SUSSP67: International Summer School in Quantum Information and Coherence

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Physics


SUSSP 67 is a Summer School for junior researchers in Quantum Information and Coherence. Its primary task is to provide training in this topic to PhD students and postdocs in Physics, although it will also provide effective training to researchers in some areas of Computer Science and Mathematics. The School will be held at the University of Strathclyde from 28th July - 9th August 2011, and lasts for 13 days, of which 10 will be teaching days. A cast of internationally-renowned lecturers has been recruited to provide the training via lectures and tutorials.The area of Physics covered by the School is one which will be crucial for 21st century technology. As information processing devices such as chips get smaller, they will naturally be tailored to exploit coherence - a property of systems that relies on their wave-like nature, and which only appears at the microscopic quantum level. Quantum information exploits this coherence property, and others such as entanglement exhibited by quantum systems, to provide a new ways of exchanging and processing information. Quantum key distribution can in principle guarantee that information transfer is secure, and has resulted in security products which are now at market. Useful quantum information processing is a more difficult challenge, but the potential benefits to society are large, as computers based on the laws of quantum physics can tackle tasks of a complexity not thought possible using standard computers.

Planned Impact

Impact of the School falls under two broad categories, economic and academic. The economic impact associated with a Summer School of this type is mostly mid-to-long-term in nature. Whilst it is still not clear whether the most ambitious goals of quantum information processing will be realised in the short term, it is certain that the ability to manipulate and control quantum coherence will become increasingly important for industry over the coming decades. Quantum effects have already played a critical role in spectroscopic applications and in devices such as the laser and the transistor, and are becoming ever more important with advances in miniaturisation and applications of quantum information ideas. We have already begun to see the advantages of quantum technology in the areas of key distribution and state-of-the-art metrology (e.g. quantum clocks). This key area of science underpins an at-present small UK industry sector. Toshiba UK and Hitachi both have UK Research Labs in applied quantum information working at near-to-market applications, and if future growth in the sector materialises, others will follow. We have designed the summer school in Quantum Information and Coherence to help ensure that there is a sufficient supply of well-trained researchers. By bringing in leading international experts on both quantum physical systems, and in the theoretical ideas for control and exploitation of quantum coherence, we will expose young UK researchers to the latest ideas in the field, thereby arming them with the training that they need to go on to make their own impact in the area. To that end this summer school will go some way to alleviating the possible needs of UK industry. An example of likely impacts is provided by the previous similar School, SUSSP44 on Quantum Dynamics of Simple Systems in 1994. Of the seven Strathclyde PhD students in quantum optics/information who attended SUSSP44 (approximately 100 attendees in total), one has been employed in in the quantum information industry overseas (and is a lecturer at this School), one has been employed in the UK quantum information industry (HP labs), one works at NPL in quantum coherence, and the other four are all employed in UK industry, all in initially Physics-based positions. Indeed, worldwide sales based on the output of one of these attendees have generated enormous revenue for the UK. The School is primarily training-based and not research, so impacts derived directly from research performed as a consequence of the School may be limited. However, there will be poster sessions at which participants can exhibit their research, and the school will also provide an environment in which researchers from diverse backgrounds may interact and compare ideas, perhaps forging new research partnerships during the school.


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