Quantum information science and the quest for a quantum computer
Presented by Dr. Michael Metcalfe, Laboratory of Physical Sciences
December 14, 2017875 N. Randolph Street, Arlington, VA Room 40031:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Abstract: The field of “Quantum Information Science” (QIS) encompasses efforts to exploit the laws of quantum mechanics for enhancing applications such as sensing, secure communication, simulation and eventually computing. In particular, an ultimate goal of QIS is the development of a universal quantum computer (QC), a device which can theoretically approximate any unitary operation on its constituent qubits. Such a computer could be exploited to solve specific problems exponentially faster than a traditional computing system. The set of such problems known to-date is however quite limited. A primary example includes Shor’s factoring algorithm, discovered in 1994, which is credited with fueling recent interest in quantum computing research. Other applications have been discussed in-detail in the literature such as quantum chemistry, but it remains unclear when such applications will become useful. Despite of this, QC is viewed as a promising future replacement of and/or addition to traditional computing systems, which are quickly approaching a scaling limit. Consequently, in recent years many high profile companies have begun building up their QC expertize and additionally many start-up companies have succeeded in obtaining significant investments. The core technologies, however, are still in a very nascent stage of development, and it remains unclear which approach will prove most effective in the long term: photons, superconducting circuits, semiconducting quantum dots, trapped ion arrays, neutral atoms, defects in diamond etc. This presentation aims to overview the field of quantum information science and will delve into the state-of-the-art of quantum computing technologies.
Bio: Dr. Michael Metcalfe is a program manager at the Laboratory of Physical Sciences (LPS) in the Washington D.C. area. Dr. Metcalfe’s career has mainly focused on solid-state implementations of quantum devices such as superconducting qubits, quantum dots and mechanical oscillators and their application in computing, sensing and foundational studies. He currently manages quantum computing-related research programs at universities, government laboratories and companies. His main focus is on the superconducting approach to quantum computing, quantum measurements and on hybrid quantum systems for applications such as quantum-state-transfer.
Dr. Metcalfe’s first experience with quantum computing began in graduate school at Yale University, where he worked on novel qubit measurement schemes reliant on multi-stable superconducting circuits. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2008, Dr. Metcalfe spent 3 years at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a postdoctoral researcher. At NIST he investigated new approaches to quantum sensing using optically addressed self-assembled quantum dots as microscopic strain sensors. Dr. Metcalfe also studied opto-mechanical systems, a field whose primary goal is to explore the quantum properties of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) devices.