Air Force Office of Scientific Research
In recent years there has been a dramatic increase worldwide in scientific research as well as financial investment to develop a quantum computer, a device that theoretically could solve specific problems much faster than on any classical computing system, where such efforts are impractical.
Despite a few well-known quantum algorithms, such as Shor’s factoring algorithm and Grover’s search algorithm, there is a limited set of known specific problems for which a quantum computer is advantageous. A few quantum computational operations have been experimentally performed on a small number of quantum bits, units of quantum information analogous to the classical logical bits 0 and 1. There are still several fundamental scientific challenges to overcome in scaling up these small quantum systems to large-scale quantum computers that could not only demonstrate a quantum speed-up for known problems but also help discover new quantum algorithms.
The first speaker, Sara Gamble (Army Research Office), introduced the concept of quantum computing and reviewed some possible applications. As a program manager, she used her broad perspective to provide an overview of the different approaches to achieving such a computational device. Next, Shelby Kimmel (Middlebury College) discussed quantum algorithms and the power of quantum systems to process information. Sarah Sheldon (IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center) then delved into logical quantum computing, a method of quantum computation based on logic gates similar to classical digital circuits. With her experience in developing the IBM Quantum Experience, Dr. Sheldon also explored cloud-based quantum computing. Finally, Norman Yao (University of California, Berkeley) explained simulation of quantum phenomena that are too difficult to study otherwise.
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