Suzanne Gildert on Quantum Computing

Suzanne Gildert gave a talk in Teleplace on “Building large-scale quantum computers: Fundamentals, technology and applications” on September 4, 2010.

See also Suzanne’s own post on “Online seminar on Quantum Computing“, where she has renamed the talk “Quantum Computing: Separating Hope from Hype“, abstract: “The talk will explain why quantum computers are useful, and also dispel some of the myths about what they can and cannot do. It will address some of the practical ways in which we can build quantum computers and give realistic timescales for how far away commercially useful systems might be.

This has been a great talk on a very interesting subject area by an excellent speaker who makes things clear and as simple as they can be made. Thanks Suzanne for the great talk and thanks to the (about 30) participants who contributed to the discussion with very interesting questions and comments. For those who could not attend we have recorded everything (talk, Q/A and discussion) on video.

There are 4 different videos:

  • VIDEO 1: 600×400 resolution, 1h 32 min
  • VIDEO 2: 600×400 resolution, 1h 33 min, taken from a fixed point of view
  • VIDEO A: 600×400 resolution, 2h 33 min, including the initial chat and introductions and the very interesting last hour of discussion, recorded by Jameson Dungan
  • VIDEO B: 600×400 resolution, 2h 18 min, including the very interesting last hour of discussion, recorded by Antoine Van de Ven

NOTES: Don’t mind the initial 2-3 minutes of audio noise caused by participants who had started playing recorded video files in Teleplace. We just uploaded all raw video files recorded with the video recording feature built in Teleplace, it takes much less work than video editing. To download the source .mp4 video files from, open the “Files and Links” box.

See also:
carboncopies – ASIM Experts Series: Quantum Computing: Separating ‘Hope’ from ‘Hype’, by Suzanne Gildert, September 4, 2010
Next Big Future – Quantum Computing: Separating Hope from Hype
Slashdot – Separating Hope From Hype In Quantum Computing

Building large-scale quantum computers: Fundamentals, technology and applications

Abstract: This seminar will explain the fundamental concepts of the Quantum Computer (QC) and how these systems might be able to perform certain tasks that classical computers find incredibly difficult. The different models of quantum computing will be introduced and the advantages and disadvantages of each described. A promising model known as Adiabatic Quantum Computing (AQC) will be discussed, an approach which can be applied to some very interesting problems in a wide variety of fields: Biology, microprocessor design, pharmaceuticals, economics, transport, chemistry and business. The talk will also examine some case studies of industrial applications in these fields where QC may be extremely useful.

There will be a review of some of the experimental challenges involved in building QCs, and a focus on a particularly promising version known as the ‘superconducting flux qubit processor’. The devices involved in this type of QC are fabricated using a process similar to semiconductor technology, but using Niobium and Aluminum rather than Silicon as the device materials. There will be a brief overview of the physics which causes these devices to demonstrate ‘macroscopic quantum coherence’- an effect which allows us to scale up quantum effects to a size where we can manipulate them easily, and why the devices must be cooled to millikelvin temperatures for them to work properly.

The power of quantum computing is often skewed by the media, with quantum computers being hailed as ‘futuristic’ replacements for desktop machines, whereas the reality is that they are very specialized machines, and therefore more like fast co-processors. The talk will therefore also describe the limitations of quantum computers, both in theory and in terms of what can be practically built.

About the speaker: Dr Suzanne Gildert is currently working as an Experimental Physicist at D-Wave Systems, Inc. She is involved in the design and testing of large scale superconducting processors for Quantum Computing Applications. Suzanne obtained her PhD and MSci degree from The University of Birmingham UK, focusing on the areas of experimental quantum device physics and superconductivity.