A speach on Quantum computersFall 2003
Background:This was the only project for Physics 480: Senior Seminar. As part of this class I attended all of the weekly speaches given by friends of the UM Physics department. Another aspect of the course was to be the speaker one week.
The Problem:First I had to pick a topic to speak on. I had done a little bit of reading on quantum computers and it intrigued me. Therefore, I chose quantum computers as the topic of my speach. The idea was to have to give a 40 minute speach and then have 10 minutes for questions.
The solution:First I did some research and created an outline. This is the original outline I used. It contains some information not used in the final speach.
After writing the outline I began to make overhead slides and practice my speach. I don't have an audio copy of the speach, but I do have the final overhead slides and the abstract used in the department postings.
Even though I had overhead slides, I had a regularly printed copy of each slide with extra notes on it. For this reason, the slides don't give the speach complete justice. I included the outline because it shows more of what I said than the slides. The main purpose of the slides was to re-focus anyone in the audience if they got lost.
What I learned:First off, I learned that there is an overall interest in quantum computing. People want to know what it's about. I had one of the largest audiences at any of the speaches that semester and it seemed everyone followed the topics well.
Another thing I learned is that quantum computers are not as close to realization as many people think. All of the current schemes for implementing a quantum computer have their fatal flaws. For most, that flaw is decoherence; A quantum state cannot be maintained long enough to do calculations. The exception to this rule is the Cavity QED which uses polarized light. The problem with a Cavity QED is storage of qubits... they're photons.
However, I also learned that we were closer to quantum computers than I thought. The fact that amazed me the most was that quantum computers had already been implemented on a very small scale (only a couple qubits). I am excited and scared for when quantum computers are of a large enough scale to be practicle.
Aside from the things I learned through research, I found that I actually enjoyed giving speaches. In Introduction to Public Speaking I was iffy on whether or not I like speaches. This is because I wasn't given the oportunity to give a speach that I was interested in. While reasearch and preperation for the speach on quantum computers was time comsuming, it was also fun. I enjoyed the opportunity to stand in front of my peers and present a topic that was interesty to everyone.
Some References:Brown, Julian - "Minds, Machines, and the Multivers: The Quest for the Quantum Computer"
Williams, Colin P. and Clearwater Scott H. - "Explorations in Quantum Computing"
page last updated December 2003
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