[ExI] ExtroBritannia: Quantum Computers and the creation of human-level artificial intelligence - Uploading Schrodinger's Cat?!

estropico estropico at gmail.com
Thu Aug 27 07:39:08 UTC 2009

This talk will put forward a case that quantum computers might help
those who wish to achieve the goal of whole-brain emulation and exotic
neural networks, and will review how this may provide insight into the
currently hotly-debated topic of the role played by quantum mechanics
in the brain and consciousness.

2pm-4pm, Saturday 12th September.
Speaker: Dr Suzanne Gildert,
Research Fellow at University of Birmingham, UK

Room CL 101, Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College,
Torrington Square, London WC1E 7HX

The talk in more detail

This talk will explain the fundamental concepts of the quantum
computer (QC) and how these systems might be able to perform certain
tasks that classical computers find incredibly difficult. The talk
will also explain why QCs might be useful for some very interesting
problems with applications to a wide variety of fields such as
biology, microprocessor design, pharmaceuticals, economics, transport,
chemistry and business. More importantly, the talk will also explain
what they can't do! Quantum computers are sometimes wrongly portayed
by the media as being replacements for desktop machines, whereas the
reality is that they are more like fast co-processors.

There will be a review of some of the experimental challenges involved
in building QCs, and a focus on a particularly promising version known
as the Superconducting Flux-based Quantum Computer. The devices
involved in this type of QC are defined using a process similar to
semiconductor technology, but using Niobium and Aluminium rather than
Silicon. There will be a brief overview of the physics which causes
these devices to demonstrate 'Macroscopic Quantum Coherence'- an
effect which allows us to scale up quantum effects to a size where we
can manipulate them easily, and why the devices must be cooled to
millikelvin temperatures for them to work properly.

Finally, the talk will look at several 'controversial' applications
which may arise as Quantum Computing (and classical High Performance
Computing) begins to cross into the field of neuroscience and neural

About the speaker

Dr Suzanne Gildert is a Research Fellow and Experimental Physicist at
the University of Birrmingham. She is currently working on the design
and testing of novel superconducting devices (specifically Josephson
Junctions) using non-conventional materials and processing techniques.
Her physics webpage.

There is no charge to attend and everyone is welcome.

General discussion is likely to continue after the event, in a nearby
pub, for those who are able to stay. Why not join some of the
Extrobritannia regulars for a drink and/or light lunch beforehand, any
time after 12.30pm, in The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place,
London WC1E 7HJ. To find us, look out for a table where there's a copy
of the book displayed, "A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to the
Quantum Computer".

About the venue:

Room CL 101 is on the first floor of the Clore Management Centre,
which is on the opposite side of Torrington Square from the main
Birkbeck College building. Torrington Square is a pedestrian-only
square and is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or
Goodge St tube stations.


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