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Quantum Computation for Quantum Chemistry: Status, Challenges, and Prospects - Session 1

Speaker  Michael Freedman, Krysta Svore, Matthias Troyer, and Markus Reiher

Affiliation  Microsoft Research, ETH Zurich

Host  Michael Freedman, Krysta Svore

Duration  01:26:47

Date recorded  12 November 2012

9:00 – 9:15 AM Welcome and Introduction Speaker: Michael Freedman, Microsoft Station Q Bio: Michael Freedman is Director of Station Q, Microsoft’s Project on quantum physics and quantum computation located on the UCSB campus. The project is a collaborative effort between Microsoft and academia directed towards exploring the mathematical theory and physical foundations for quantum computing.

Freedman joined Microsoft in 1997 as a Fields Medal-winning mathematician whose accomplishments included a proof of the 4-dimensional Poincare conjecture, the discovery (with Donaldson and Kirby) of exotic smooth structures on Euclidian 4-space, applications of minimal surfaces to topology, and estimates for the stored energy in magnetic fields. Freedman has received numerous awards and honors: The Fields Medal, election to the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Veblen prize, a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Medal of Science. His work since joining Microsoft has been primarily on the interface of quantum computation, solid state physics, and quantum topology.

9:15 – 9:30 AM Quantum Computing: A Short Tutorial Speaker: Krysta Svore, Microsoft Research QuArC Bio: Krysta Svore is a Researcher in the Quantum Architectures and Computation Group (QuArC) at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA. She is passionate about quantum computation and determining what problems can be better solved on a quantum computer. Her research focuses on quantum algorithms and how to implement them on a quantum device, from how to code them in a high-level programming language, to how to optimize the resources they require, to how to implement them on quantum hardware. Her team works on designing a scalable, fault-tolerant software architecture for translating a high-level quantum program into a low-level, device-specific quantum implementation. Dr. Svore received her Ph.D. with Honors in Computer Science from Columbia University in 2006 under Dr. Alfred Aho and Dr. Joseph Traub. She was a visiting researcher at MIT under Dr. Isaac Chuang, at Caltech under Dr. John Preskill, and at IBM Research under Dr. David DiVincenzo and Dr. Barbara Terhal.

9:30 – 9:45 AM Motivation for the meeting Speaker: Matthias Troyer, ETH Zurich Abstract: While a quantum computer can solve many electronic structure problems in polynomial time, the time needed for interesting problems might still exceed the age of the universe on the fastest imaginable quantum computer. In this introductory presentation I will present limitations of the largest and fastest quantum computer that we might imagine building. I will then discuss the consequences of these limitations for solving problems in quantum chemistry and materials science, to set the stage for the discussions during the meeting.

Bio:
Matthias Troyer is professor of computational physics at ETH Zurich and consultant for Microsoft Research Station Q. He is a recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant of the European Research Council and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. His research activities center on numerically accurate simulations of quantum many body systems, with applications ti quantum magnets, correlated materials, ultracold quantum gases, quantum devices and topological quantum computing. He achieves progress in simulations through novel simulation algorithms combined with high performance computing approaches. He has initiated the the open-source ALPS projects for the simulation of quantum many body systems in condensed matter physics.

9:45 – 10:30 AM What Could Quantum Computers Accomplish for Chemical Reactions? Speaker: Markus Reiher, ETH Zurich Abstract: In the past 15 years, my group has worked on various problems in chemistry ranging from its fundamental relativistic basis to applications in template chemistry and transition metal catalysis. While the electron correlation problem is one of the major issues in Theoretical Chemistry and seemingly prone to be tackled by quantum computers, other issues involving the huge size of chemical compound / configuration space are probably much more important when actual chemical problems shall be solved.

In my talk, I will elaborate on some prominent examples which we encountered in our work in order to highlight persistent difficulties. Then, I shall discuss whether or not these problems will be amenable to solution by virtue of quantum computers.

Bio:
Markus Reiher is professor for theoretical chemistry at ETH Zurich since 2006. He was born in Paderborn/Westphalia in 1971. In 1998, he was awarded a PhD in theoretical chemistry from the University of Bielefeld working with Juergen Hinze. In 2002, he finished his habilitation thesis in the group of Bernd Artur Hess at the University of Erlangen and continued as a private docent first in Erlangen and then at the University of Bonn. In 2005, he accepted an offer for a professorship in physical chemistry from the University of Jena, where he worked until he moved to ETH Zurich. His research covers many different areas in theoretical chemistry and ranges from relativistic quantum chemistry, (vibrational) spectroscopy, density functional theory, transition metal catalysis and bioinorganic chemistry to the development of new electron-correlation theories and smart algorithms for inverse quantum chemistry.

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