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Physics Colloquium: Quantum Computing and the Taming of Schrödinger’s Cat

February 18, 2020, 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Location Richardson Hall - 201
SponsorPhysics Club, Physics & AstronomyPosted InCollege of Science and Mathematics
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Quantum Computing and the Taming of Schrödinger’s Cat

Prof. Martin Lichtman, Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Bates College

Abstract:

Schrödinger didn’t much like quantum mechanics or pets.  He compared a quantum superposition to a cat both dead and alive.  In the last two decades, physicists have learned to control the quantum nature of small systems.  The precision of this work is so superb that we can input, store, process and output these superpositions at will.  The overlap of this language with computer science is no accident.  The state of these systems is a piece of information, and by manipulating the system a calculation is performed.  In this talk we will discuss the fundamentals of quantum computation, and the technical challenges that must be overcome.  We will compare projects in both neutral atom and trapped ion quantum computing, and discuss the benefits of borrowing techniques from both sub-fields.  In the process we tame Schrödinger’s cat, and to teach it some great tricks.