UMD Quantum Information Workshop Draws Experts From Around the World

October 6, 2015

A five-day workshop examining the frontiers of quantum information drew more than 140 quantum experts from around the world to the University of Maryland last week.

Hosted by the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS), the workshop featured presentations from established leaders in the quantum community as well as younger members discussing promising new research.

Attendees from across the U.S., Europe and Australia explored topics that included quantum algorithms, quantum complexity theory, quantum tomography, quantum information theory, and applications of quantum information to condensed matter physics.

There was also a half-day poster session where graduate students and postdocs in QuICS—as well as several visiting researchers—showcased their latest work.

Andrew Childs, co-director of QuICS and an associate professor in UMD’s computer science department, says the workshop not only allowed attendees to learn about the latest advances in the field, but encouraged them to explore completely new ideas down the road.

“We wanted the workshop to lead to further collaboration, and to get people to think about advances in quantum computing and quantum information science in ways they otherwise might not have,” he says. “It was also about introducing people to QuICS and the work we do here. I think we were very successful on both counts.”

QuICS is a partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The center launched in October 2014, and currently has a vibrant community of fellows, postdocs, graduate students and visitors housed in a newly renovated workspace that encourages collaboration and innovation.

Researchers in quantum information science can often reside in different departments in academia—physics, computer science or mathematics, for example—which can lead to the impression of a fragmented research community, says Jacob Taylor, co-director of QuICS and a scientist at NIST.

“One intent of putting on these types of workshops is to gather together a community of quantum researchers on a regular basis, and then build a robust community around that research,” he says. “The main hope and goal is to outline what we as the community see as the real frontiers. And then identify what the hardest challenges are, and where the biggest effort now will make the biggest difference.”

Stephen Jordan, a QuICS Fellow and physicist at NIST who organized the academic component of the workshop, says that he and other attendees knew they were in the right place during one of the early presentations.

“A speaker was discussing a recent academic paper he had submitted, and was able to point to the audience and identify three other quantum experts he had cited in his own paper,” Jordan says. “That really speaks to the breadth and depth of scientific talent in attendance.”

To view the presentations online, go to QuICS workshop playlist.