Moving over to a new blog

In case anyone still reads this (!) or finds me online through this channel, I’d like to post a link to my new blog at my central website:

On this new blog I’ll be talking about all the stuff I have been getting up to in my post Physics and Cake life. Enjoy!

AQC / AQO video talk

Here is a video lecture that I gave a while ago about Adiabatic Quantum Computing and Adiabatic Quantum Optimization (specifically describing some cool things that you can do with D-Wave hardware) to my former colleagues at the University of Birmingham. This is a slightly higher level talk than the previous ones I have posted. Thanks again to my kind colleague and good friend (soon to be Dr.) Dominic Walliman for editing and posting these videos!

The talk is entitled ‘Playing with adiabatic hardware: From designer potentials to quantum brains’ although it certainly isn’t quite as ‘brain’ focused as some of the previous talks I have given, heh 🙂


Here are the other parts (they should be linked from that one, but just in case people can’t find them):

AQC Part 2
AQC Part 3
AQC Part 4
AQC Part 5
AQC Part 6

P.S. I wasn’t trying to be mean to the gate model (or computer scientists for that matter) – it just kinda happened…

P.P.S Some of the notation is a bit off – the J’s should be K’s to be consistent with the literature I believe…

Clash of the superconducting gate-model giants…

Flux qubits have been basking in the limelight recently…. two papers appearing on the ArXiv within a day of each other. Both papers investigate initialising, controlling and probing entangled states of a 3-qubit system:

Preparation and Measurement of Three-Qubit Entanglement in a Superconducting Circuit

Generation of Three-Qubit Entangled States using Superconducting Phase Qubits

Are Yale and SB going head-to-head in a gate-model phase/flux qubit battle? Looks like it…But who will win? Who has the highest T2?! Place your bets now!

More interestingly, this means we have yet another datapoint on the graph of number of successfully entangled sc gate model qubits versus time (in years). Presumably with 3 data points we can roughly gauge the scaling. I feel a plot may be required…and probably a log-lin scale.

The weather

It’s all that Brits talk about, so the saying goes. Well it’s pretty much all that’s been in the UK news lately. So seeing as I don’t have much Physics to talk about today (well, I have lots planned but nothing written) I will reinforce this stereotype. First let me put this into perspective: we’ve had about 20-30cm of snow. It’s not actually *that* much – but it is the worst snowfall in the UK (specifically London) in 18 years.

The cost incurred to the UK infrastructure due to snow is huge. All London bus services were cancelled. We don’t have tyre chains or spikes here, so vehicles tend to go sideways. People have very little experience of driving in these conditions, which makes things worse (as people panic). The loss of man-hours by employees missing work impacts the economy, and even if they can get to work, many parents must stay at home to look after their children due to the closure of 6000 schools nationwide. The health service has been suffering too, and is now delaying non-urgent operations because of the deluge of snow-related accidents. Not to mention the cost of all the lawsuits. Also we appear to be running out of our main mode of defence – rock salt grit. In the last few days we’ve spread more grit than during winter 2007/8.

I often like to foray into pondering life as a Type I civilisation citizen, where we could control global energy resources and natural phenomena such as weather conditions. Isn’t it odd to imagine controlling weather on a global scale, harnessing its power and rendering it a predictable phenomenon? What a strange world that would be. We would probably never have snow (at least not in the UK). It would be totally banned. There’d probably be special holiday resorts, most likely ski resorts, doubling up as places you would visit to experience ‘snow’ (as in falling-from-the-sky-type snow, not artificially generated stuff).

Anyway I managed to get to work, so here are some pretty pictures of Birmingham University campus in the snow:

Aston Webb building:

Physics Building:

Main library:


I thought it would be nice to include a pic from my PhD graduation (a couple of weeks ago), if just to show that I do occasionally leave the lab 🙂 I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, and unlike my undergraduate ceremony it didn’t rain. I might put an electronic copy of my thesis on the Arxiv and the University server at some point.

I’m off to LT25 Conference next week, so I’m hoping there’ll be lots of interesting people there to chat to. I may even indulge in some Liveblogging, if I can get wifi access, or get my mobile broadband to work.


I suppose I’d better use the first post to explain a little about this blog.
I’m a University Research Fellow working in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Birmingham, UK.

I’ve decided that I spend enough time both practicing physics and reading about interesting developments in various related fields that I can contribute a little to the ever-increasing pool of information freely available here on the ‘blogosphere’ and the internet in general. Why a blog? I like to post things as I find them, and I enjoy a dynamic, interactive medium. Why cake? Well, I like cake, and I always think that mulling over a difficult physics problem always seems easier with a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake.

So what could one potentially expect from this blog?

News from the lab – I haven’t been able to find many blogs written from an experimentalist’s point of view, so I thought I’d write my own. Expect to find pictures of lovely lab equipment and interesting devices along with stories of experiment success and tales from those days where it just won’t work (more often the case).

Physics developments – I like to think that I am ‘fairly’ in touch with the wider perspective of advancements in the field of physics (particularly solid state physics) so I hope that I can do some good explaining these to both a scientific and a non-scientific audience.

Book reviews – I’m quite interested in popular science and the public understanding of science in general, so I will potentially be writing comments on any books I read of this sort.

Links – I like to hunt down interesting, unusual and comical Physics and Engineering related links on the world wide web.

Cake – There may also be random posts pertaining to cake.