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

Siv Schwink
9/24/2018

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

Quantum information science has been called the next technological “space race.” And the University of Illinois is positioning itself to be at the forefront of that race. In November, the U of I pledged $15 million for the formation of the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center (or IQUIST). Two of the leading experts in the field, Illinois physics professors Brian DeMarco and Paul Kwiat join the show to discuss its vast future applications. Both professors represented the University of Illinois at the first ever Chicago Quantum Summit in November. DeMarco was invited to the Advancing American Leadership in Quantum Information Science Summit at the White House last fall.

  • In the Media

Anderson was a strong believer in education and his philanthropy and volunteerism reflected this. He was dedicated to providing educational opportunities to others.  He served as a Life Trustee at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was a trustee of the Norwalk Community College Foundation. He was a member of the Visiting Committee of the University of Illinois College of Engineering, where he was inducted into their Engineering Hall of Fame in 2010. He and his wife Lois sponsored the Distance Learning Center at Illinois and endowed scholarships at R.P.I., Norwalk Community College and Northwestern University.

  • In the Media

As the chair of the NASA Fundamental Physical Sciences  Review Board, which has oversight responsibility for the recently launched Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), Professor Brian DeMarco plays a seminal role in the "Coolest Experiment in the Universe," taking place on the International Space Station. DeMarco is featured in the video released in conjunction with this press release. The ultra-cold-atom experiment will study a Bose-Einstein condensate in space to uncover a new understanding of its properties and interactions at a temperature barely above absolute zero.

  • Accolades

Professor Peter Abbamonte has been named the Fox Family Professor in Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Named faculty appointments signify a distinction beyond that of professorial rank, recognizing distinguished scholars for their prominence in research, teaching, and service.