Place: 4274 Chamberlin (refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Marty Lichtman, UW Department of Physics
Abstract: The quantum computer is on the horizon. If a system is small enough and isolated enough, it behaves according to the weird laws of quantum mechanics. One of the beautiful behaviors of a quantum system is that it can exist in a "superposition" of multiple states, at the same time. In the last two decades, physicists, including the 2012 Nobel laureates, have learned to control these systems. If we think of the state of these systems as a piece of information, we can store a superposition of data. Then by manipulating the system, a calculation is performed.
The power of this quantum computation is that many calculations may effectively be performed at the same time. The potential speedup is immense. A functional quantum computer will certainly bring advances in cryptography, search, and physical simulation, and likely in all areas of science that have hard computational problems.
This talk will present the development of the quantum computer in the historical context of classical computing. We will discuss the basics of how a quantum computer can speed up certain calculations, and also look at one experimental attempt to build a quantum computer using trapped neutral atoms here at UW-Madison.