Look out Below! Computing on the Small Scale

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Description

Jonathan Gross and I decided to submit abstracts to the 2015 UNM Shared Knowledge Conference primarily to help us develop our speaking abilities, particularly with respect to giving talks for a general audience. I enjoyed the challenge of explaining why the public might care about quantum computation, especially since the talks were capped at roughly 12 minutes. At the end of the conference, I learned I had taken 2nd place in the speaking competition that day, which was a pleasant surprise!

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Abstract

We have witnessed in recent decades the dramatic decrease in the size of computers - from desktops to laptops, to smartphones and smartwatches, computing power and technology has gotten smaller and smaller. What are some of the challenges we face in building tiny devices? How can we overcome them? I will discuss one popular idea - using atoms themselves as the basic building blocks of a “quantum computer”. While we probably will never witness the genesis of a “quantum Macbook”, we may see the use of quantum information processors to solve interesting and (currently) difficult problems.