The New Quantum Era

Sebastian Hassinger & Kevin Rowney

Your hosts, Sebastian Hassinger and Kevin Rowney, interview brilliant research scientists, software developers, engineers and others actively exploring the possibilities of our new quantum era. read less

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Better Qubits Through Material Science with Nathalie DeLeon
Nov 15 2022
Better Qubits Through Material Science with Nathalie DeLeon
Key Takeaways:[3:38] Nathalie shares how she found her way into the field of quantum technology.[6:25] Nathalie talks about the key moment in the landscape towards being a believer in Quantum Technology.[8:29] Nathalie talks about certain things that made her change her mind.[12:20] Nathalie speaks about her particular entry into the science field.[18:09] How far up the stack does Nathalie’s interest lie, and how does that inform what she has been doing down at the materials?[22:54] Nathalie shares the story about NSF.[25:48] What is wrong with Niobium?[27:12]  Nathalie explains the difficulty of surface physics and surface chemistry in this domain.[32:30] Is there a way to describe conceptually how a vacancy in a diamond can be used as a two-level system or for a cubit, or as a sensing device?[37:03] Why is it called a color center? [37:59] Nathalie talks about the genesis of her paper which includes material science foundations for the quantum information process.[42:35] Can Nathalie make any speculations based on what she learned from the review paper?[46:54] Is it true that manipulating diamonds is really slow?[48:28] Sebastian talks about the way they met Nathalie.[49:29] Are there things that either educators or industry participants in this stage of quantum computing and quantum information technologies can do to help make this area work better than the other fields have in the past? [55:58] Sebastian and Kevin share the highlights of an amazing conversation with Nathalie DeLeon.Mentioned in this episode:Visit The New Quantum Era PodcastCo-Design Center for Quantum Advantage Tweetables and Quotes:“If you could do a quantum version of erasure conversion, you can actually get extremely high thresholds.“ — Nathalie DeLeon“The fact that,  in some sense, fault tolerance is a phase, a transition is a quantum phase transition, right? You have a fundamentally different system before and after you turn on your error correction. .“ — Nathalie DeLeon
Better Qubits Through Material Science with Nathalie DeLeon
Nov 15 2022
Better Qubits Through Material Science with Nathalie DeLeon
Key Takeaways:[3:38] Nathalie shares how she found her way into the field of quantum technology.[6:25] Nathalie talks about the key moment in the landscape towards being a believer in Quantum Technology.[8:29] Nathalie talks about certain things that made her change her mind.[12:20] Nathalie speaks about her particular entry into the science field.[18:09] How far up the stack does Nathalie’s interest lie, and how does that inform what she has been doing down at the materials?[22:54] Nathalie shares the story about NSF.[25:48] What is wrong with Niobium?[27:12]  Nathalie explains the difficulty of surface physics and surface chemistry in this domain.[32:30] Is there a way to describe conceptually how a vacancy in a diamond can be used as a two-level system or for a cubit, or as a sensing device?[37:03] Why is it called a color center? [37:59] Nathalie talks about the genesis of her paper which includes material science foundations for the quantum information process.[42:35] Can Nathalie make any speculations based on what she learned from the review paper?[46:54] Is it true that manipulating diamonds is really slow?[48:28] Sebastian talks about the way they met Nathalie.[49:29] Are there things that either educators or industry participants in this stage of quantum computing and quantum information technologies can do to help make this area work better than the other fields have in the past? [55:58] Sebastian and Kevin share the highlights of an amazing conversation with Nathalie DeLeon.Mentioned in this episode:Visit The New Quantum Era PodcastCo-Design Center for Quantum Advantage Tweetables and Quotes:“If you could do a quantum version of erasure conversion, you can actually get extremely high thresholds.“ — Nathalie DeLeon“The fact that,  in some sense, fault tolerance is a phase, a transition is a quantum phase transition, right? You have a fundamentally different system before and after you turn on your error correction. .“ — Nathalie DeLeon
The History of Superconducting Qubits  with Steve Girvin
Oct 24 2022
The History of Superconducting Qubits with Steve Girvin
Welcome to another episode of The New Quantum Era Podcast hosted by Kevin Rowney and Sebastian Hassinger. Today, they are joined by Steve Girvin, professor of Physics at Yale who has a central role in the Yale Quantum Institute, which has been ground zero for the recent development in superconducting qubits. The topics we had initially planned needed some adjustment, because on the day of the interview, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three scientists for their work experimentally verifying the theory behind entanglement, the source of much of quantum computing's power. Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, and Anton Zeilinger were recognized for their experiments in an area that has broad implications for secure information transfer and quantum computing. Sebastian, Kevin, and Steve have an interesting talk about some of the history of the superconducting qubits and the transmon in particular, which is a basis for most of the modern superconducting qubits on the market. They also cover the topic of diversity, quality, and inclusion. Key Takeaways:[3:43] Steve introduces himself.[5:23] Steve shares his primary domains of research.[9:50]  Was there a sort of self-awareness in the Yale group that Steve and his team were taking radically? Were they considering a different approach that could solve some of the challenges of the other models that existed at the time?[14:38] Steve talks about how relatively quickly the hardware can be fabricated to be able to crank out, iterations, variations, and experiments. [17:27] Is there room for optimism about the new dimensions of research related to MER material science?  [19:25] Steve shares his thoughts on the news about the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics.[22:18] Steve talks about how some of the epistemological questions that these paradoxes present, feel really mind-bending to many people on the outside of physics.[25:38] Steve addresses how hard it is to predict the future.[27:21] Does Steve consider himself an optimist about the progress of quantum computing?[30:10] How can we get reliable performance out of an inherently, very unreliable system?[33:22] Steve helps us fill in the narrative, in the history of where GKP codes are situated and their significance to contemporary developments.[41:14] Steve talks about the basic steps of the algorithm to do the error correction.[44:01] The history of computer science is very, uh, white, male, and, uh, dominated in nature, Steve shares his thoughts about diversity, equity, and inclusion.[48:34] What we can do to change the composition of the field when the underlying foundations of the way science is done in the lab have a such rigid history of hierarchy, power structures, and power dynamics that are so easily abused?[55:02] Sebastian and Kevin share their thoughts on an amazing conversation with Steve Girvin,  Mentioned in this episode:Visit The New Quantum Era PodcastTuring's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe, George DysonDocumentary: Picture a ScientistTweetables and Quotes:“A very productive part of my childhood was having nothing to do, but to dream.“ — Steve Girvin “The simpler you keep things, the easier it's to do things “ — Steve Girvin “Einstein really made massive contributions to the development of the quantum theory. “ — Steve Girvin “The way we test whether our quantum computer is a quantum computer is checking first thing in the morning to calibrate it, if it's doing the thing that Einstein said was impossible then, it's working.“ — Steve Girvin “Looking ahead, it's very, very hard to predict where this is going, but along the way, there's such fantastic. basic science and quantum.” — Steve Girvin“When you're doing a hiring search, it's not about adding constraints, like interviewing more women…It's about removing constraints. You should look wider. There's a theorem that if you release constraints, the optimum cannot get worse, it can only get better. ” — Steve Girvin
Quantum Error Correction with James Wootton
Oct 10 2022
Quantum Error Correction with James Wootton
Key Takeaways:[3:23] James introduces himself.[4:20] James talks about his engagement in game development using the public IBM Cloud quantum systems.[5:40] James explains why he said he expected the field of quantum computing to be more accessible by starting with hobbyists.[7:02] James talks about the theory behind quantum computing.[8:23] James speaks of how to engage people in quantum computing by proving Einstein was wrong in how he saw quantum mechanics.[12:39] What are some of the things that James has seen that were sort of super inventive ways to use quantum computing in a game context?[14:20] James talks about the quantum emoji generator.[15:26] James shares his opinion in regard to Quantum Chess.[16:48] James talks about a new game called Quantum Odyssey[18:08] James shares an experience working with kids when he was at the University of Basel.[19:55] James talks about his passion for quantum error correction.[20:41] James tells the difference between quantum error correction and quantum error mitigation.[24:18] Sebastian talks about mitigation strategies.[27:00] Could it be that lots of the statistical tradecraft with respect to analyzing data and attempting to interpret its meaning in the presence of acknowledged errors and the signal is perhaps a foundational part of QAM? [28:01] What are the major and most interesting themes to James these days? [29:36] James explains the threshold theorem.[34:33] What is the current math result in terms of the threshold of error occurrence that you need to get to get over the hump?[35:16] James talks about the experimental results where people have built minimal examples of quantum error-correcting codes[36:01] James talks about a recent experiment made at IBM quantum.[36:40] What does surface code mean?[39:20] Are there any other types of errors that quantum error correction has to struggle with? Or are the bit flip and phase error the two main aspects?[41:55] James talks about the recent research on silicon spin qubits.[45:39] Sebastian and Kevin share the highlights of an amazing conversation with James.Mentioned in this episode:Visit The New Quantum Era PodcastStephen Hawking faces Paul Rudd in epic chess match (feat. Keanu Reeves)Tweetables and Quotes:“It's better if we start off by building a little bit of intuition, and then bringing in the maths, it's important to bring in the maths but I think it's better when the maths is describing an intuition that people already have and that's the starting point.” — James Wootton“There have been experimental results already where people have built minimal examples of quantum error correcting codes and showing that they have a beneficial effect. So that's what happens when the noise is low enough. “ — James Wootton
Molecular and Subatomic Physics with David Mazziotti
Sep 2 2022
Molecular and Subatomic Physics with David Mazziotti
Title: Molecular and Subatomic Physics with David MazziottiDescription: Welcome to another episode of The New Quantum Era Podcast hosted by Kevin Rowney and Sebastian Hassinger. Today, they are joined by David Mazziotti, a physicist, and research team leader at the University of Chicago. He generously showed up with some deeply fascinating material for your consideration. Professor Mazziotti is a highly accomplished scholar, researcher, and mentor. This interview with David is a ringside seat on one of the most interesting recent research on molecular and subatomic physics that is now being explored by scholars using quantum computers. Today, David talks about how he got interested in quantum computing, his current findings and experiments, and his optimistic perspective about the possibility of breakthroughs in the near future of quantum.Key Takeaways:[6:13] David talks about his background.[11:32] David’s first professor role was teaching quantum chemistry.[12:30] David speaks about the first time he used quantum computing hardware to perform experimentation, like simulation of quantum chemistry.[14:42] David Talks about his first foray into quantum computing.[16:45] What measurements is David doing inside the quantum computer to register that data on the polytopes?[18:58] Where did the inspiration come from for using limited hardware with limited capabilities (from a gate and noise perspective) in a really creative way to do really sophisticated simulations? [24:19] What are the major engineering or commercial applications?[28:43] David talks about his collaboration on a couple of papers on a generalizable system for free a simulation of open quantum systems.[31:24] Is there something that can be done on a standard quantum computer to simulate open systems? Is new hardware needed?[33:40] Is it possible for David to speculate if there will be brand new algorithmic breakthroughs for clever classical optimization problems? [35:10] David shares the publication of  a new paper on communications physics.[37:15] Can we make progress with noisy quantum computers?[40:39] David speaks about how he and his team ended up getting a spectrumscoptic noise “fingerprint” of each of their IBM Quantum computers on which they were doing an experiment. What does derive from the spectrum of the QC?[42:28] Is David  programming the pulses or is he using gates?[43:42] Is the fingerprint like a qubit? [45:22] David believes that a more holistic perspective on the noise could be the way to control noise better.[48:30] David’s work has been on superconducting hardware, is it applicable to  trapped ions or neutral atoms or Rydberg atom systems that are coming out in the next year? And hopefully to photonic systems down the road? [49:46] Is David’s work on superconducting hardware applicable to quantum sensing devices?[52:41] David shares his excitement about the evolution of quantum computing in the next couple of years.[56:19] For listeners who want to explore  some of the code and are qiskit literate? Is any of the stuff that David has  mentioned available open source style? [59:05] David speaks of his work on reduced density matrix theory. [1:00:26] If David could wish for any new hardware in the next year, what would he want? [1:04:53] Sebastian  and Kevin share their insights from a mind blowing conversation with David Mazziotti.Mentioned in this episode:Visit The New Quantum Era PodcastLearn more about David Mazziotti’s work at his group’s website and check out their github repoTweetables and Quotes:“So a polytope is basically a convex object with a bunch of flat sides and on one side, there's this polytope that's forbidden, on the other side, one that's allowed, and then there's this hyperplane in the middle called the Borland-Dennis Inequality, and you just don't want the points to go through.”  — David Mazziotti“In superconductivity, electrons form Cooper pairs, and these Cooper pairs of electrons all end up in a global quantum state and that allows you to send electricity into the superconductor, and actually have a current then come out from a macroscopic distance away, but not have any loss due to friction because you're really sending an electron into a global quantum state that's entangled with the electron that's coming out on the other side at the same time.”  — David Mazziotti“It's only after 2000, that people were able to realize excitation condensates by pumping them with light with radiation. And then in the last few years, since 2017, they've been able to prepare them in the laboratory, even without pumping them with radiation, either using strong magnetic fields or, actually, in some cases, not using any magnetic fields at all. But using Creative Chemistry.” — David Mazziotti“The quantum computer  gives one an ability  to look at some things that before were really more just a theoretical dream” — David Mazziotti“Can we make progress with noisy quantum computers? I think that's one of the central questions, because ultimately, quantum computers are always going to be somewhat noisy to some extent.” — David Mazziotti
Quantum advantage and all the information in the world with Cesar Rodriguez Rosario
Aug 15 2022
Quantum advantage and all the information in the world with Cesar Rodriguez Rosario
Welcome to another episode of The New Quantum Era Podcast hosted by Kevin Rowney and Sebastian Hassinger. Today, they are joined by Cesar A. Rodriguez  Rosario, Chief Scientific Officer at Strangeworks, who is discussing the parallels between quantum computing and the development of the classical computing world at the stage of vacuum tubes and the invention of the transistor.Cesar Rodriguez is a great example of somebody who is knowledgeable about the space of Quantum Computing and sees its possibility but he's got a decent level of guarded optimism and even skepticism on some of these results, which sometimes run fits and starts and sometimes even go backward.Key Takeaways:[4:33] Cesar shares what brought him into Quantum Computing.[5:35] Cesar talks about his academic background[11:39] Coming from computer engineering and having an unconventional journey through quantum physics, does Cesar consider he has a different perspective on the field today? [15:28] Given the current stage of technology, what does Cesar think of the role of foreign theorists? [17:37] How does Cesar view the reliability and the breakthrough potential of the currently existing crop of algorithms given the current limits?[18:57] Cesar explains what QUantum Advantage is.[21:08] From the landscape of the current algorithms out there, does  Cesar feel like there's an imminent breakthrough in these scare algorithms? [23:05] Will there going to be more "dequantized" algorithms?[24:35] Cesar shares what he calls Quantum Value.[25:21] Looking at the theory landscape, what are the most exciting things to Cesar?[29:20] Does everything still fit into the general buckets of VQE and QAOA? Are there other categories that are emerging that are distinct enough from those two approaches that they have their own acronym yet?[30:52] What does quantization mean?[33:49] Cesar explains why quantum computers are fundamentally better at some problems than classical computers.[37:33] Cesar defines the molecular geometry problem[39:50] Cesar speaks of the beginning of Quantum Computing.[42:53] Cesar talks about a recent major breakthrough.[45:48] Cesar talks about the complexity of photonics.[48:28] Cesar shares the challenge of speed.[52:10] Kevin and Sebastian share the highlights of an interesting conversation with Cesar A. Rodriguez Rosario.Resources:Visit The New Quantum Era PodcastGoogle's 2019 quantum supremacy experimentA classical attack on Google's supremacy claimAn overview of Quantum supremacyThe variational quantum eigensolver algorithm paper from Alan Asperu-Guzik's group at HarvardEddie Farhi and Jeffrey Goldstone's Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm paperNature paper on error correction on spin qubits in diamondThe Chip, by T. R. Reid is a terrific book for understanding the early history of classical computing. Tweetables and Quotes:“You can use some qubits and their quality is really, really good. You can connect them very, very efficiently, and you can connect as many as you want, in a way that scales, we have to do all those things… and nobody has cracked the code for all these bullet points.” — Cesar A. Rodriguez Rosario“Ideally, what's going to happen is that once we have the scalable error corrected qubits and all that, then you don't have to be a theorist anymore, and then I'm going to be a full-time quantum engineer and that will be healthy, I want that to happen since that would mean that the industry succeeded.”  — Cesar A. Rodriguez Rosario“It's okay, that things are not useful, yet, there's nothing wrong with that, because we're still working towards that.” — Cesar A. Rodriguez Rosario
Quantum Computing: Foundational Concepts with Nick Bronn
Aug 2 2022
Quantum Computing: Foundational Concepts with Nick Bronn
Key Takeaways:[8:25] Nick Bronn does a quick introduction about himself.[9:23] At what point in Nick’s academic career did he find he was attracted to quantum computing rather than the condensed matter physical started to get drawn into the field?[13:27] When Nick joined IBM, did they have a functioning superconducting qubit? Was there a transmon that was operational at that point? Or was it still building the first one in IBM?[17:23] How a transmon qubit does its thing?[20:27] Nick explains the DiVincenzo criteria.[25:25] Nick explains how you can build whatever wavefunction you want with transmon qubits.[28:40] Nick mentioned transitioning from experimental to more, such as the theory and the software. What was the motivator for Nick to get more involved in how to program these things?[33:43] How would Nick recommend somebody who has not done a few decades in the lab doing the kind of necessary work to acquire his intuition on factors and what kind of budget they should have for certain resources to know to avoid one idiom of code versus another? [36:27] Is there a way to encourage people to include a Jupyter Notebook with their code in the papers they post to the arxiv?[41:25] Nick shares about his work in trying to actually create Majorana braiding on the superconducting qubits.[46:10] Nick talks about other techniques such as variational algorithms.[48:14] What are we going to see in the short to medium term, what will the big breakthroughs be? [51:01] Nick is trying to simulate Majoranas state using the qubits. Would there be any learnings there or applications that would help in terms of error mitigation or error correction? [53:33] Nick shares his thoughts on Majoranas and the very strong theoretical justification for their existence. [56:16] Nick encourages physicists to learn to code, and developers to learn physics.[58:01] Sebastian and Kevin share the highlights of an amazing conversation with Nick Bronn.LinksNick's video on error correctionDiVincenzo's criteriaQiskit site, an incredible resource for learning!The paper Nick mentioned by Bryce Fuller and Antonio Mezzocapo, Second-quantized fermionic operators with polylogarithmic qubit and gate complexityThe paper where Nick collaborated with David Pekker on simulating Majorana braiding on IBM's superconducting qubits. Tweetables and Quotes:“We're supposed to think about quantum computers as being a digital type of thing, you have these fundamental universal gates set, and that is not necessarily a continuous thing. But if you understand how the physics of these microwave operations work, then sometimes you can frame certain problems in a more efficient way, and reduce the overall amount of error that you incur.” — Nick Bronn“We do have a large community of quantum computing users. And, and it's kind of, it's moving so fast that it's not even, it's not very easy to kind of convey what the best way to do everything is, l there's no standard operating procedure, no kind of best practices.” — Nick Bronn“Physicists are not good coders, but just know enough to be dangerous.” — Nick Bronn“What is incredibly interesting about the condensed matter of physics is that they allow you to understand the properties of materials, even crazy materials, like superconductors with relatively simple models.” — Nick Bronn