Solving quantum mechanics to make qubits for a quantum computer…and then using it for quantum mechanics

Thomas Baker, University of Victoria
Location: AQ 3149

Friday, 16 February 2024 02:30PM PST


Simulating quantum mechanics requires the solution of oftentimes large systems. Once the ground-state wavefunction is solved, experimentally measured properties can be extracted from the solution. The problem is provably hard to solve, but we must find ways to get better solutions for future technologies. All of our currently useful quantum algorithms require approximations to solve large-scale quantum mechanical systems.

Quantum computing is a new way to look at this problem and one that might offer better ways to simulate quantum chemistry. In this talk, I review some strategies to make and control quantum states from a theoretical perspective and talk about how quantum mechanical methods can be used to construct qubits and qubit networks. I then discuss the need for quantum error correction to fully make use of the quantum computer without noise. Lastly, I will discuss how the quantum computer could be useful in simulating quantum mechanical systems.


Thomas E. Baker holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Quantum Computing for Modelling of Molecules and Materials in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and also the Department of Chemistry at the University of Victoria. He is also an affiliate member of the Centre for Advanced Materials and Related Technologies (CAMTEC) at the University of Victoria. He has a broad background in density functional theory, quantum algorithms, quantum information, and entanglement renormalization methods. He is the lead-developer of the DMRjulia entanglement renormalization library and has written introductory materials for it.

In 2021, he was a Fulbright U.S.~Scholar at the University of York in the United Kingdom. From 2017-2020, Prof.~Baker was the Prized Postdoctoral Scholar in Quantum Sciences and Technology at Institut quantique à l'Université de Sherbrooke.

Prof.~Baker is a member of the education committee for the NSERC CREATE program in Quantum Computing affiliated with Quantum BC. He is the Principal Investigator of the quantum photonics, algorithms, light-matter interactions for technology (QuALITy) collaboration at the University of Victoria. He remains committed to building a diverse research group capable of handling the multitude of challenges related to his wide research interests.