Constructing a practical quantum computer by Winfried K. Hensinger

Computers built with quantum technology (a quantum computer) may fundamentally change what a computer may be able to accomplish. Many problems are so complicated that even the fastest supercomputer would currently take millions of years to provide an answer. Optimising financial transactions, machine learning, creating new medicines, understand protein folding and breaking codes are just some of the problems where the existence of a quantum computer could change everything.

The challenge to build a universal quantum computers has been described as difficult as manned space travel to Mars. By inventing a new method where voltages are applied to a quantum computer microchip, Professor Winfried Hensinger and his team at the University of Sussex have managed to remove one of the biggest barriers traditionally faced to build a large-scale quantum computer – having to precisely align billions of lasers to carry out quantum gate operations,. More recently, his group unveiled the first industrial blueprint on how to build a large-scale quantum computer.

Prof Hensinger will explain both challenges and opportunities in developing practical quantum computers.

Prof Winfried Hensinger obtained his PhD at the University of Queensland in the field of nonlinear quantum dynamics with ultracold atoms. During his PhD, he spent an extended period at NIST in Gaithersburg, USA in the group of Nobel laureate William Phillips. He then spent three years as a FOCUS Research Fellow at the University of Michigan developing ways to scale ion trap quantum computing. In 2005, he moved to the University of Sussex, where he is now Professor of Quantum Technologies. Hensinger heads the Sussex Ion Quantum Technology Group and he is the director of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies. Hensinger’s group works on constructing a practical trapped-ion quantum computer as well developing portable quantum sensors.