Carl Sagan – ‘A Glorious Dawn’ ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed)

OK, this may be even cooler than the violation of Bell’s inequalities in Phase qubits.

(Via Bad Astronomy)

“The sky calls to us
If we do not destroy ourselves
We will one day venture to the stars”

Almost makes me cry… Here’s to the amazing Carl Sagan.

Violation of Bell’s inequality in Josephson phase qubits

Very cool…another step towards demonstrating that Josephson phase/flux systems can be treated as macroscopic coherent quantum objects.

Violation of Bell’s inequality in Josephson phase qubits

I was wondering if you could demonstrate this the other day!

From Science Daily:

The measurement of a Bell violation in a superconducting circuit was recently stated to be the next primary challenge for the superconducting qubit community, according to Martinis.

Martinis said: “This experiment has met this challenge, achieved by performing a very demanding measurement on a pair of Josephson qubits, a measurement that requires excellent control over qubit state preparation, qubit entanglement, and very high fidelity single-shot state measurements of the entangled qubits. It directly proves that quantum mechanics is the only possible description for the behavior of a macroscopic electrical circuit.”


Via The Quantum Pontiff:

What an AWESOME idea for a conference!

Coherence in Superconducting Qubits 2010


…I shouldn’t get so excited about these things, but, but… just look at the topic list! 😀

This conference will foster discussion and collaboration among investigators stimulating:

* A fuller, more accurate understanding of the types of defects limiting coherence in superconducting JJ qubits; including the mechanisms by which they occur, how they are created in fabrication, the mechanisms by which they affect and interact with the qubit, and the qubit performance characteristics they limit (coherence times T1 and T2, Rabi contrast, etc.),
* Development of advanced methods for definitive characterization and measurement of defects in the presence of other defects;
* Discovery of new low-defect materials and constructions, and the means for their fabrication;
* Understanding of ultimate, coherent qubit geometries begged by the physics, and the means for their fabrication.
* Improvements in electronics and systems enabling high-fidelity qubit control and measurement; and
* Enhanced scientific vision for the most effective means to substantially extend coherence

Ooooh, nice. Hope I can find the money for this. Singularity Summit 2009 might just have me bankrupt!

CMMP 2009

It’s that time again! The UK’s hottest low temperature conference…Condensed Matter and Materials Physics 2009. Venue: Warwick University.


Why not join me for some unmissable Physics action – just click on the link above to sign up. I’ll hopefully by then have some form of poster with results from measurements on Ferromagnetic Josephson Junctions. By the way the abstract deadline is in 2 days time…

World’s first on-chip quantum computer! Oh wait…

So I opened my freshly delivered copy of this month’s Physics World and began to mull over the articles whilst enjoying a Kitkat. On the first page I found an piece about Ion Trap quantum computing proclaiming that “Researchers in the US claim to have created the first small scale device that can perform all the steps needed for large-scale quantum computation” referring to NIST’s latest ion trap chip.

You can read about it here:
Scalable ion traps for quantum information processing

Here is the PhysicsWorld web version of the article:
Tiny device is first complete ‘quantum computer’

Haven’t superconducting flux/charge qubits have been able to do this for ages – what’s all this ‘first’ business? Besides, didn’t Yale do something similar a few months back? Oh no, wait a minute, they actually ran an algorithm…
And that’s without even considering the advances in AQC, hmmm.

Anyway, that didn’t bother me too much. But then the article goes on to say:

“The implication was that quantum computers could operate at ultra-high speeds, which could be applied to solving complex problems like cracking some of today’s most widely used encryption codes.”

Is that the BEST application you can think of to run on a QC? Really? Come on… Get creative! Who cares about cracking RSA anyway? They’ll just keep adding more digits 😉

In fairness the magazine also had quite a nice article about the violation of Bell’s inequalities and some of the potential loopholes in those experiments. Which made me happier.

UK Transhumanists patiently listen to me ramble about QC for 2 hours!

Anyone want to watch me embarrass myself royally as I try to explain quantum computing and AI at the UK Transhumanist meeting? Thought so! This is the first of about 10 of these videos, they should all be linked from this one via YouTube.

Warning: The talk is over 100 minutes long and contains intense scenes of metaphysical speculation, which may not be suitable for children (or the QIP community).

Here’s a nice picture from the talk:


It was actually quite a difficult talk to present, as the audience was extremely broad. I had some people tell me that they’d really enjoyed the Physics section, and others that they hadn’t been able to follow any of that part but that it sounded good anyway. There were over 40 people turned up (I don’t know the exact number), which is good as it means that the meetings are becoming more popular.

Experimental insights: Steampunk fridge!

We were having problems lowering the Heliox insert into the storage dewar, the vacuum can would touch the top of the liquid Helium before the seal could be made, resulting in a rapid and somewhat violent boil-off of Liquid Helium. Frozen fingers ensued, as did cursing at the wastage of gas. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of said shenanigans, mainly because I was trying to desparately help get the seal made at the time.

But I do have a picture of our cunning solution:


A nifty set of bellows made from the flexible hose stuff that you attach to tumble dryers and some nice adapters to mount it onto the fridge fittings, courtesy of our technicians. I take no responsibility for the crazy MacGyver-ness this time, it was all my colleagues’ doing 🙂

(You can actually buy vacuum bellows from places like Kurt J. Lesker, but they cost hundreds of pounds, and this would probably have been specified as a custom job anyway, which can sometimes increase the price by an order of magnitude).

Anyway, the hose confines the boiling gas as you lower the insert. Which seems to work rather well. It also adds a nice steampunk touch to an otherwise commercial fridge assembly.

Presentation on Quantum Computing to UKTA

ukh+I’m giving a talk in London on the 12th September to the UKTA (UK Transhumanist Association) for a regular event known as UKH+. There will be discussion sessions before and after the talk in a lovely nearby pub (The Marlborough Arms).

The talk will be about quantum computing: What quantum computers can do, and more importantly what they CAN’T do, how to build them and how they might be useful in several areas of accelerating technologies. The talk will also address some of the interesting debate around the role of quantum mechanics in consciousness and how this may have consequences in the creation of human-level artificial intelligence.

I’m expecting some lively discussion regarding the final points!

Here is some info on the talk:
(Posted in several places so I’ll link them all)

Facebook event
London Futurists forum

If you would like to attend please feel free – follow the links above to find times and places 🙂