In 1981, Richard Feynman proposed a device called a “quantum computer” that would take advantage of methods founded on the laws of quantum physics and promise computational speed-ups over classical methods. In the last three decades, quantum algorithms have been developed that offer fast solutions to problems in a variety of fields including number theory, optimization, database search, chemistry, and physics. For quantum devices, this past year marks a significant breakthrough. Recent experiments point to the observation of an elusive particle at the heart of several scalable device proposals, called the Majorana fermion. Advancements in understanding the role of quantum speed-ups in the commercial D-Wave One quantum processor, which has been the subject of intense debate, have also been made.
This session of the 2013 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit showcases quantum algorithms with real-world applications and highlights breakthroughs in quantum devices, including Majorana-based devices and the D-Wave quantum processor.