Pioneer of quantum information research appointed to Order of Canada

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Raymond Laflamme
An Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) researcher has been appointed to the Order of Canada for his significant scientific and leadership contributions to the country, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada announced.

Raymond Laflamme, one of 125 Canadians receiving the honour, is recognized as a pioneer in quantum information research and technology.

Laflamme led IQC as its founding executive director from 2002 to 2017. Under his leadership, IQC grew into a world-class community of more than 200 researchers and became a global player in the quantum race.

“Raymond has been instrumental in making the Institute’s vision a reality,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. “As the driving force in bringing together the world’s brightest minds and putting Canada on the map for quantum research, his impact has been immeasurable.”  

Laflamme earned his PhD at Cambridge University under the supervision of Stephen Hawking. He is credited with changing Hawking’s mind on the reversal of the direction of time in a contracting universe. Laflamme was recruited to the University of Waterloo by former University of Waterloo President, The Right Honourable David Johnson and Mike Lazaridis from Los Alamos National Labs in 2001. He joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and directed the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research program on quantum information science for 15 years.

Among many notable scientific accomplishments, Laflamme devised ways to make quantum information robust against corruption in both computation and cryptographic settings. He performed the world’s first experimental demonstration of quantum error correction, a task necessary to make quantum computers resilient to noise. He also developed a blueprint for a quantum information processor using linear optics that is being implemented by many groups around the world. His research group held the world record for the largest number of quantum bits manipulated using universal control for many years.

“I am honoured to receive this recognition,” said Laflamme, who holds the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis John Von Neumann Chair at IQC. “Quantum computing has the power to transform the way we approach everything from the way we conceive the world to medicine to geographical exploration, and more. Like the information revolution shaped the 20th century, the quantum revolution will define the 21st. We are really just at beginning of seeing the major impacts quantum will have on our lives.”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II founded the Order of Canada in 1967. It remains the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, recognizing outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation.