PsiQuantum is a silicon valley based company founded in 2016 by our colleague Professor Terry Rudolph together with three other academics, Jeremy O’Brien, Mark Thompson, and Pete Shadbolt.
Building a useful quantum computer – which will take around a million physical qubits, despite what you might hear in the press! – requires extraordinary collaboration between scientists and engineers. It is also incredibly expensive. PsiQuantum predicts it will build a million-qubit fault-tolerant photonic quantum computer within five years.
Prof. Rudolph will talk about the progress in both physics and engineering of their approach at PsiQuantum, which is based around photonic qubits, and then touch on issues of the quantum ecosystem as a whole – how to deal with the hype and inevitable chicanery it attracts, and what is the most responsible way for us to use this new but scarce and expensive technology when it arrives?
Terry Rudolph was forced into a basic science degree by cruel parents, who failed to appreciate the merits of him becoming a pro squash player. Choosing physics and math (because they seemed hardest) he attended 6 lectures over three years. One was the final Advanced Quantum Theory lecture, where the lecturer ruined Terry’s intellectual happiness (for the next 20+ years) by presenting a proof of “quantum nonlocality”.
After finishing his undergraduate at the university of Queensland in 1994, a year of backpacking found him penniless and sleeping on a street in downtown Toronto, at which point doing a PhD seemed like a reasonable alternative. Fortunately his PhD mother was extremely lax and let him study the nascent field of quantum information. As he was an early adopter, little actual talent was required to become an expert, so upon completion of his PhD in 1998 he moved straight to lecturing the topic for two years at the University of Toronto.
This was followed by a postdoc in Vienna for a year followed by facilitating the collapse of Bell Labs’ basic research group from within for two years, after which he came to Imperial College in 2003 on an Advanced Fellowship. There he continued his intellectual exponential decay, becoming a professor in 2012. In 2016 he was violently wrenched from this peaceful state of affairs when he took leave from academia and co-founded PsiQuantum.