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Seth Lloyd Will Take Us Into the Quantum Realm at COSM 2021

Dr. Lloyd, an MIT physicist, will tackle "Quantum Computing: Does it Change Everything, or Anything?"

Quantum physics has captured the imagination of culture, despite the fact that it upends everyday physics. Take, for instance, Marvel’s Ant Man (2015), whose creators consulted with physicists in their seemingly-absurd application of quantum physics to a fictional superhero universe.

Quantum science will be one of the many topics explored at COSM 2021 this November. To aid in that exploration, physicist Seth Lloyd will be joining to discuss, “Quantum Computing: Does it Change Everything, or Anything?”

Dr. Lloyd earned his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University, and is currently a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. His research interests lie in quantum information and control theory. He has authored and co-authored over 200 scientific publications, and is the author of Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos.

Here’s a glimpse into his incredible work in quantum information from MIT:

Dr. Lloyd is a principal investigator at the Research Laboratory of Electronics. He has performed seminal work in the fields of quantum computation and quantum communications, including proposing the first technologically feasible design for a quantum computer, demonstrating the viability of quantum analog computation, proving quantum analogs of Shannon’s noisy channel theorem, and designing novel methods for quantum error correction and noise reduction.

As a teaser, here’s a video of Dr. Lloyd discussing the origin of complexity in the universe, and how quantum computing can shed light on that topic:

Here is a partial transcript:

There are levels of ability in processing information. So, for instance, computers can be more or less powerful. So, for instance,…the thermostat is performing a simple information processing operation, but not as complex as the one that’s going on in your iPhone or in your desktop. And there’s a kind of threshold of computation. Once you pass over this threshold – which is called the ability to perform universal computation – then a universal computer can do any kind of information processing that we can actually conceive of. For instance, not only can a universal computer do things like play Grand Theft Auto, locate you using your GPS, do word processing, number crunching, simulate the operations of DNA, at some point in the future it might be able to simulate the workings of your brain, it might be able to simulate the future behavior of society, there doesn’t seem to be anything that a universal computer can’t do in principle. 

So what does a computer need in order to be able to compute? Well, it needs bits, it needs energy to be able to perform the computation, and it needs a program. The program is a set of instructions that tells the computer what it should be doing. In other words, a program is itself just some sequence of bits…A program is just a sequence of bits of information, but special bits that tell the computer what to do.

Now my claim is that by thinking about computation and programs, we can get to the essence of the origin of complexity in the universe.

COSM 2021 will be taking place November 10-12, 2021 in Bellevue, Washington, where some of the brightest minds in business, economics, and technology will together envision the future. Register now to reserve your spot. Best deal is before October 31.


Caitlin Bassett

Caitlin Bassett is a Policy Analyst and Communications Liaison for the Center for Science & Culture and the Center on Wealth & Poverty. Her main areas of focus are in Big Tech and its impact on human freedom, as well as homelessness and mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys delving into Lewis and Tolkien, cosmology, and running around historical sites on the East Coast. She graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor’s in Politics and Policy.

Seth Lloyd Will Take Us Into the Quantum Realm at COSM 2021