IAS Distinguished Lecture

Quantum Computation at Microsoft


Quantum mechanics is a fantastic resource for computing, both at software and hardware levels. The classical control of a large quantum system reminds us of the classical – quantum crossover. Avoiding decoherence requires near-perfect border control and error correction. The better the individual qubit building block, the less difficult it becomes to create large scale computing systems. At Microsoft Research, the speaker investigates the entire stack of a quantum computing system. He focuses on realizing stable building blocks with intrinsic insensitivity to noise. He uses topology as a mechanism to protect quantum information against decoherence. In particular, he pursues Majorana zero-modes as topologically protected qubits.

About the speaker

Prof. Leo Kouwenhoven received his PhD in Mesoscopic Physics from Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in 1992. He furthered his postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley in 1993 and moved to the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences as an Academy Researcher afterwards. In 1999, he returned to TU Delft and is currently a Professor of Physics. He was also appointed as the Principal Researcher by Microsoft Research in 2016.

Prof. Kouwenhoven's research focuses on topological effects in solid state devices such as the emergence of Majoranas and topological qubits currently. He was elected a member of the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation, a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the Royal Dutch Society for the Sciences.


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