Harnessing Quantum Physics

If you are curious about the potential of quantum computing, you will want to keep your eye on "Harnessing Quantum Physics". This is one of many panel discussions coming your way as part of the Quantum to Cosmos Festival, running on-site, online and on TV from October 15-25, 2009.

Compared with our everyday experience, the quantum world – the world of the very small, of atoms and elementary particles – is incredibly bizarre. For example, it is possible for a single particle to behave as if it were in more than one place at the same time. Also, our notion of what is separate and what is not breaks down in the quantum world: particles could be kilometers apart and still, in some respects, act like a single entity.

As strange as it may be, there is little question that this is how the quantum world works, as hundreds of experiments and many highly successful technological applications have shown: for example, the transistor (the basis of most of our current computing technology), the laser (the basis of today's fiber optic communication networks and many other technologies), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) devices crucial to modern medicine, SQUIDs (Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices) used to search for new oil deposits or scan magnetic activity in the brain, and many more.

Currently, physicists are working on yet another quantum application. Their goal is to harness quantum weirdness to develop new technologies that will take us from the information age into the quantum information age. This panel of experts will explain the strange features of the quantum world that are the basis for new technologies such as quantum cryptography and quantum computing, and will explore the insights in quantum physics that are making this possible.

The lively Q2C panel will be moderated by PI and UW's Michele Mosca and includes an international roster of quantum computing experts.

Moderator: Michele Mosca
Physicist, Perimeter Institute and Deputy Director, Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo
Dr. Mosca is co-founder and Deputy Director of IQC and an Associate Faculty member at Perimeter Institute. His principal research concerns the design of quantum algorithms, and he is known for his early work on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).

Panellist: Ignacio Cirac
Physicist, Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics
Dr. Cirac is Director of the Theory Division of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics. He is a leading quantum information theorist whose research aims to characterize quantum phenomena and to develop a new theory of quantum information - work which may ultimately contribute to the development of quantum computers.

Panellist: Daniel Gottesman
Physicist, Perimeter Institute
Dr. Gottesman has spent over 10 years working in the field of quantum information and is widely regarded as a world expert on techniques for preventing errors in quantum computing. A former student of John Preskill, he has worked at Los Alamos, Microsoft Research, and UC Berkeley.

Panellist: Avi Wigderson
Computer Scientist, Institute for Advanced Study
Dr. Wigderson is a Professor at the School of Mathematics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His research interests include randomness and computation, quantum computation and communication, and cryptography. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Nevanlinna Prize.

This is only one of over 50 thought-provoking events coming your way in October. The full program of events, showing speakers, topics, dates and ticketing details will be released later this month. To avoid missing out on this and other announcements go to www.q2cfestival.com to join our online community and sign up for regular email updates.

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