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January 2015

A blog written by quantum researchers for quantum researchers and those interested in their work.

Anyone can understand quantum mechanics - Part 2

Head and tails sides of a Canadian one dollar coin

In Part 1 of this series I made the bold claim that, unlike what famous figures in science seemed to suggest, quantum mechanics is a beautiful and simple theory that is accessible to anyone who is enthusiastic about learning it. In Part 2, I am going to put my money where my mouth is and teach you the basics of quantum mechanics in four short lessons. Sound good?

Before we begin, there are two important points I need to clarify.

LIGHT Illuminated

LIGHT Illuminated graphic including list of sponsors

When I was a kid, I remember watching “Entrapment”, the 1999 movie where Catherine Zeta-Jones crawls through an intricate laser maze to steal a priceless art piece. Assisted by none other than Sean Connery, who plays a notorious thief specialized in international art, she defies the laser security system and returns with the prize. But for me, it was even better.

Anyone can understand quantum mechanics - Part 1

You know what I always say: anyone can understand quantum mechanics!

Pixar’s delightful movie Ratatouille – an animated film inspired by the world of French haute cuisine – features two characters with opposing views on cooking. On one hand we have Gusteau, a jolly and chubby chef with an optimistic message that he constantly repeats in his books and TV shows:

Live-tweeting QCrypt 2015

T-shirt: Dance like no one's watching. Encrypt like everyone is.

今日は Konnichiwa!

The 5th International conference on quantum cryptography (QCrypt) was held this year in beautiful Tokyo, Japan. QCrypt is the largest conference to focus entirely on quantum cryptography and it routinely gathers all the best researchers in the field from around the world.

How to enhance separability and entanglement of quantum states

A quantum state \(\rho\) that is shared between two parties is called separable if it can be written as a convex combination of local quantum states \(\{\sigma_i\}\) and \(\{\tau_i\}\):

\[\rho = \sum_i p_i \sigma_i \otimes \tau_i.\]

States that are not separable are called entangled, and the distinction between these two types of states is important because there are many senses in which entangled states are exactly the "useful" ones in quantum information theory.

An undergraduate's experience at IQC

Hi! I am a fourth year Engineering Physics student at Queen’s University. I spent this past summer at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) as part of the Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP). I was asked to talk a bit about my research and summer experience.

Quantum Programming and Circuits Workshop synopsis

Tour of an optics lab at the Quantum Programming and Circuits Workshop.

During the period of June 8 - June 11 2015, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) hosted the Quantum Programming and Circuits Workshop. The workshop constituted a rare opportunity to bring together researchers from both quantum computing and classical programming languages.

The essential content of the Threshold Theorem for Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computation

The belief that quantum computation is possible in practice is founded strongly on a set of theorems that are generally called ‘the’ Threshold Theorem for Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computation. Though there is non-trivial variation between threshold theorems based on differing assumptions about the errors that will affect the quantum computer, the essential content of ‘the’ theorem is that errors can be efficiently corrected if they are small enough.

Notes from the Circus: CLEO 2015

I (far left) line up with (left to right) Patrik Rath (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Matin Hallaji (University of Toronto

On Wednesday, they brought in a performer on stilts to wander amongst the conference attendees. She was surrounded in rings of multi-coloured LEDs, costumed to look very much like what people thought the future would look like in the eighties. She twirled two torches which projected a United Nations-sanctioned logo for the International Year of Light, as if challenging Lady Liberty to step up her game.

CAP Congress 2015

Chris Pugh in an impromptu meeting at CAP Congress

About six weeks ago I was fortunate to attend the annual Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Annual Congress. This conference is organized each year at universities across the country and this year it was hosted at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta from June 15-19.

Diversity matters

Why does it matter? For Steve Woods, Google’s Senior Engineering Director, it’s a solid business strategy. He should know, Google in Canada has been awarded best workplace in Canada five consecutive years (2011-2015).

On June 17, I attended a Communitech session called Great people build great companies. Woods shared that to stay competitive, businesses need diversity because sustainable companies are grounded in diverse ideas. His presentation was impressive and it was obvious that he deeply cares.

On weirdness

You, me and Einstein hanging out with our mysterious devices in 3 different buildings around the city

Quantum mechanics is weird. You have probably heard this before. If you are a scientist you might have even said it before when trying to explain something to a layperson. If you are not a scientist then you have probably heard it and it has probably been frustrating to hear, because usually it is given in lieu of an explanation. It is both a true statement, and a dangerous one. Why is it dangerous? Because it gives people the wrong impression.

Learning business lingo is the first step to success for IQC entrepreneurs

During the February meeting of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) Entrepreneurship group, postdoctoral fellow (postdoc) Rolf Horn spoke to us about the basics of business and start-up jargon, including information on intellectual property and business strategy. For scientists, sitting down to learn the definitions of business words can seem like a waste of time: many of the terms and concepts appear fluffy in comparison to those defined in quantum computing. But there are some very good reasons why you should know how to talk the talk.

I have a dream

In 1963, Martin Luther King famously said:

I have a dream that my four little children
will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.

In 2015, I would like to say:

Quantum satellites and general relativity

The race towards quantum communication satellites is under way. Various collaborations around the world are designing the first prototype experiments and the Institute for Quantum Computing's (IQC) Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) is at the forefront. The challenge is motivated by the potential of building a world-wide Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) network.

Welcome to our new blog

Welcome to the IQC blog - written by quantum researchers for quantum researchers and those interested in their work.

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Educational programs

QKD - Quantum Key Distribution Summer School

USEQIP - Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing

QCSYS - Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students

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