Raymond Laflamme

Faculty, Professor
Raymond Laflamme

Raymond Laflamme was born in Quebec City and did his undergraduate studies in Physics at Universite Laval. He then moved to Cambridge, England, where he survived Part III of Mathematical Tripos before earning his PhD in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) under the direction of Stephen Hawking. Laflamme and Don Page are responsible for having changed Hawking's mind on the direction of time in a contracting Universe (as described in Hawking’s best-seller "A Brief History of Time"). After his PhD, Laflamme became a Killam post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia, where he met his future wife Janice Gregson. He moved back to Cambridge in 1990 as a Research Fellow at Peterhouse. He finally settled down for nine years at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He arrived as a Postdoctoral Fellow, then became an Oppenheimer Fellow in 1994, just after the birth of his son Patrick. His daughter Jocelyne was born in 1995. In 2001 he joined the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He founded the Institute for Quantum Computing in 2002. He has been its Executive Director from inception with Michele Mosca as Deputy Director in the initial years and with David Cory and Kevin Resch more recently.

The institute has grown to more than 240 researchers as of 2017. He is a respected pioneer and leader in quantum information processing that earned him a Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society and the Royal Society of Canada.

In 2011 he founded Universal Quantum Devices, a startup commercializing spinoffs of quantum information research, with colleagues Thomas Jennewein and Steve MacDonald. He also recently started another startup, QuantumLaf Inc., that advises about quantum technologies.

Research expertise

  • Understanding the impact of manipulating information using the laws of quantum mechanics
  • Development of methods to protect quantum information against noise through quantum control and quantum error correction for quantum computing and cryptography
  • Implementation of ideas and concepts of quantum information processing using nuclear magnetic resonance and develop scalable methods of control of quantum systems
  • Develop blueprints for quantum information processors such as linear optics quantum computing (LOQC)


  • PhD, DAMTP, University of Cambridge, 1988
  • Part III of Math. Tripos, DAMTP, University of Cambridge, 1984
  • BSc, Physics, Universite Laval, 1983

Awards & honours

  • Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis “John von Neumann” Chair in Quantum Information, University of Waterloo, 2017
  • Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information, 2002-2022
  • CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, 2017
  • Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal, 2013
  • Honorary Degree, Université de Sherbrooke, 2012
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Achievement of Science, 2011
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2011
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 2008
  • Premier’s Discovery award in Natural Science and Engineering (including a $500 000 grant)
  • NSERC’s inaugural Top 50 Discoveries list for 2006

Major positions

Title Location When
Professor Institute for Quantum Computing and Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Waterloo 2001-2022
Executive Director Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo 2002-2017
Associate Researcher Perimeter Institute 2001-present
Program Director Canadian Institute for Advanced Research 2003-present
Chief Strategy Officer Universal Quantum Devices 2011-present
Technical Staff Los Alamos National Laboratory 1997-2001
Oppenheimer Fellow Los Alamos National Laboratory 1994-2001