This Toronto start-up aims to use quantum linguistics to automate computer programming

What if software developers didn't need to get bogged with down coding to build their programs? That's the goal at Sumerian, a Toronto, Ontario-based start-up that's looking to use quantum linguistics to automate the task of writing the binary codes that support computer programs.

"By extracting the meaning from English and natural language, we can translate human instruction into code based on what program you want written," says Richard East, one of the founders of Sumerian, which launched in November 2017 as part of the seed start-up program at the Creative Destruction Lab at University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

East, who hails from the United Kingdom, where he started an IT company, got the idea for quantum linguistics in computer programming while he was at Oxford University. He decided to move to Toronto after being introduced to Nicolas Bent, an Ontario resident who was then at Oxford pursuing a Master's degree in computational neuroscience.

The two decided they wanted to start a quantum company, and Ontario seemed like an ideal location for such a venture.

Two men standing in front of a University of Toronto ONRamp Entrepreneurship banner
Richard East (left) and Nicolas Bent (right) at the University of Toronto.

"It's a huge hub for start-ups and there are tons of machine learning talent coming out of University of Toronto and University of Waterloo," says Bent. "There's a reason that Google and Facebook come here to recruit people."

Sumerian's technology, which East and Bent expect to hit the market in about two years, will be targeted towards engineering companies, which typically spend a large portion of their operating budgets on programmers and coders.

"We're in a great location in terms of reaching our target market," says East. "There are a lot of engineering firms with strong attachments to Ontario and to Canada, and we're very close to the United States, where many of these firms are located."

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June 14, 2018

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