We are scientists working on quantum computers. Ask us anything!
Quantum computers would be a new kind of computer. Rather than using transistors as their basic building blocks, they use quantum stuff. This would let us solve certain problems much faster, including important problems for science and maths. You can find some explanations here and here. We are scientists working on the theory of how these computers can be kept error free. We are participants at the conference on Fault-Tolerant Quantum Technologies currently being held in Spain. Ask us anything about quantum, science, becoming a scientist, etc.
Here's some info on a few of our participants, though some of the rest will contribute too.
Dr James Wootton I work at the University of Basel, mostly on topological quantum computation. This will use particles called anyons that don't actually exist in real life. But we have ways to tease them into existence.
The most interesting thing about me is my project that lets you take part in our research. See the subreddit for more details: /r/decodoku.
I did a talk at the conference last week. Here is the bit where I tell everyone that Redditors are currently better at quantum error correction than scientists.
Dr. Steven Flammia
I’m an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney where I research quantum computation. My interests are quite varied, but mostly focus on how to find and fix the bugs in quantum computers. This is hard to do since we cannot naively “look inside” or we risk collapsing the delicate quantum superpositions that power the computation. Clever researchers have nonetheless figured out ways to do this so-called quantum error correction, and finding the best and most practical methods for it is a major theme of my research.
Dr Dan Browne
I am a researcher and academic at University College London, where I work on the theory of quantum computers and run a PhD programme on quantum technologies. Many of the strange features of quantum mechanics have been known for almost a hundred years, the aim of quantum technologies is to exploit these for new and improved kinds of computation, cryptography, sensing and imaging. Quantum effects tend to be very fragile, which is one reason we don’t see them at human scales. Here in Benasque in the Spanish Pyrenees, we are holding a small conference on fault-tolerant quantum technologies for international researchers collaborating to develop ways to make these fragile effects robust enough to be useful.
Dr. Ben Criger
I'm a researcher at the RWTH in Aachen, Germany and the TU Delft in the Netherlands, where I work on modifications to quantum fault-tolerance which makes it easier to implement in hardware, and modifications to the hardware that make it easier to implement quantum fault-tolerance. If you want to take a look at the nitty-gritty details of what I do, you can find most of it at github.com/bcriger.
Dr. Michael Kastoryano
I am a researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. I work mostly work on problem at having to do with finding clever ways of storing and manipulating quantum information, as well as formulating and explaining exotic physical systems using the laws of information theory.
Dr Earl. Campbell
I first got interested in quantum physics because it is more bizarre than anything else humanity has ever conceived (https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/about/people/earl-campbell/). By good fortune it also has useful practical applications like quantum computation! Now I work as a research fellow at Sheffield University (https://earltcampbell.com/) designing noise-tolerant quantum computers.
Dr Mercedes Gimeno-Segovia
I am a researcher at the University of Bristol and University of Calgary, and I spend my days thinking about how to build a large scale linear optical quantum computer. I've always loved science, but quantum computing has interested me since I first encountered quantum physics. After talking to some experimentalists I became fascinated by the prospects of large-scale linear optical quantum computing, and I begged my PhD supervisors to let me do my PhD project on it. I haven't looked back! I also write a blog on quantum computing and related subjects : www.quantaforbreakfast.wordpress.com
Dr. Ben Brown
I work at the University of Copenhagen on quantum error correction. Quantum error correction is necessary if we are ever to design a quantum computer that is robust to faults. I design and test different quantum error-correcting codes to look for the best and cheapest architecture for a quantum computer. I recently published an open source paper with very colourful figures that you can view here http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160729/ncomms12302/full/ncomms12302.html (Note: This Ben didn't actually get round to answering any questions.)