Two U of I representatives at White House quantum information and computing summit

Siv Schwink

Illinois poised to take leadership role in national QIS efforts

University of Illinois System Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation and Founder Professor of Physics Ed Seidel
University of Illinois System Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation and Founder Professor of Physics Ed Seidel
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs in Physics and Professor of Physics Brian DeMarco
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs in Physics and Professor of Physics Brian DeMarco
Two University of Illinois faculty members are at the White House in Washington, D.C., today, attending the Advancing American Leadership in QIS Summit.

Quantum Information Science (QIS) and Technology has emerged over the last decade as one of the hottest topics in physics. Researchers collaborating across physics, engineering, and computer science have shown that quantum mechanics—one of the most successful theories of physics that explains nature from the scale of tiny atoms to massive neutron stars—can be a powerful platform for information processing and technologies that will revolutionize security, communication, and computing.

Research activity in QIS has been intensifying around the world. This year, China launched the Micius “quantum satellite,” Israel allocated $80M to support the development of quantum computing technology, and every major funding agency in the US has launched special programs to support QIS. The US House of Representatives also recently passed the National Quantum Initiative Act, which, if enacted into law, will help the US preserve our global leadership in QIS.

The U of I is on the leading edge of quantum science, with many faculty working in this area. Representing the interests of the University of Illinois System at the national summit in D.C. are the Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs in physics on the Urbana campus, Professor of Physics Brian DeMarco, and the University of Illinois System Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, Founder Professor of Physics Ed Seidel.

Seidel is the former director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana. Prior to that, he served as co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science while he led the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation.

Seidel said quantum information science is one of the areas that’s being proposed for future development of the Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Innovation Network.

DeMarco is a pioneer in experimental quantum science who has made foundational contributions to trapped atomic ion quantum computing using ultracold atomic gases. DeMarco is also active in national security work: he was a member of the 2016-2017 Defense Sciences Study Group, serves on the ODNI-sponsored NAS Intelligence Science and Technology Experts group, and is the chair of the American Physical Society Panel on Public Affairs national security subcommittee. DeMarco also chairs the NASA Fundamental Physical Sciences Standing Review Board.

DeMarco said, “Illinois is positioned to have a strong impact on QIS research, including algorithm development, creating key technologies such as quantum repeaters and communication channels, and research into the materials needed for next-generation qubits. The Department of Physics in Urbana, one of the largest and top-ranked physics departments in the U.S., is also working to solve the quantum workforce challenge by developing new undergraduate and master’s degree programs in QIS.”

Top scientists and U.S. officials at the summit today are coordinating a long-term competitive approach to QIS research and infrastructure development across America, with strong collaboration among private and public efforts.

Recent News

  • Partnerships

The Chicago Quantum Exchange, a growing intellectual hub for the research and development of quantum technology, has expanded its community to include new industry partners working at the forefront of quantum technology and research. These corporate partners are Boeing, Applied Materials, Inc., ColdQuanta, Inc., HRL Laboratories LLC and Quantum Opus LLC.

Together, the Chicago Quantum Exchange and its new industry partners will focus on developing a new understanding of the rules of quantum mechanics, leading to breakthroughs in quantum devices, materials and computing techniques.

Based at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, the Chicago Quantum Exchange is anchored by the University of Chicago, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (both operated for DOE by the University of Chicago), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and includes the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University.

  • In the Media
  • Alumni News

Oscar Rodrigo Araiza Bravo, a 2014 MHS graduate, recently was granted a full scholarship to Harvard University to earn a PhD in physics. He graduated with a straight A average from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign with degrees in mathematics and engineering physics.

After completing doctoral studies he hopes to become a college professor who does both teaching and research. “I enjoy teaching. If you ever want to find out whether or not you know a subject, teach it,” Araiza Bravo said.

  • In the Media

There have been accusations for years that the Major League ball is “juiced,” thus accounting for the increasing power numbers.

MLB officials have categorically denied that, and last year, commissioned a study of the baseball and how it’s produced.

In the landmark 85-page independent report replete with color graphs, algorithms and hypotheses, a group of 10 highly-rated professors and scientists chaired by Alan Nathan determined that the ball is not livelier or “juiced.” Nathan is a professor emeritus of physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

The surge in home runs “seems, instead, to have arisen from a decrease in the ball’s drag properties, which cause it to carry further than previously, given the same set of initial conditions – exit velocity, launch and spray angle, and spin. So, there is indirect evidence that the ball has changed, but we don’t yet know how,” wrote Leonard Mlodinow, in the report’s eight-page executive summary.