Invited Speaker: Prof Gerard Milburn

ACCS Weekly Meeting - Invited Speaker

This week we have a terrific opportunity to hear about quantum mechanics and complex systems from UQ's quantum information and computing guru, Gerard Milburn.

Please RSVP by COB on Tuesday 1 May 2007 for catering purposes.

Place: Room 621/622, GP South (Building 78)
Time: Thursday 3 May 2007, 10:30 Morning Tea, 11:00am Seminar

Speaker: Prof Gerard Milburn, Physics, The University of Queensland

Title: Quantum Complex Systems
The international effort to build a quantum computer had its genesis in a paper by Richard Feynman in 1982 entitled "Simulating physics with computers". In this paper, Feynman asked a deceptively simple question: "Can physics be simulated by a universal computer?". The surprising answer is no; it cannot be done efficiently on a conventional computer, not even probabilistically. There are systems in nature so complex as to be forever beyond the reach of computer simulation. These are quantum systems.

In this talk, I will describe the diabolical complexity of quantum systems. Nature is quantum and, if you want to simulate it, you must build a machine that behaves quantum mechanically: a quantum computer. We now know that there are algorithms that are literally inconceivable in a classical world. I will discuss one such algorithm, the Shor factoring algorithm. To build a quantum computer is to build a true quantum complex system. I will conclude with some brief comments on current progress to build a quantum computer.

Gerard Milburn obtained a PhD in theoretical Physics from the University of Waikato in 1982 for work on squeezed states of light and quantum nondemolition measurements. He subsequently was appointed a postdoctoral research assistant at the Department of  Mathematics, Imperial College, London in  1983. In 1984, he was awarded a Royal Society Fellowship to work in the Quantum Optics group of Professor P. Knight. In 1985, was appointed lecturer at The Australian National University and, in 1988, took up an appointment as Reader in Theoretical Physics at The University of Queensland.

In 1994, he was appointed as Professor of Physics and, in 1996, became Head of Department of Physics at The University of Queensland. In 2000, he became Deputy Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computer Technology. He is currently an Australian Research Council Federation Fellow at the University of Queensland. Gerard Milburn is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and The American Physical Society.

He has worked in the fields of quantum optics, quantum measurement and stochastic processes, atom optics, quantum chaos, mesoscopic electronics and, most recently, in quantum information and quantum computation. He has published over 200 papers in international journals, with over 6000 citations. He has published three books. Together with Dan Walls, he published one of the first texts on Quantum Optics (Springer 1994) and two non-technical books on quantum technology and quantum computing (Schroedinger's Machines, Allen and Unwin, 1996; The Feynman Processor, Allen and Unwin 1998). He has just completed a book on quantum measurement and control with Howard Wiseman and a new edition of Quantum Optics, both of which will appear in summer 2007.

World-class basic and applied inter-disciplinary research on questions fundamental to understanding, designing and managing complex systems
2009 The ARC Centre for Complex Systems, Australia