Colloquia

Colloquium
Friday, November 2, 2001
4:00 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
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"Building a quantum computer atom by atom"


Chris Monroe , University of Michigan
[Host: Robert Jones]
ABSTRACT:
A quantum computer can store and process quantum superpositions of numbers. This parallelism leads to an exponential speedup over conventional computers for certain algorithms. However, the prospects for constructing a quantum computer are highly speculative, owing to the extremely fragile nature of quantum superpositions. A quantum computer is nothing more than a smaller (and more humane) version of Schroedinger's Cat, and if one is ever built, it will strongly impact both computer science and fundamental quantum mechanics. A leading physical candidate for a quantum computer is a collection of individual trapped atoms, controlled and manipulated with optical fields. Experiments are reported in this context, including the demonstration of simple quantum logic gates and the controlled generation of entangled quantum states. The outlook for future quantum computing with atoms or alternative technologies will be discussed.

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