The Data Visionaries Series: Stephanie Simmons

April 4, 2018 - 11:30am to 12:30pm SFU's Big Data Hub, Presentation Studio, ASB 10900

Stephanie Simmons, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nanoelectronics, Simon Fraser University


Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) silicon transistors—the essential building block of modern data-processing electronics—cannot shrink much further without being rendered inoperable by quantum mechanics. This classical-quantum threshold presents a tremendous opportunity. If we harness quantum mechanics—rather than attempt to avoid it—we could build a quantum computer. Quantum computers manipulating quantum bits—or “quibits”— opens up access to 'impossibly big' data: a mere 300 quantum bits could encode more bits of data than there are atoms in the universe.

During this talk, Professor Stephanie Simmons will discuss quantum computing approaches (including her own, based upon CMOS-compatible silicon photonics), how quantum technologies will change our lives in a very fundamental way, and provide a snapshot of the accelerating worldwide race to build a prototype.

If your audience only remembered one thing from your Data Visionaries presentation, what you want them to remember?
Quantum computers are on the horizon and will offer incredible computational power—but only for specific computational tasks. This talk will explain what gives quantum computers their power and what sorts of computational tasks quantum computers will unlock.

Why are you most passionate about big data?
Information is physical; it is stored and processed according to physical laws. Harnessing the limits of these physical laws—in the form of quantum information processing—will unleash the next data-processing technological revolution.


As a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Quantum Nanoelectronics, Stephanie Simmons works on silicon-based spin quibits with the particular aim to develop CMOS-compatible scalable quantum technologies. Her work on silicon quibits was awarded a Physics World Top Ten Breakthrough of the Year of 2013, and again in 2015. Simmons’ work has been covered by the New York Times, CBC, BBC, Scientific American, the New Scientist, and others. She earned her PhD in Materials Science at Oxford University in 2011.

There will be a networking reception following the talk.

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