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Events in Physics
Title: "Validation Of Quantum Devices: From Quantum Random Numbers To The D-Wave Devices"    (Colloquia)
Start Date: 01/27/2014
Time: 4:15 pm
Location: 1 LeConte Hall
Speaker: Matthias Troyer
Affiliation: Professor of Theoretical Physics, ETH Zurich
Contact Person: Sarah Wittmer   (510) 642-3034

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 and quantum annealers. In this colloquium I will focus on quantum annealing, a finite temperature version of the quantum adiabatic algorithm that combines the classical technology of slow thermal cooling with quantum mechanical tunneling, to try to bring a physical system faster towards its ground state. The Canadian company D-Wave systems has recently built and sold programmable devices that are designed to use this effect to find solutions to hard optimization problems. I will present results of experiments designed to shed light on crucial questions about these controversial devices: are these devices quantum or classical? Are they faster than classical devices?