Quantum Bayesian Networks

December 5, 2010

Lincoln Laboratory Joins the Race To Build a Quantum Computer

Filed under: Uncategorized — rrtucci @ 8:23 am

Lincoln Lab (LL) is a laboratory funded by the DOD (Department of Defense) and partly run by MIT university. Since it is funded by DOD and is a favorite son of theirs, it has very deep pockets and its opinion holds much sway in US defense circles. Since it is partly run by MIT and is only about a 20 mile car ride away from the MIT campus, MIT engineers often collaborate fruitfully with LL staff. Like most defense labs, LL is often wasteful, bureaucratic and political. Nevertheless, it has done in the past some excellent, world-class work in the fields of electronics, optics, communications, radars, etc. For example, the gifted electrical engineer Ken Olsen got his start at LL. Olsen left his job at LL circa 1957 to start DEC, the company that made VAX computers.

Recently (Nov.30, 2010), a radio station in Santa Barbara, California (KCSB 91.9FM) interviewed a Lincoln Lab “Project Scientist” called Matthew Neeley. Let me quote from a web page of KCSB’s website:

Project Scientist at Lincoln Laboratory at MIT and former UC Santa Barbara Graduate Student in Physics, Matthew Neeley, Ph.D. talks about his recent paper in Nature on his team’s breakthrough in quantum computing. Dr. Neeley is an alumni of the Martinis Group at UC Santa Barbara. The breakthrough work has shown for the first time the entanglement of three quantum bits of information, or qubits. The long term goal in this is to create a high functioning quantum computer.

What type of project is Dr. Neeley leading at Lincoln Lab? Is it one that will try to extend the work of Martinis’ group? I sure hope so. (It’s not a forgone conclusion that he is, though. LL might have him there for a completely different reason. Much of the work done at LL is classified secret. I can’t just call LL and ask them what Neeley is doing.)

If LL is truly trying to build a scalable quantum computer, that could have important repercussions for the QC race. It might act as an incentive for some American defense companies to join the QC action, and try to get a piece of the QC pie. Cash rich China may see this as a challenge and put more effort into building their own QC.

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