When algorithms, causality and neural networks go quantum

22/01/2020

Maria Violaris

Our Hilary term events began with our second thought-provoking "Flash Talks" event! Three Oxford DPhil students each gave a brief insight into their fields, given around 15 minutes and a whiteboard, to an audience that filled Magdalen's Daubeny Lab. 

First was Tyson Jones, from Simon Benjamin's group in the Materials Science department, with a talk on first-generation quantum algorithms. He explained how quantum computers can outperform classical ones, though he was sceptical about just how fast these will lead to practical advances in problems in chemistry. Next David Felce, from Vlatko Vedral's group in the Physics Department, spoke on indefinite causal order. It turns out that when the order of two events cannot be concluded with certainty, we can harness the 'indefinite causality' to use the system as a refrigerator! Finally, Aleksei Malyshev, from Alex Lvovsky's group in the Physics Department, presented on quantum neural networks. Even without quantum computers, we can still make headway on problems in quantum chemistry - by simulating them using neural networks instead. 

The questions that followed each talk sparked intriguing discussions, and the event was followed by drinks in Magdalen College Bar where our members had the chance to socialise and find out more from the invited speakers.