something reserved for rocket scientists. Quantum as a service (QaaS) democratizes this. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, but you do need to understand business and societal outcomes. Educating customers about those outcomes, establishing relationships with those customers is what is going to set up the right foundation for the house so we can build a structure that lasts.”
Chou was delighted when IonQ reached out to ask her about joining the Board.
“I thought, ‘wow!’ The opportunity for quantum computing to change the world is limitless. With the combination of my enterprise operational background in supply chain and go-to-market, I feel this is a golden opportunity to contribute to this potentially groundbreaking company and solve the world’s toughest problems.”
To find out more about what IonQ can do to help your organization solve its most complex problems, contact our sales department.