Towards Scalable Quantum Computation


July 24, 2014


Three decades have passed since Richard Feynman first proposed devising a “quantum computer” founded on the laws of quantum physics to achieve computational speed-ups over classical methods. In that time, quantum algorithms have been developed that offer fast solutions to problems in a variety of fields including number theory, chemistry, and materials science. To execute such algorithms on a quantum device will require extensive quantum and classical “software”. One of the grand challenges for the computer science community is the design and implementation of a software architecture to control and program quantum hardware. This session will address how to build a scalable, reliable quantum computer: What are the quantum and classical resource requirements? How do we protect the device against errors? How do we program the quantum computer? It will highlight recent advances in quantum device architectures, error correction, and software design tools, and pose crucial open questions in quantum computer science.


Robert Schoelkopf, David Reilly, and Dave Wecker

Robert Schoelkopf is the Sterling Professor of Applied Physics and Physics at Yale University. His research focuses on the development of superconducting devices for quantum information processing, which might eventually lead to revolutionary advances in computing.

His group is a leader in the development of solid-state quantum bits (qubits) for quantum computing, and the advancement of their performance to practical levels. Together with his collaborators at Yale, his group created the new field of “circuit quantum electrodynamics,” where quantum information is distributed by microwave signals on wires. His lab has produced many firsts in the field, including the development of a “quantum bus” for information, and the first demonstrations of quantum algorithms and quantum error correction with integrated circuits.

A graduate of Princeton University, Schoelkopf earned his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology in 1995. From 1986 to 1988 he was an electrical/cryogenic engineer in the Laboratory for High-Energy Astrophysics at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Professor David Reilly is an experimental physicist working at the interface of quantum science, nanoscale condensed matter systems, and cryogenic electronics and hardware. Professor Reilly completed his Ph.D. at University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 2002 on correlated electron phenomena in low-dimensional nanoelectronic devices. From 2005 to 2008, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, working on spin qubits. He returned to Australia in 2008 to lead a new research group, the Quantum Nanoscience Laboratory, in the School of Physics at Sydney. He is a member of the Quantum Science Group in the School and a CI in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems. Reilly is currently the Academic Director of Strategy for the Australian Institute of Nanoscience.

Dave Wecker came to Microsoft in 1995 and helped create the “Blender” (digital video post-production facility). He designed and started implementing a Broadband MSN offering when he was asked to join the new CE group where he was architect for the Handheld PC v1 & v2 as well as AutoPC v1 and Pocket PC v1 (he was also development manager). He moved to Intelligent Interface Technology and resurrected SHRDLU for Natural Language research as well as building a state of the art Neural Network based Speech Recognition system. He was then asked to come back to CE to manage Synch and Wireless efforts. He worked on next gen technologies for the Mobile Devices Division before moving to e-books where he implemented secure DRM on Pocket PCs (the “black-box”). He created and was director of ePeriodicals before taking on the role of Architect for Emerging Technologies. In this role he had many responsibilities including getting the GM/MSFT relationship off the ground. He worked for the Mobile Platforms Division as an architect and then transferred to Machine Learning Incubation. As architect of the Parallel Computing Technology Strategy team he solved several big data problems and now is focusing on quantum computing. . He has over 20 patents for Microsoft and 9 Ship-It awards. He started coding professionally in 1973, worked in the AI labs at CMU while obtaining a BSEE and MSIA and was at DEC for 13 years.