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Ms. Allison MacDonald

D-Wave Systems
Date of Live Presentation: Tue, 24-Mar-2020
Location: York University


Quantum computing, quantum annealing and quantum simulation


We hear of a major quantum computing advance nearly every week, as many companies, universities and even governments are racing to harness this new paradigm to solve our most difficult computation problems (some of which are intractable with current technology). In this talk, I will discuss some of the scientific and technical challenges that must be overcome to build a quantum processor, specifically in the context of D-Wave’s superconducting quantum annealing processor. I will also describe several types of real-world problems that can be solved through quantum annealing and discuss some of recent experimental results. In particular, we will look at simulating quantum phase transitions on the D-Wave processor, a pursuit that brings to mind Richard Feynman’s original vision of quantum computation.

Short bio

Allison MacDonald completed her B.Sc. in physics at McMaster University in 2012, where she built a prototype satellite receiver for the QEYSSAT cryptography mission and searched for the Higgs as part of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. She earned her M.Sc. in condensed matter physics from the University of Alberta in 2015, where she studied the interaction between light and nanomechanical motion at ultralow temperatures. Allison is currently a Senior Experimental Physicist at D-Wave Systems, where she is developing new superconductor device technology to improve the quantum annealing processor performance, and expanding the cryogenic qualification capability of D-Wave’s integrated circuit fabrication process.

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