Will UCSB (Univ. of California at Santa Barbara) become the Silicon Valley of the quantum computing era? God only knows, but the initial signs are very promising.
Just this month, the journal “Science”, published by the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), awarded the title of “2010 Breakthrough of the Year” to the following paper in the journal “Nature”. The paper was written by a UCSB group under the tutelage of professors John M. Martinis and Andrew Cleland.
Quantum ground state and single-phonon control of a mechanical resonator by A. D. O’Connell, M. Hofheinz, M. Ansmann, Radoslaw C. Bialczak, M. Lenander, Erik Lucero, M. Neeley, D. Sank, H. Wang, M. Weides, J. Wenner, John M. Martinis & A. N. Cleland
link to abstract in Nature here
No arxiv version available (sigh!)
For a more detailed report, Prof. Martinis has put online the Ph.D. theses of 3 of his students
- A Macroscopic Mechanical Resonator Operated in the Quantum Limit, by Aaron O’Connell (2010).
Generation of Three-Qubit Entanglement Using Josephson Phase Qubits, by
Matthew Neeley (2010).
- Benchmarking the Superconducting Josephson Phase Qubit – The Violation of Bell’s Inequality, by Markus Ansmann (2009)
In a previous blog post, I mentioned that Neeley now works at Lincoln lab. I don’t know what the future plans of O’Connell and Ansmann are. Hopefully they will scatter far and wide, and be given the opportunity to continue to work developing a QC.
UCSB has become one of the premier hot beds of QC R&D, both experimental and theoretical. The history of super-successful laboratories like Bell Labs seems to indicate that theorists perform best if they are in close contact with experimentalists, and vice versa. UCSB has managed to achieve this explosive mixture, unlike Perimeter Institute and the other CHIMPS.
In the experimental physics side, UCSB is host to
- California NanoSystems Institute(wikipedia article here)
- Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation
- Materials Research Laboratory
In the theoretical physics side, UCSB is host to
- Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (wikipedia article here)
- Microsoft Station Q
The roster of the UCSB Physics Department Faculty is quite impressive, including not only quantum computer/solid state specialists like (David Awschalom, John Martinis, Andrew Cleland and Wim Van Dam(computer science theorist) ) but also some very famous String Theorists like Joe Polchinski and Nobel prize winner David Gross.
The only thing UCSB is missing are some QC startups. I hope those will start sprouting soon.
Last but not least, the city of Santa Barbara is a seashore paradise. It lies on the Pacific coast of California, pinched between the Pacific Ocean and the steeply-rising Santa Ynez Mountains.
Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city is sometimes referred to as the “American Riviera.” Temperatures range from
45-65 degs F in January
60-77 degs F in August.
No snow year round.
The city became notorious for an oil spill in 1969, but that was a long time ago, and almost no trace remains of that event. There are some oil-drilling derricks offshore, in the Santa Barbara Channel, but you can also see humpback whales there, as the channel is part of the route of their yearly migration. Santa Barbara was a favorite of Julia Child. She spent the last years of her life there.