Foundations - Cracking Open Quantum Computing

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Ladies and gents, it's that time of month again! Time to delve into the tech behind AI until all of our brains hurt a little bit! This week will be pretty special, as it is the first of the "linked" talks that were hinted at last session. We're going to be (attempting to) demystify quantum computing, and to help us with this we'll be joined by Dr Sally Shrapnel from EQUS*.

While most of us working with machine learning know that quantum has the potential to change the game, attempts to understand exactly "how" are often scuppered by inscrutable symbology, unexplained physical phenomena and a whole boatload of jargon. To this end, we're going to be breaking down the symbols and operators commonly used in QC talks into more familiar forms, and explain why quantum works without (too much) physics terminology. We will will cover the basics of reversible computing and why this matters, and take a brief look at the different ways in which quantum computations can be performed. Having exhausted our capacity for maths (and likely, rational thought), we'll jump into the space of possibilities and tour the near-term future of quantum machine learning. This final section will talk about hyper-futuristic applications involving fault-tolerant quantum supercomputers, but also on what is possible with the noisy systems currently available.

So bring both sides of your brain and come along for the ride! Sally is an interdisciplinary machine (philosophy, medicine, physics), and there are few people better placed to break down the high-level physics into engineers' working knowledge. This will be a great opportunity not only to get a leg-up on the workings next-gen systems, but to also see where the bleeding edge will lie for the next few years. Can't wait to see everyone on the night!

*ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, if you want to read up on some of the cool stuff they've been doing.