Joining the international race to create a quantum computer
No matter how efficient and sophisticated computers have become, they are still limited by the laws of physics on how data is stored and processed.
The problem with the current technology, which uses silicon transistors, is that we cannot shrink these transistors much further without making them completely inoperable. Smaller is the key to more powerful processing using “classical” physics, but at small enough scales, “quantum” physics dictates how objects behave. Today’s silicon transistors are at this tipping point. While some scientists seek alternatives to ever-smaller silicon transistors, Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nanoelectronics Stephanie Simmons focuses on harnessing quantum mechanics rather than avoiding it.
Quantum computing is the attempt to harness the laws of quantum mechanics to build incredibly powerful computers that can perform demanding computational tasks: tasks so demanding that they would otherwise take the age of the universe to perform.
Simmons aims to build on research that shows that the very atomic defects that are preventing smaller transistors also lead to the best candidate quantum bits, or “qubits,” for quantum computing. Simmons aims to link these excellent atomic qubits with photon qubits—a hybrid solution that paves the way for silicon to once again revolutionize the information age.