This year's QuICC Summer School took place at the University of York from 13th - 17th August, 2018.
A week during summer in York is normally spent exploring the many sights and attractions that the historic town has to offer. This year, however, almost 50 early stage researchers and students found themselves in the ancient city to learn about quantum science at the QuICC Summer School organised by Cohort 9 of the Imperial CQD CDT in August 2018.
The QuICC Summer School was hosted at the University of York. A series of fascinating and varied lectures were on offer in topics from quantum foundations to quantum biology. Being based at the EPSRC hub for quantum communications, it was only right that the school kicked off with a passionate lecture from the leader of the hub: Professor Tim Spiller. Tim briefly outlined the advantages of quantum communications over classical and then gave an overview of how the researchers at the University of York are achieving their goals. This was followed by a fascinating lecture series from another University of York faculty member, Roger Colbeck, entitled: Are wavefunctions real? The purpose of these lectures was to give a flavour of how seemingly philosophical questions (such as the reality of the wavefunction) can be turned into precise technical questions, and show how various assumptions allow such questions to be answered. Finally on the first day, Professor Irene D'Amico (also of University of York) treated the attendees to an introduction to the world of spintronics, teaching the students about information transfer using spin chains.
Day two of the summer school started in style as Dr. Mikko Möttönen, who had come all the way from Aalto University in Finland, taught the attendees about the basic principles and engineering challenges of one of the most promising architectures for the realisation of a quantum computer: superconducting circuits.
The final day of lectures capped off a wonderful academic program. First Dr. Viv Kendon, from the University of Durham, taught about the complexities of computing in general and then expanded to explain about her area of expertise: computation by continuous time evolution. This was followed by an astonishing lecture series by Professor Johnjoe McFadden on the relatively new field of quantum biology! In this lecture series Johnjoe reviewed the recent advances in the field and sought to appeal to the concepts of quantum mechanics to answer that most fundamental question of biology: what is life?
It was not all work and no play at the school, however, as the students were encouraged to explore the city in their own time, treated to two wonderful meals at top class restaurants, and even wowed by a guided tour of the train museum by our very own Cameron McGarry, who has his own membership to the museum.
If this sounds a program for you (with or without the trip to the train museum), then be on the look out for next year’s QuICC summer school, which will be organised by CQD CDT Cohort 10(!)
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