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Entering the quantum world

04 Jun 2013 Hamish Johnston
Not a black hole in sight: Raymond Laflamme in one of the IQC labs. The machine behind him makes diamonds for quantum computing experiments

By Hamish Johnston in Canada’s Quantum Valley

“We have entered the quantum world and we can control it” is how Raymond Laflamme characterizes the current quantum renaissance that is sweeping across many fields of physics. Laflamme is director of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at Canada’s University of Waterloo and he began his career at the University of Cambridge as a student of Stephen Hawking, working on cosmology.

But while at Los Alamos in the 1990s, Laflamme became a leading light in the quantum renaissance and eschewed cosmology for quantum information, developing schemes for quantum-error correction. He came to Waterloo in 2001 as founding director of the IQC and has since rolled up his sleeves and started an experimental research group He is currently setting up an electron-spin resonance lab to create quantum bits (qubits) using molecules in a solid.

I don’t think I have ever met someone as enthusiastic about quantum information as Laflamme, and it’s clearly infectious because the IQC keeps on growing and is in the process of moving into a brand new building here on campus (below).

The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre is home to Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing

The facility was partially funded by BlackBerry creator Mike Lazaridis, who is so confident that Waterloo will become a global centre for quantum technology that he has co-founded his own venture-capital firm called Quantum Valley Investments.

You can hear more from Laflamme in this podcast on quantum computing that we released earlier this year.

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