Matthias Troyer, ETH Zurich: Validation of Quantum Devices

Meet Matthias Troyer who is a recognized authority on quantum nature and performance of D-Wave machine and other quantum devices. Prof. Troyer will give us broad perspective on his group's research: making quantum random numbers provable secure, work on quantum simulators, new quantum algorithms, and a summary of their work on D-Wave. The latest pointers: their new study of D-WaveScott Aaronson's blog, and  Inc's paper.

Abstract: About a century after the development of quantum mechanics we have now reached an exciting time where non-trivial devices that make use of quantum effects can be built. While a universal quantum computer of non-trivial size is still out of reach there are a number commercial and experimental devices: quantum random number generators, quantum encryption systems, and analog quantum simulators. In this colloquium I will present some of these devices and validation tests we performed on them. Quantum random number generators use the inherent randomness in quantum measurements to produce true random numbers, unlike classical pseudorandom number generators which are inherently deterministic. Optical lattice emulators use ultracold atomic gases in optical lattices to mimic typical models of condensed matter physics. Finally, I will discuss the devices built by Canadian company D-Wave systems, which are special purpose quantum simulators for solving hard classical optimization problems.

Bio: Matthias Troyer is a professor of computational physics at ETH Zurich and a consultant for the quantum computing activities at Microsoft Research. He is a recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant of the European Research Council, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Aspen Center for Physics. His research activities center on large-scale simulations of quantum systems, development of new simulation algorithms and high performance computing. His love for new tech gadgets has led him from supercomputing to quantum devices. He has tested quantum random number generators, validated analog quantum simulators for materials (one of the scientific breakthroughs of the year 2010 according to Science magazine) and recently explored the computational capabilities of the controversial devices built by D-Wave Systems.

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