December 12, 2014
Colloquium Speaker: Steven L. Rolston
Dr. Steven Rolston received his B.S in 1980 from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. in nuclear physics in 1986 from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook. Following post-docs at the Univ. of Washington and Harvard Univ., he joined the research staff at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1988. He joined the faculty of Physics Department at the University of Maryland in 2003, where he is currently a professor and Co-Director of the Joint Quantum Institute. His research interests include laser cooling and trapping, Bose Einstein condensation, optical lattices, quantum computing and communication, and ultracold plasmas and Rydberg gases. He has published more than 100 refereed articles, and is a Fellow of the APS, the OSA, and the AAAS.
Twenty years ago mathematician Peter Shor proved that a computer based on the laws of quantum mechanics could in principle factor large numbers in polynomial time, a problem believed to be exponentially difficult for classical computation. Given the importance of this problem to modern cryptography, it understandably stimulated a great deal of excitement and effort. Dozens of candidate systems have been proposed and many worked on, but we are still many years away from a machine that threatens our financial transactions. In this talk I will highlight the challenges to build large, controllable systems that maintain their quantum character, and look at where we are, where we will be going, and what we have learned along the way.