It is the only model of computation truly distinct from the classical computers we use today. A quantum computer doesn’t just run through classical recipes faster; it uses different recipes altogether. There is still uncertainty around quantum, but what is known is that quantum computing will tackle some important problems with unprecedented power.
It is this power and mystery that draws IQC faculty member David Gosset to the field.
Gosset began his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2006 with an undergraduate degree in physics and math under his belt. Computer science was boring to him until his supervisor Edward Farhi brought up a paper that demonstrated how a quantum scattering process could be a quantum algorithm. Once he saw the bigger questions that could be interrogated at the intersection of physics and computer science, Gosset was hooked.
Now at IQC as an associate professor in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization, Gosset focuses on theoretical quantum computing research.
"Most of what I do is based on mathematical interest," says Gosset. "But once we do the theoretical work of developing an algorithm, many possible applications may open up."
The ultimate aim of the field of quantum computing is the development of universal, fault-tolerant quantum computers that can run any algorithm designed for them. Until that dream becomes reality, researchers hope to find uses for early-stage quantum devices that have serious constraints on their coherence times, noise levels and hardware.
"Much of the field of quantum algorithms is now wondering, what can we do with these devices?" says Gosset. "Some of the impact of my work is guiding the exploration of what we can make them do."
With new recipes, there’s no telling what we could cook up with quantum.