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Nov. 30, 2020

Quantum Computers – Spooky but Powerful (The Martin Lecture in Physics)

ABSTRACT: Quantum computers exploit the bizarre features of quantum physics --  uncertainty, entanglement, and measurement -- to perform tasks that are impossible using conventional means, such as computing over ungodly amounts of data, and communicating via teleportation.  I will describe the architecture of a quantum computer based on individual atoms, suspended and isolated with electric fields, and individually addressed with laser beams.  This leading physical representation of a quantum computer has allowed unmatched demonstrations of small algorithms and emulations of hard quantum problems with more than 50 “quantum bits.”  While this system can solve some esoteric tasks that cannot be accomplished in conventional devices, it remains a great challenge to build a quantum computer big enough to be useful for society.  But the good news is that we don’t see any fundamental limits ahead.

BIOGRAPHY: Christopher Monroe is a leading atomic physicist, quantum information scientist, and quantum computer engineer.  He demonstrated the first quantum logic gate realized in any system and has since pioneered new ways to scale individual atoms as quantum bits and simplify their control with semiconductor chip atom traps, ultrafast lasers, and photonic interfaces for long-distance quantum networking.  He is Co-Founder, former CEO, and Chief Scientist at IonQ, Inc., a startup in College Park, MD that makes full-stack quantum computers.  He is also an architect of the US National Quantum Initiative and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. 

Event series  Departmental Events