Professor Christopher R. Monroe
Gilhuly Family Presidential Distinguished Professor at Duke University and Founder of IonQ
Monday, October 24, 2022
Quantum computers are endowed with the remarkable ability to store and process ungodly amounts of information and tackle problems intractable on conventional computers. However, the exotic quantum laws of data superposition and entanglement are matched by the exotic requirements for quantum computer hardware. Electromagnetically trapped atomic ions are leading the race, featuring qubits with essentially infinite idle coherence times and high-quality quantum gate operations. Such atomic clock qubits are controlled with laser beams, allowing densely-connected and reconfigurable universal gate sets. The path to scale involves concrete architectural paths based on well-established protocols, from shuttling ions between QPU cores to modular photonic interconnects between multiple QPUs. Full-stack ion trap quantum computers have thus moved away from the physics of qubits and gates and toward the engineering of optical control signals and software-defined error mitigation and correction. I will summarize the state-of-the-art in these quantum computers in both academic and industrial settings, and summarize how they are being used for both scientific and commercial applications, from simulations of molecular and material models to logistics and finance.