Quantum Computing with Jungsang Kim
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Quantum Computing with Jungsang Kim

My name is Jungsang Kim and my main research
interest is to think about how we’re going to construct a quantum computer, which computes
and solves problems on very different physical principles compared to a traditional computer
that we know about. Unlike the classical computers, where information
is stored in terms of zero or one, the quantum computers can represent states of both one
and zero at the same time. Using quantum principles to computer is as
different from classical computing as maybe a classical supercomputer is from an abacus. Quantum mechanical principles allow you to
search through this massive solution space simultaneously in a much more efficient way
because you can have states that occupy different possibilities all at the same time. An example of that would be imagine you are
trying to solve a puzzle, but if you’re trying to randomly put it together and see if you
can find a solution, classically it would take so many tries that it’s almost infeasible. In quantum mechanical ways we can do this
in a way that all possible configurations are stored to quantum memory, and then we
can actually manipulate these states in a very careful way so that all the non-answers
fade away very quickly and all the real answers emerge in a systematic way. There are many experimental approaches that
are trying to realize quantum computing. Over the last maybe five years or so, a couple
of systems have really come out as some of the leading systems. Here at Duke, we are utilizing individually
trapped atoms. These are individual atoms that we suspend
using an electromagnetic field in ultra-high vacuum. And we use the internal states of those atoms
as the quantum representation of information, or qubits. We utilize laser beams to manipulate those
states, and we have shown that all the elementary operations that are needed to build much larger
quantum computers can actually be constructed in a very effective way using very practical
technological tools. Along with my collaborators at various institutions
over the last 10 years, we have raised grants on the order of 60 million dollars that help
us start to transition from those scientific discoveries into much more practical systems. And we’ve come to a point where we believe
that even commercially viable systems can be put together. That’s not just us, many other companies,
big companies like Google, IBM and Microsoft and Intel are starting to make big investments. So we spun out a company along with my collaborators
named IonQ. We are currently unique in the sense that
we are the only ones who are trying to accomplish this using trapped ions – atomic ions. Our collaboration actually has a small, five
qubit quantum computer that is very generally programmable. And we think we know how to take this system
and turn it into a much bigger system that is reliable and stable and much more scalable. There is room for quantum computers to drive
a lot of innovation – materials design, maybe chemical design, drug design and those types
of applications. And that could have a big impact on our commercial
activities and everybody’s lives.

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