UQ physicists showcased in super-sized American Physical Society meeting

March 19th, 2010
(PhysOrg.com) -- The largest physics meeting in the world is happening this week in Portland Oregon, with more than 10,000 physicists, innumerable cups of coffee, and more than 7500 papers being presented.

A paper by UQ physicists is one of 40 that have been highlighted in the image gallery of the March meeting of the American Physical Society (APS).

The work published in Nature Chemistry, comes from a partnership between a group of physicists—led by Professor Andrew White at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia—and a group of chemists—led by Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.

The international team built a small quantum computer and used it to calculate the precise energy of molecular hydrogen.

The APS meeting showcases cutting-edge research results that often lead to new technologies, from electronics and communications breakthroughs to better computers and medical diagnostic products. These technologies, in turn, will shape modern science and culture.

“It's very early days for quantum technology,” Professor White said.

"Most quantum computer demonstrations have been limited to a handful of qubits. A colleague of mine in Canada says that any demonstration with less than ten qubits is cute but useless—which makes me think of a baby with an abacus.

“However Alan and his team at Harvard have shown that when we can build circuits of just a few hundred qubits, this will surpass the combined computing power of all the traditional computers in the world, each of which uses many billions of bits.

“It took standard computing 50 years to get to where we are today. I'm sure we can do it in much less time than that!”

White's University of Queensland co-authors on the Nature Chemistry paper are Benjamin P. Lanyon, Geoffrey G. Gillet, Michael E. Goggin, Marcelo P. Almeida, Benjamin J. Powell, and Marco Barbieri.

Financial support was provided by the Australian Research Council Federation Fellow and Centre of Excellence programs, and the US Army Research Office (ARO) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Initiative (IARPA).

Provided by University of Queensland

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