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Decoherence and the Quantum to Classical Transition

Decoherence and the Quantum to Classical Transition

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When Mar 11, 2020
from 01:00 pm to 02:00 pm
Speaker Tom Marshall
Speaker Information Tom Marshall is the team lead of the Architecture Office (AO) in Software Infrastructure. The AO coordinates the physical structure of the software that powers the Bloomberg Professional terminal, and also implements existing policy and contributes to the design of ongoing policy to govern that software. The AO has a strong educational component to its mission, both in formal training and in informal collaboration and consulting. Tom has been following quantum computing since 2013, giving talks internally as well as at local universities, and is involved in quantum-technology community outreach activities. Since 2017, he has been asked by the CTO to keep Bloomberg LP informed on the emerging technology. Before starting his software career with Bear Stearns in 2000, Tom worked as a physicist for Philips Research in Westchester, NY, where he studied a wide range of semiconductor materials and devices, building mathematical models and developing complex data analysis techniques as needed to characterize and predict the behavior of novel systems, including electrooptic materials and semiconductor LEDs and lasers. He has 18 patents, 54 public publications and presentations, and over 60 Philips internal publications. Tom got his PhD in physics from SUNY Stony Brook while at Philips Research. Tom lives in New York City with his wife, Kathy Keneally. His interests include theater, music, art, physics, hiking, and bicycle riding.
Where 1311 HN
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Abstract

Decoherence - the decay of entangled quantum states - is one of the most important fundamental and technological challenges in developing real-world quantum computing hardware. As is true for many aspects of quantum technology, decoherence is understood very well at the "engineering" level. For example, one can readily calculate the rate of thermal decoherence, and there are calculations to suggest that entanglement is not stable in the presence of gravitational radiation (PRL 111, 021302 (2013)).

There is much less agreement on the interpretation of decoherence, and what is sometimes called "the measurement problem". We'll review what we do know about the process from the perspective of path integrals; mention a few key - and thought-provoking - experimental results; and conclude with a highly speculative perspective on what decoherence might be, including its potentially central role in the quantum-to-classical transition. Our purpose is not to convince you that this perspective is necessarily correct, but rather to highlight our degree of ignorance on the topic, and to celebrate the rich fields of research that are still open.

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