Nature publishes UW researchers' work on quantum information processing
WATERLOO, Ont. -- Researchers from the University of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), in a paper published in Nature, have taken a major step forward in finding out how to make quantum information processing devices more powerful than today's computers.
Their work is presented in the Nov. 24 issue of the prestigious international journal. The paper, titled "A Spin-Based Heat Engine: Experimental Implementation of Heat-Bath Algorithmic Cooling," was written by IQC members Jonathan Baugh, Osama Moussa, Colm Ryan, Ashwin Nayak and Raymond Laflamme.
The paper discusses how quantum computing seeks to utilize the laws that govern microscopic objects such as atoms and molecules -- quantum mechanics -- to make information processing devices fundamentally more powerful than currently available computers.
"An important ingredient in the physical implementation of these devices is the ability to initialize the quantum carriers of information (qubits) and to keep them 'cool'," said IQC Director Raymond Laflamme, who is also a Long-Term Researcher at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and a Physics professor at UW.
The work published in Nature describes the implementation of a powerful form of cooling, called heat-bath algorithmic cooling, in a solid-state nuclear spin system. It is a high-precision demonstration of this technique in a promising quantum information processing system.
Reviewers noted that the paper is a significant contribution to the field of quantum computation. According to one reviewer: "This manuscript reports on one of the key experimental challenges in quantum information processing."
A second reviewer said: "The experiment reported on in the paper is a carefully designed and meticulously executed piece of work. The result is a tour de force that marries experiment to theory in an elegant and convincing demonstration of the effect."
Baugh is an IQC postdoctoral fellow in UW's Department of Physics. He completed his Physics PhD, specializing in experimental condensed matter physics, under the supervision of Prof. Yue Wu at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His work there consisted of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies of hydrogenated amorphous silicon and carbon nanotubes. Baugh is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Laflamme, working on solid-state NMR implementations for quantum computing
Osama Moussa and Colm Ryan are IQC graduate students in the Department of Physics at UW.
Moussa graduated from Carleton University with a B.Sc. (Honours) in Applied Physics and a Minor in Mathematics before completing the M.Sc. in the Physics program at Waterloo. He is currently a PhD candidate in Physics working under supervision of Laflamme.
Ryan completed his Engineering Physics degree at the University of Alberta. While there, he performed research with Prof. Al Meldrum into silicon nanocrystals. He is currently an M.Sc. candidate working under the supervision of Laflamme.
Nayak is an assistant professor in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization at UW and an Associate Member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. His research interests include quantum computation, quantum information theory, computational complexity and algorithms.
Laflamme, besides heading IQC, holds a Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information and is Director of the Quantum Information Program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
His research involves information theory related to quantum mechanics. The work aims to improve methods to control quantum devices and increase knowledge to the degree that quantum technologies can be introduced into everyday use.
The Institute for Quantum Computing (www.iqc.ca) seeks to advance knowledge in relevant areas of engineering, mathematics and science to enhance the developments in the field of quantum computation and information processing.
The institute, which draws some of the best researchers and students in computing, engineering, mathematical and physical sciences, is funded through grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, Premier's Research Excellence Awards and Ontario Innovation Trust.