Brent VanDevender

A Nuclear Physicist’s Guide to Quantum Computing

Speaker: Dr. Brent VanDevender,
DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM CDT

Online Event

Admission: Free, General Admission, open to the public, registration required.

The fundamental building block of a quantum computer is the quantum bit, or qubit. We will explore the nature of qubits and see how a collection of them can encode vastly more states than the same number of classical bits leading to a potential revolution in computing for certain classes of problem.

Unfortunately, a system of qubits is very difficult to achieve. The state of a qubit is delicate and easily destroyed by interaction with the environment. For one of the existing technologies, superconducting qubits, we will talk about the barriers to desired performance, still orders-of-magnitude beyond current state of the art, and some of the ways those can be removed.

Nuclear physicists imagine a future where general-purpose quantum computers will solve some of their hardest theoretical problems. While they are among the ultimate end users of such machines, it is not clear that they have much to contribute to the development. To the contrary, we will explore in this talk how quantum computing and related technologies can benefit nuclear and particle physicists, and how those physicists can also support the development of qubit technology. Applications of quantum sensors and qubits to the search for dark matter and elusive subatomic neutrinos will be presented. Finally, we will see how techniques from nuclear and particle physics can be used to improve the performance of qubit devices.

About the Speaker:
Brent VanDevender is an experimental nuclear and particle physicist with research interests divided between basic science and applications that benefit from his nuclear physics and radiation detection background. His primary basic science interest is in the mass of the neutrino and its implications for the fundamental symmetries of “new” physics that could supersede our current Standard Model of Particle Physics.

His applied physics interests include the safeguards and accountancy of fissile material in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle, and the detection of nuclear explosions which are a violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. More recently Dr. VanDevender has developed interest in the intersections of nuclear physics and quantum information science, especially where nuclear physics techniques can improve quantum devices, or where such devices can lead to dramatic improvements in sensitivity to detect new physics.

Dr. VanDevender is currently a Chief Physicist at the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he is the program manager for nuclear physics research. Dr. VanDevender is also an Afilliate Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Washington.

Listen to a podcast with Brent VanDevender to hear more: 

(Times are Central Standard Time)
6:00pm - Brief introductions
6:05pm - Talk by  Brent VanDevender
6:45pm - Q&A
7:00pm - End


IMPORTANT: Complete both registrations:

1 - 
Reserve on Meetup

2 - Register with the Zoom event

Chicago Chapter of the ACM