Norman Hascoe Distinguished Lecture Series
Director, Institute for Quantum Computing
University of Waterloo, Canada
Advances in computing are revolutionizing our world. Present day computers advance at a rapid pace toward the barrier defined by the laws of quantum physics. The quantum computation program short-circuits that constraint by exploiting the quantum laws to advantage rather than regarding them as obstacles. A quantum computer accepts any superposition of its inputs as an input, and processes the components simultaneously, performing a sophisticated interference experiment of classical inputs. This "quantum parallel" allows one to explore exponentially many trial solutions with relatively modest means, and to select the correct one. This has a particularly dramatic effect on factoring of large integers, which is at the core of the present day encryption strategies (public key) used in diplomatic communication, and (increasingly) in business. As demonstrated some years ago, quantum computers could yield the most commonly used encryption protocol obsolete. Since then, it was also realized that quantum computation can lead to breakthroughs elsewhere, including simulations of quantum systems, implementation of novel encryption strategies (quantum cryptography), as well as more mundane applications such as sorting. I will describe how a quantum computer works and will give a demonstration using NMR technology.
Monday, December 4, 2006
Gant Science Complex
(Refreshments will follow, with a panel discussion at 5:30 PM.)