past event

The Quantum Future

Quantum mechanics, the counterintuitive brainchild of early-20th-century physics, is poised to take over technologies of the 21st century.

Exploiting the physics of Einstein and his successors, quantum computing has potential to revolutionize problem solving and information processing. The science has evolved from mathematical speculation to multi-billion-dollar hardware development projects that, one day soon, could model complex systems, decrypt sensitive data, and recognize deep patterns in living systems. Meanwhile, quantum physics effects are also contributing to development of new materials with striking properties that can be exploited for innovations in energy-management technologies, light-based devices such as solar cells and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and platforms for quantum information processing.

All of these developments are moving much faster than expected. The major players in the information industry, such as Google, IBM, and Microsoft, have quantum computing development groups, and a number of startups have launched. With the science and technology taking such quantum leaps, it seems that the future will indeed be quantum. In this symposium, we will discuss the promise, limitations, and the state of the art of quantum computing and quantum materials. We will explore four questions:

  1. What is quantum computing, and what are quantum materials?
  2. When will they happen?
  3. Why do they matter?
  4. How will they impact our lives?

This public symposium is geared at an educated and curious lay audience with no formal training in quantum mechanics. A distant memory of high-school physics may help but is not required or expected. We will begin with the basics, define all terminology, and refrain from jargon. Audience discussion, with ample question-and-answer periods with our invited expert physicists, is central to our educational approach. The goal is for our audience to leave the symposium with an understanding of how quantum mechanics has set the stage for an exciting technological revolution and how quantum computing and quantum materials will catalyze innovations that can change our lives. We hope our audience will become equipped to understand and appreciate the headlines of the coming years heralding the progress of quantum research and innovation.

Confirmed symposium speakers and experts

  • Antoine Georges: Director, Center for Computational Quantum Physics, Flatiron Institute of the Simons Foundation; Professor, Collège de France; 2006 Europhysics Prize in condensed matter recipient
  • Blake Johnson: Control Systems Delivery Lead, IBM; former Vice President of Quantum Engineering, Rigetti Computing; former Senior Scientist, Raytheon
  • Barbara Jones: Research Staff Member, IBM Research Almaden; 2001 Tribute to Women in Industry (TWIN) award recipient; Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Honorary Member of the Aspen Center for Physics
  • Douglas Stone: Deputy Director, Yale Quantum Institute, Carl A. Morse Professor of Applied Physics and Physics, Yale University; 2014 recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science for his book Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian
  • Louis Taillefer: Program Director for Quantum Materials, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR); 2017 Simon Memorial Prize winner for “pioneering contributions to the field of unconventional superconductivity”
  • Matthias Troyer: Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft; Vice President, Aspen Center for Physics; Rahman Prize for Computational Physics recipient “for pioneering numerical work in many seemingly intractable areas of quantum many body physics”
  • Company leaders working at the forefront of quantum technology

Monday, March 9, 2020, Aspen Meadows Resort
5:45pm–6:30pm: Registration and Drinks
6:30pm–9:00pm: Dinner and Quantum Tutorials and Discussions

Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Koch Seminar Building
8:30am–9:00am: Continental Breakfast
9:00am–12:00pm: Quantum Tutorials and Discussions, including Nourishment Breaks

$250 per adult or $150 per youth/student
Includes beverages, dinner, breakfast, and snacks
Space is limited

“The Quantum Future” is organized in partnership between the Aspen Center for Physics and the Aspen Institute Science & Society Program and underwritten by lead sponsors IBM and Microsoft and sponsors 1QBit, EeroQ, and Zapata Computing.

Event information
Mon Mar 9, 2020 - Tue Mar 10, 2020
5:45pm - 12:00pm MST
Aspen Meadows
Aspen, CO