University professors visit White House for physics conference

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

Two University professors attended the White House Summit on Advancing American Leadership in Quantum Information Science in Washington D.C. on Monday to coordinate a long-term approach to QIS research.

Brian DeMarco, professor of Physics, Ed Seidel, founder professor of Physics, Ed Seidel, were chosen to represent the interests of the University of Illinois System at the Summit.

QIS is one of the hottest topics in physics at the moment and could possibly transform society, DeMarco said in an email.

“Future quantum computers may be able to solve problems that are intractable for any classical supercomputer,” DeMarco said. “And quantum networks could allow for the completely secure transmission of information.”

In 2012, DeMarco’s adviser, David Wineland won the Nobel Prize in physics for developing methods to measure and manipulate individual quantum systems, DeMarco said.

“These tools are the building blocks of future quantum computers, repeaters and communication networks,” he said.

Applications like these will transform many sectors of the economy and fields of science, he said.

Both DeMarco and Seidel have made contributions to quantum science through research discoveries at the University and positions on many national security and technology organizations, national research boards and scientific councils, according to the press release.

“From the development and application of the transistor to the invention of the web browser, Illinois has played a major role in the computing revolution that has changed our lives,” Seidel said in an email.  

Illinois is poised to reinvent the future, Seidel said.

The recent attention paid to QIS by the Trump administration is fantastic. But, we need even more investment and coordinated activity to compete with the rest of the world,” DeMarco said.

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