Fighting Corruption in the Quantum World
Information processing devices are pervasive in our society; from five-dollar watches to multi-billion dollar satellite networks. These devices are key to the information revolution that we are experiencing, a revolution that is transforming not only the way we communicate and entertain ourselves, but also the way we conduct science and how we think. All this information is manipulated using the everyday rules of physics (classical laws). But what happens if we manipulate the information with more fundamental laws of physics such as quantum mechanics? It turns out that quantum mechanics allow new possibilities such as solving problems intractable using the classical laws.
A crucial element of classical information is its ability to resist corruption. Although quantum computers seem more powerful than their classical counterparts, they suffer from a much higher degree of fragility. One of the most difficult problems in quantum information processing is in protecting against errors introduced by noise and the destruction of quantum coherence.
Dr. Raymond Laflamme is a pioneer in overcoming these kinds of interference by developing error-correcting codes that protect quantum information. His research has been fundamental in convincing the scientific community that quantum computers are potentially possible. His work will combine both theoretical and experimental (using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) techniques to develop methods to ensure that quantum systems evolve in the way we desire. For this, it is essential to better understand noise sources in quantum devices and to find the best way to implement error control methods, cornerstones in making these theoretical devices a reality. These are Dr. Laflamme's goals as Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information.
As well as working in concert with collaborators across Canada and abroad, Dr. Laflamme anticipates significant collaboration with Dr. Michele Mosca, another leading theorist in quantum computing at the University of Waterloo.