Jan 26, 2016: Harry Buhrman (CWI): Quantum Computers and Quantum Software

January 26, 2016Quantum Computers and Quantum Software
Room: Ravelijn 2503Harry Buhrman (CWI)
12:30-13:30

Quantum computers hold great promise as the next generation hardware. They are based on counter-intuitive phenomena from quantum mechanics, like superposition, interference, and entanglement. The basic building block of a quantum computer is a quantum bit or qubit, which unlike a classical bit can be in a quantum superposition (a simultaneous combination) of both 0 and 1. In the 1990s it was demonstrated that, for specific problems, quantum algorithms run on a quantum computer can massively outperform classical computers. The famous quantum algorithm of Peter Shor shows that a quantum computer can factor large numbers and thus breaks most of modern-day cryptography.

Recent years have witnessed important breakthroughs in the development of the quantum computer. In 2014, the UC Santa Barbara group led by Martinis (now part of Google's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab) achieved a high-performance 9-qubit platform. Other labs around the world have reported similar progress. With this growth rate we will have 50 qubits in five years and small scale quantum computers are expected in 10-15 years. What can we do on a quantum computer and how can it be useful? In this talk I will give a short introduction to quantum computing and will highlight the many interesting and challenging computer science questions that lay ahead of us. No prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is necessary.

Quantum computers hold great promise as the next generation hardware. They are based on counter-intuitive phenomena from quantum mechanics, like superposition, interference, and entanglement. The basic building block of a quantum computer is a quantum bit or qubit, which unlike a classical bit can be in a quantum superposition (a simultaneous combination) of both 0 and 1. In the 1990s it was demonstrated that, for specific problems, quantum algorithms run on a quantum computer can massively outperform classical computers. The famous quantum algorithm of Peter Shor shows that a quantum computer can factor large numbers and thus breaks most of modern-day cryptography.

Recent years have witnessed important breakthroughs in the development of the quantum computer. In 2014, the UC Santa Barbara group led by Martinis (now part of Google's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab) achieved a high-performance 9-qubit platform. Other labs around the world have reported similar progress. With this growth rate we will have 50 qubits in five years and small scale quantum computers are expected in 10-15 years. What can we do on a quantum computer and how can it be useful? In this talk I will give a short introduction to quantum computing and will highlight the many interesting and challenging computer science questions that lay ahead of us. No prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is necessary.