GQI Elections

This year the Topical Group on Quantum Information (GQI) is holding elections for the following executive committee positions of Vice Chair and Member at Large.

Vice Chair Candidates: Jay Gambetta and Susan Coppersmith

Member at Large Candidates: Stephanie Wehner and Ryan Babbush

Listed below is a  statement from each candidate.

Jay Gambetta (Candidate for Vice Chair)

Quantum information science is the area of science that blurs standard boundaries and pushes us to understand nature at its most fundamental level. It brings together scientists from virtually all scientific disciplines to collectively try and understand the depths of fundamental physics and information theory for explaining aspects of the natural world around us. We research fundamental questions related to how physics and information theory are intertwined, to how nature computes, and to the foundations of the world around us. One would be hard-pressed to find any other division in the APS that covers such a broad and rich area, and I am very excited to run for Vice Chair of the executive committee of the Topical Group of Quantum Information (GQI).

Quantum, as ubiquitous in popular science as the word has become, is a pre-eminent pillar of physics and the beauty of quantum information science is its diverse and powerful nature. On one day a researcher could be working on foundations of physics and on the following day be considering applications of a new model of computation. The breadth of our research field is one of the many reasons why we are on the path to becoming a division of the APS. The evolution and growth of our field of quantum information has accelerated in recent years, as is clearly evident when I look back at my own personal journey starting from foundational research on open quantum systems to working closely with experimentalists on demonstrating concepts of quantum information processing.

It is a very exciting time for our community as we have recently met the requirements for becoming a division of the APS and last year, thanks to the generous support of IBM, we have our own award – Rolf Landauer and Charles H. Bennett Award in Quantum Computing– which recognizes the great work of our community. My goals for the GQI are 1) to continue the excellent work of the executive committee before me and to make sure we remain a division through increasing membership, 2) to encourage and develop more recognition for the younger researchers in quantum information – we need more awards and diversity for them, and 3) to increase the visibility of quantum information science in the public sphere. This is an area that is very important to me personally as in recent years I have been deeply involved in creating the IBM Quantum Experience, which is a substantial collaborative effort with colleagues that provides free public access to a fully-functioning small quantum computer. We have over 30K users learning about quantum information science as well as a large number of researchers using the Experience as a world class research tool to help produce research papers and further our understanding of nature.

In the past, I have served the GQI by chairing for the last two years the APS Fellowship committee where we have been very successful and had 11 top researchers accepted as GQI-sponsored APS fellows. As a topical group, we don’t have a final say in the selection of our Fellows since they are voted on by the governing division. To have such a large number be accepted for APS fellowship points to the top-class research being performed and the subsequent recognition of our researchers by the broader physics community.

Susan Coppersmith (Candidate for Vice Chair)

It is a tremendously exciting time for the field of quantum information. The APS Topical Group on Quantum Information (GQI) is important for the field not only for its role in facilitating communication between quantum information researchers, but also because of its role in communicating the great intellectual challenges and achievements of the field to other physicists as well as the general public.

I am honored to be a candidate to serve GQI as Vice-Chair. If elected, I will strive to make the organization as fair and efficient as possible, I will work to increase the diversity of the membership to maintain a membership sufficient for Division status, and I will also work hard to enhance the appreciation of quantum information in the broader community of physicists and in society at large.

Dr. Susan Coppersmith is a theoretical physicist who has been working in the field of quantum information science since 2001. She is currently a Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her Ph.D. in physics is from Cornell University, and she has been a postdoc at Brookhaven National Laboratory and at AT&T Bell Laboratories, a visiting lecturer at Princeton University, a member of technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and a professor at the University of Chicago. She has been working to develop qubits using quantum dots in silicon/silicon-germanium heterostructures, and has also investigated the properties of algorithms involving single- and multi-particle quantum random walks.

Dr. Coppersmith has served as Chair of the UW-Madison physics department, as a member of the NORDITA advisory board, as a member of the Mathematical and Physical Science Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and as a Trustee at the Aspen Center for Physics. She has served as Chair of the Division of Condensed Matter Physics and of the Group for Statistical and Nonlinear Physics of the American Physical Society, as Chair of the Division on Physics of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences, and as Chair of the External Advisory Board of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences.

Stephanie Wehner (Candidate for Member at Large)

I have never been as excited about quantum information as in the past three years. On the one hand, quantum information is proving its worth to understand fundamental aspects of nature; the term “it from bit” capturing the idea, or maybe rather the dream, that all of nature could be deciphered using the perspective of information processing.

On the other hand, we are at last edging close to seeing quantum computing technologies being realized by most impressive experimental efforts. Recent years have seen a paradigm shift in the field, marked by the commitment of several large companies such as Intel, Microsoft, and Google as well as international efforts such as the EU Flagship on quantum technologies.

I believe quantum information has always drawn great strength from interdisciplinary collaboration. It is now time to fulfill the promise of quantum computing and communication technologies – if possible. However, without joint efforts from both theoretical and experimental physics, computer science, and mathematics we cannot succeed. The recent paradigm shift also sees a necessary expansion into the domain of engineering, and I believe we will see a new field of applied quantum computer science emerge which in analogy to most of classical computer science employs a heuristic approach to realize and utilize quantum technologies.

GQI now has the potential to bring the old and new communities in quantum information together. I will contribute to GQI stepping up to a Division in order to realize this goal. Recent developments also highlight new career opportunities for junior researchers to enter or indeed found quantum industry. I would like GQI to help facilitate such opportunities and navigate challenges.

I am honored to be a candidate for the GQI member-at-large. Due to my own interdisciplinary background, my collaborations across disciplines with both theory and experiment, as well as my international experience in the US, Asia and Europe I believe I am well positioned to represent the diverse GQI community. I enjoyed making a difference by founding QCRYPT and advancing QuTech Academy, and I would now be excited to serve in the APS to take GQI forward.

Stephanie Wehner is an Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor at QuTech, Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. She received her PhD degree in computer science from the University of Amsterdam in 2008, followed by two years as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology. From 2010-2014 she was an Assistant Professor and later Dean’s Chair Associate Professor at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore. Prior to her academic career, Stephanie has worked for a few years in the network security industry as a professional hacker.

Stephanie’s passion is the theory of quantum information in all its facets, and she has published more than 60 articles on a wide range of topics in physics and computer science, ranging from more applied subjects such as (quantum) information theory and quantum cryptography to fundamental questions in quantum foundations and quantum thermodynamics. Some of her contributions to scientific progress have been selected for Science’s “Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2015”, and Nature’s “Science Events that shaped 2015”, and received the Paul Ehrenfest Award for Quantum Foundations. Stephanie was awarded personal grants including the ERC Starting Grant.

Stephanie is one of the founders of QCRYPT, which has grown to be the largest international conference in quantum cryptography. She has served on the steering committees of several conferences, QCRYPT 2011-2016, QIP 2014-2016, and QCMC 2015-2017, as well as on the editorial board of the New Journal of Physics. She has organized several international conferences such as QCRYPT, QIP and workshops such as the IMS workshop on Quantum Thermodynamics. At QuTech, she is part of the management team, as well as responsible for QuTech Academy, an interdisciplinary education program in quantum technologies for students in engineering, physics, computer science and mathematics. She enjoys spreading the word about quantum information, for example by teaching online in edX QuCryptoX, and contributing to outreach by speaking at events such as TEDx and New Scientist Live.

Ryan Babbush (Candidate for Member at Large)

Five years ago, a wise postdoc sat me down for a serious conversation; they urged me to abandon quantum information while I still could because there were no jobs and the field seemed doomed. Fortunately, we both ignored that advice and today, laugh about that discussion. The size and number of industrial quantum groups is growing, funding for academic researchers and government programs is increasing, as is the size and quality of quantum hardware. Now is an extremely exciting time for the field.

However, now is also an uncertain time for the future of science in the United States. Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the APS, told Nature that “Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had. The consequences are going to be very, very severe”. Whether one agrees with this sentiment or not, with both executive and legislative branches under Republican control, the incoming administration will have tremendous power to reshape science policy in America. How policy changes will affect quantum research is unclear and quite possibly, still undecided by lawmakers. In my view, how the APS will represent our interests to these lawmakers in 2017 is the most important issue in the current APS election.

If I am elected Member-at-Large of GQI, I will use my position on the GQI committee to advocate for increased lobbying on behalf of our group’s interests. As a representative of the APS and an American citizen, I will participate in all APS lobbying efforts and personally travel to DC to meet with congressional staffers about the importance of supporting quantum research. I will wear a tie and tell anyone willing to listen that academic and government research in quantum information is essential for the development of future technology and also creates industry jobs (such as mine). I will tell them that America’s competitive advantage in this field demands the availability of visas for the best physicists to work here, regardless of their nationality. But most importantly, I will tell them about the promise of quantum information and remind them that leadership in science is part of what makes America great.

Ryan Babbush is a Research Scientist in the Quantum AI Lab at Google where he works closely with experimentalists to design quantum algorithms for prototype quantum hardware. He has broad interests in quantum algorithms, quantum complexity, machine learning, superconducting qubits, chemical physics and electronic structure theory.

Ryan entered undergraduate studies intending to become a chemist. However, after two years of research in experimental chemistry and two trips to the hospital for toxic exposure in the laboratory, Ryan decided it was safer to be a theorist. As he quickly learned, most chemistry is just physics that’s too hard for physicists… unless the physicist has a quantum computer, in which case most chemistry is just a problem in the quantum complexity class BQP. This realization convinced Ryan to enter the field of quantum information. He graduated from Carleton College with a double major in Physics and Chemistry (2011) and headed to Harvard University where he joined the Aspuru-Guzik group, known for working at the intersection of quantum information and quantum chemistry. Ryan received both his masters in Physics (2013) and his PhD in Chemical Physics (2015) from Harvard University.

At Harvard and Google Ryan worked on developing efficient analog and digital protocols for quantum computing problems in chemistry and machine learning. He has collaborated with experimental groups using ion traps, NV centers, and several types of superconducting qubits to realize these algorithms. During his PhD he did internships with quantum groups at both Google and Microsoft. Upon disserting in 2015, he joined Google’s team as a permanent researcher.

Review of “Quantum Chance” by Nicolas Gisin

“Quantum Chance” (Springer, 2014) by Nicolas Gisin is a slim volume about entanglement, quantum nonlocality, and the Bell experiment.  (The book was originally published in French in 2012; this review is of the English translation.)  Gisin is well known both for his deep interest in the foundations of quantum mechanics and for his experimental expertise.  That expertise has made him a pioneer in the practical development of quantum cryptography; but, combined with his insight into quantum theory, it has also allowed him to devise ingenious tests of quantum mechanical predictions.  His long consideration of these questions informs every page of this book, where he presents his arguments in a clear and engaging style.

The book begins by postulating a peculiar telephone.  Alice and Bob–the heroes of many a paper on quantum information–each have a telephone, which is useless for communication:  it produces only random noise.  But they discover that the noise produced on the two sides is perfectly synchronized.  Being good scientists, they try to determine whether the correlations arise due to communication from one side to the other, or due to some common cause, such as a long random sequence stored identically in each telephone before they were distributed.

From this science fictional scenario we are led to the idea of a Bell experiment:  two widely separated experimenters, each equipped with a black box that has two settings and two possible outputs.  Gisin lays out the description of a Bell game (actually, the CHSH game), and derives the CHSH inequality that must be satisfied if the two black boxes cannot communicate, but are correlated due to a common cause.  He then describes how such a Bell test can be carried out in an actual quantum experiment, and how quantum mechanics predicts that the inequality is violated.  This, in the language commonly used in quantum theory, is quantum nonlocality.

From there he presents related concepts from the heart of quantum information:  the no-cloning theorem and entanglement. He describes how real world experiments have been designed to test Bell’s theorem, and how all tests to date have supported the predictions of quantum mechanics.  He discusses the two major loopholes in experimental Bell tests, the locality and detection loopholes.  (This book was written before the three loophole-free Bell experiments done in 2015.  Perhaps he will add them to a future edition, since Gisin himself is a major contributor to the study of such loopholes.)  He describes his 2008 experiment, which showed that any hidden superluminal communication between the two sides must be many times faster than the speed of light.

There are, of course, philosophical loopholes that are probably impossible to close, such as superdeterminism:  the idea that all of Alice and Bob’s choices, as well as the seemingly random outcomes are determined from the beginning of the universe.  Gisin briefly discusses a number of related topics, like the Free Will Theorem of Conway and Kochen, and outlines his more recent result (with collaborators Bancal et al.) that proves a remarkable extension of Bell’s theorem.  Using 3- and 4-body correlations, they show that if correlations arise from influences propagating at any finite velocity, they must eventually either disagree with the predictions of quantum mechanics or allow superluminal communication (or both).

In addition to its central focus on Bell experiments and nonlocality, the book also discusses some applications of entanglement.  There are two fairly brief chapters, one on random number generators and quantum cryptography and one on quantum teleportation, which hint at the large effort now being devoted to quantum-based technology.

The philosophical heart of the book, to which the author repeatedly returns, is this:  if quantum mechanics violates Bell inequalities, then the randomness of quantum measurements is not due to ignorance, like the seeming randomness of a tossed coin or of thrown dice.  Rather, it must be true randomness:  new information that spontaneously appears out of nowhere.  Gisin argues that because of its nonlocality, quantum mechanics is inconsistent with a deterministic, Newtonian world view.  This argument–like all arguments in quantum foundations–has been disputed, but I have never seen it presented with such cogency as in this book.

While “Quantum Chance” does not assume knowledge of quantum mechanics, and derives all its arguments from first principles, it will not be an easy read for most laypeople.  Several early chapters bristle with equations and tables, and the book draws on some math (like binary arithmetic and probability theory) that might be daunting to a mathematically unsophisticated reader.  However, it is easily readable by technical readers who are not specialists in quantum theory.  They will find it a concise and highly accessible introduction to Bell’s theorem, and to the ideas of entanglement and quantum nonlocality.  And specialists will find it interesting as well, as clearly presenting the ideas of one of our deep thinkers about quantum theory.

Q+ Hangout: David Perez-Garcia

Next Q+ Hangout is on the 12th of April!

As usual, if you are watching with a group and want to reserve a seat in the hangout then leave a comment on the event page:

https://plus.google.com/events/cbf9m2hsuf9kgvv3p61alo7h7lc

We also encourage individuals interested in active participation—which typically involves asking questions after the talk—to join the hangout. Otherwise you can watch on the livestream. Details follow.

Title: Size-driven quantum phase transitions

Speaker: David Perez-Garcia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Abstract: Most of the theoretical knowledge about quantum many body systems comes from performing numerical simulations. One tries to capture the relevant physical features of a system by extrapolating to the large system size the knowledge obtained in the analysis of an increasing sequence of finite-size systems, which must be small enough for the computer to be capable of giving an answer in a reasonable amount of time. In this work we show simple examples that totally defeat any such approach. More concretely, we construct translationally invariant quantum spin models on the 2D square lattice with reasonably small local dimension exhibiting the following surprising feature that we refer to as a “size-driven phase transition”‘: For all system sizes smaller than a threshold value L, the system has a unique ground state with product structure and a constant spectral gap to the first excited state, which also has product structure. However, for all system sizes larger than L, the system has topological quantum order, meaning a finite number of ground states which are locally indistinguishable, a finite spectral gap and first excited states with anyonic statistics. Moreover, we construct examples (all of them with local dimension smaller than 10) for which the threshold size L can occur at essentially any order of magnitude. From sizes that are reachable within current experimental setups and numerical simulations (L=15 or L=84) to sizes that are beyond any present or future capability, such as L> 10^35000.

2015 APS Fellows Nominated by GQI

Congratulations to the 2015 APS fellows nominated by GQI.
Cory, David [2015]
University of Waterloo
Citation: For pioneering one of the first demonstrations of a quantum computer using magnetic moments of nuclei as quantum bits and identifying new industrial applications in medicine, oil exploration and pharmaceuticals.
Englert, Berge [2015]
National University of Singapore
Citation: For distinctive theoretical contributions to the foundations, interpretation, and applications of quantum mechanics.
Nemoto, Kae [2015]
National Institute of Academic Degree
Citation: For pioneering the theory for quantum optical implementations of quantum information processing and communication.
Tahan, Charles [2015]
Lab for Physical Sciences
Citation: For important contributions to the field of quantum information science, including theoretical work advancing the experimental development of silicon quantum computers and proposing new quantum devices in the solid state.
Walther, Philip [2015]
No Company Provided
Citation: For outstanding achievements in experimental quantum information, quantum optics, and quantum photonics; including the first realization of privacy-preserving quantum cloud computing and the first experimental verification of a quantum computation.

Quantum Foundations Workshop 2015

In order to celebrate the 90th anniversary of quantum mechanics, the International Journal of Quantum Foundations (IJQF), will host an online Workshop on Quantum Foundations from 9th July 2015 to 19th July 2015. The workshop will bring together leading experts in the field, and address the most pressing problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics today.

Based on the successful experience from First iWorkshop on the Meaning of the Wave Function and John Bell Workshop 2014, this workshop will be more self-organized. Every participant may create a topic in the workshop forum on his own, which attaches his paper and gives a concise introduction to his ideas to be discussed, and which also states the date and time of his two-hour discussion. Then other participants can leave comments beforehand or participate in the discussions by text chat in the forum in the two-hour duration at the time.

For more information, visit the Workshop’s website.

Welcome to the “new” Quantum Times

After much delay, it is my pleasure to announce the newest incarnation of The Quantum Times. In its new format, readers can submit articles, conference announcements, and job postings (see “Submit A Post” tab above) that will then be reviewed, possibly edited, and finally posted. Any major edits will be cleared with the author prior to posting. The aim is to dramatically speed up the time it takes for an item to appear in The Times. The only drawback is that there will no longer be regular issues. Rather, it will be a “continuous” publication.

The key is for The Times to become a community site for quantum information and foundations, and to encourage active participation in the APS’ GQI, which is very close to attaining division status. As GQI is the world’s largest organization dedicated solely to quantum information, this represents the natural evolution of The Times which started out as the group’s newsletter in 2006.

We would like to thank Matt Leifer for his technical assistance with setting this site up. We would also like to thank the Executive Committee and Editorial Board for their support and patience during this transition.

Remember that this site relies on your submissions! We look forward to hearing from you!

Quantum Information Postdoc Positions at UNSW Australia

Postdoc positions available at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia

Silicon Quantum Computing

The research will investigate the controlled coupling of multi-qubit devices, and the coherent transport of quantum information. Experiments will involve the configuration and operation of high-frequency electronics compatible with cryogenic measurements.

More information at

http://www.jobs.unsw.edu.au/postdoctoral-research-associate-silicon-quantum-computation

Atomic Electronics

Applications are sought from technically talented candidates with an ambition to create atomic-scale devices in silicon or germanium via high resolution STM-lithography and advanced semiconductor clean-room processing.

More information at

http://www.jobs.unsw.edu.au/postdoctoral-research-associate-atomic-electronics

12th International Workshop on Quantum Physics and Logic (QPL)

CALL FOR PAPERS

The 12th International Workshop on Quantum Physics and Logic (QPL)

July 13-17, Oxford, United Kingdom

http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/qpl2015

The 12th International Workshop on Quantum Physics and Logic (QPL) will take place at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Oxford between Wednesday 15 and Friday 17 July, 2015. The workshop will be preceded by tutorials on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 July 2015.

This workshop brings together researchers working on mathematical foundations of quantum physics, quantum computing, spatio-temporal causal structures, and related areas such as computational linguistics. Of particular interest are topics that use logical tools, ordered algebraic and category-theoretic structures, formal languages, semantical methods and other computer science methods for the study of physical behaviour in general.

Previous QPL events were held in Kyoto (2014), Barcelona (2013), Brussels (2012), Nijmegen (2011), Oxford (2010), Oxford (2009), Reykjavik (2008), Oxford (2006), Chicago (2005), Turku (2004), and Ottawa (2003).

INVITED SPEAKERS

Paul Busch (University of York)
Dan Browne (University College London)
Chris Douglas (University of Oxford)

TUTORIALS

Paul Busch (University of York): Quantum uncertainty
Dan Browne (University College London): Teleportation and measurement-based computation
Oscar Dahlsten (University of Oxford): Entropy and majorisation in generalised probabilistic theories
Pawel Sobocinski (University of Southampton): Graphical linear algebra

IMPORTANT DATES

Submission Deadline: May 1, 2015
Notification of Acceptance: June 1
Papers Ready: June 15
Tutorials: July 13-14
Workshop: July 15-17

SUBMISSIONS

Prospective speakers are invited to submit a contribution to the workshop.

  • *Short contributions* consist of a 3 page description of the work, and a link to a paper published elsewhere.
  • Longer *original contributions* consist of a 5-12 page extended abstract which provides sufficient evidence of results of genuine interest and provides sufficient detail to allow the program committee to assess the merits of the work. Submissions of works in progress are encouraged but must be more substantial than a research proposal.

Extended versions of accepted original research contributions will be published in Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science (EPTCS) after the workshop.

Submissions should be prepared using LaTeX, and must be submitted in PDF format. Use of the EPTCS style is encouraged. Submission is done via EasyChair: https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=qpl2015

There will be an award for the best paper whose authors are all students, at the discretion of the programme committee.

REGISTRATION

Please visit the website to register. We encourage participation by graduate students, and will be able to provide limited reimbursement to partially support students for travel and accommodation. Further information is found on the workshop website.

PROGRAMME COMMITTEE

John Baez (University of California Riverside)
Dan Browne (University College London)
Giulio Chiribella (Tsinghua University)
Bob Coecke (University of Oxford)
Ross Duncan (University of Strathclyde)
Tobias Fritz (Perimeter Institute)
Simon Gay (University of Glasgow)
Ichiro Hasuo (University of Tokyo)
Chris Heunen (University of Oxford, co-chair)
Matty Hoban (University of Oxford)
Bart Jacobs (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Viv Kendon (Durham University)
Matt Leifer (Perimeter Institute)
Prakash Panangaden (McGill University)
Dusko Pavlovic (University of Hawaii)
Simon Perdrix (CNRS Nancy)
Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh (Queen Mary University of London)
Peter Selinger (Dalhousie University, co-chair)
Rob Spekkens (Perimeter Institute)
Bas Spitters (Aarhus University)
Isar Stubbe (Universite du Littoral-Cote-d’Opale)
Jamie Vicary (University of Oxford, co-chair)
Mingsheng Ying (University of Technology Sydney, Tsinghua University)

STEERING COMMITTEE

Bob Coecke (University of Oxford)
Prakash Panangaden (McGill University)
Peter Selinger (Dalhousie University)

LOCAL ORGANISATION

Destiny Chen
Chris Heunen
Jamie Vicary

Newsletter of the APS Topical Group on Quantum Information