Oct. 11, 2019

Quantum Public Lecture to explore unprecedented practical application of quantum computing

Dr. Alán Aspuru-Guzik from the University of Toronto to lead exciting talk on campus October 22


Faculty of Science staff

Imagine the possibilities if a computer so powerful that it could perform a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that would take today’s most advanced classical computer around 10,000 years – it would be one of the greatest turning points in technology known to humankind.

Dr. Alán Aspuru-Guzik is this year’s Quantum Public Lecture speaker. He is the Canada 150 Research Chair in Quantum Chemistry and professor at the University of Toronto and a CIFAR Artificial Intelligence Chair at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He works to integrate robotics, machine learning and high-throughput quantum chemistry to develop material acceleration platforms, which could accelerate scientific discovery for clean energy and optoelectronics. Aspuru-Guzik also develops quantum computer algorithms for quantum machine learning and has pioneered quantum algorithms for the simulation of matter. He is also the chief scientific officer and founder of quantum computing startup Zapata Computing. His presentation on October 22, 2019, will offer an exciting take on recent quantum computing developments.

In September, a mysterious leaked publication appeared on a NASA website; it disappeared quickly – the paper was meant for a major scientific journal before being published online – but it was up long enough for its content to make waves. The paper, authored by scientists, claimed that researchers at Google had become the first company to achieve ‘quantum supremacy’.

While quantum advantage refers to a quantum computer’s ability to solve a problem faster than a classical computer, quantum supremacy can be claimed when a quantum computer is able to solve a problem that is impossible for a classical computer to solve. The demo was a narrow technical test, meant to prove that figures spit out by a random number generator were in fact, truly random.

“Such a task is of academic relevance but does not imply that the device, per se, will be able to carry out a computation of practical importance yet,” explains Aspuru-Guzik.

Aspuru-Guzik has applied quantum computation to solve a practical problem in science. His talk will discuss a class of quantum computer programs that can potentially employ quantum computers of similar power to simulate molecules successfully, or do machine learning tasks on quantum data. In particular, Aspuru-Guzik will discuss the applications of quantum computing to stimulating quantum chemistry and quantum materials.

Tickets are available by visiting the event page on the Faculty of Science website. All are welcome. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.