Quantum! Quantum! Quantum!

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Tora! Tora! Tora! (Japanese: トラ・トラ・トラ!) is a 1970 epic war film that dramatizes the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The tora of the title is the two-syllable Japanese codeword used to indicate that complete surprise had been achieved.

If there was a Nobel Prize for Men’s Clothing:

For comfort, convenience and cost-effectiveness, the award is shared between UNTUCKit (for Shirts) and Lucky Brand (for Trousers).

Indeed, I could not resist having my Official Photograph at the NAE with UNTUCKit, and, with the Einstein Statue in my left hand while holding a glass of California Cabernet (“a great spirit’) in my right, playfully rebutting Einstein’s famous quote ☺️:

Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Even John Anderson (NAE President) and Wesley Harris (NAE Vice-President) – who introduced himself playfully as “Vice President Harris” 😏 at the event! – played along. As I have mentioned, in Making Death Enhance Life, paying homage to Oscar Wilde:

I am serious about being playful.

Indeed:

 Einstein: Man Thinking == Tayur: Man Drinking.😊

Now for some serious stuff.

Quantum Information Science (QIS) gets its very well-deserved recognition in 2022! In September, it was the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, and now, in October, the Nobel Prize in Physics. Here are some excerpts from the write-up about the Breakthrough Prize:

But recognition for quantum information science has not always come easily—or with such financial support.

In 1968, Stephen Wiesner, then a graduate student at Columbia University, developed a new way of encoding information with polarized photons. Among other things, Wiesner proposed that the inherently fragile nature of quantum states could be used to create counterfeit-resistant quantum money. Unable to publish many of his heady theoretical ideas and drawn to religion, Wiesner, who died last year, largely quit academia to become a construction worker in Israel.

Clearly times have changed. The article continues:

As billions of dollars pour into quantum computing and countries build communication networks secured by quantum encryption, the prominence of quantum information science has become increasingly hard to ignore.

This year’s Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics honors four pioneers who combined math, computer science and physics to do “foundational work in the field of quantum information.” The prize is shared between Charles Bennett of IBM, Gilles Brassard of the University of Montreal, David Deutsch of the University of Oxford and Peter Shor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

What began as a pastime or eclectic intellectual pursuit has now grown far beyond many of the wildest imaginings by the field’s pioneers. “We never thought it would ever become practical. It was just a lot of fun to think about these crazy ideas,” Brassard says. “At some point, we decided we were serious, but people didn’t follow us. It was frustrating. Now that it’s being recognized to such an extent is extremely gratifying.”

You know from Buffering of Flying Qubits that I bumped into Charles Bennett at an IBM Reception at APS in Boston in 2019.

As you also know, Vikesh Siddhu (now at IBM Quantum!) and I published this article (which has appeared in print, in TutORials in Operations Research, and I received a hard copy just last week!) to make QIS accessible to OR/CS folks:

Five Starter Pieces: Quantum Information Science via Semidefinite Programs

Here is an excerpt from the Nobel announcement:

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser and Anton Zeilinger on Tuesday for work that has “laid the foundation for a new era of quantum technology,” the Nobel Committee for Physics said. Their results, it said, cleared the way for “new technology based upon quantum information.”

Eva Olsson, a member of the Nobel Committee for Physics, noted that quantum information science had broad implications in areas like secure information transfer and quantum computing.

Quantum information science is a “vibrant and rapidly developing field,” she said. “Its predictions have opened doors to another world, and it has also shaken the very foundation of how we interpret measurements.”

I’m still kind of shocked, but it’s a very positive shock,” Dr. Zeilinger said of receiving the phone call informing him of the news.

Of course, quantum computers are not yet practical.

Two types of errors plague quantum computers: bit errors and phase errors. These errors are akin to flipping a compass needle from north to south or east to west, respectively. Unfortunately, correcting bit errors makes phase errors worse, and vice versa. In other words, a more precise bearing north results in a less accurate bearing east or west.

Indeed, this is the focus of the 2022 Tayur Prize:

Today we are in an era of Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) processors. The processors of today have between 50-100 qubits, but the high levels of noise affecting both the qubits and gates prevents such quantum devices from reaching their full potential.

An important challenge in this context is to design efficient compilers for the current generation of NISQ devices. Compiling involves mapping ideal, logical quantum circuits onto existing hardware prototypes, while considering the constraints specific to each hardware. In past work, constraints including connectivity among the qubits, proximity issues as well as the gate-times for universal gate-set have been accounted for, to find the optimal compiler that minimizes the running time of a given quantum circuit.

The optimization should account for both decoherence affecting the idling qubits in the circuit as well as gate-fidelities, and, yield a quantum circuit that is optimized for the circuit runtime.

The success of the optimal circuit will be benchmarked using the fidelity from actual runs on the IBM Q hardware.

Talking about surprises, this email came in yesterday:

Dear Dr. Tayur,

On behalf of the INFORMS Student Chapter at Lehigh University, I would like to invite you as our 2023 Spring Distinguished Speaker.

Every semester, our chapter invites one Distinguished Speaker, typically one of the most successful researchers in OR/MS, to give a talk and meet with students and faculties of the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) Department. In addition to the department’s regular weekly seminars, the INFORMS Distinguished Speaker Series provides a great opportunity for the students to meet with influential researchers. As one of the most successful researchers in the optimization area, we would be grateful to see you at Lehigh.

It would be a great pleasure and honor if you accept this invitation.

What? Like when I was invited for the NSF Distinguished Lecture and a Princeton Optimization Seminar, being unfamiliar with this as well, I checked to see who some of the previous academic distinguished speakers were and if I was familiar with any of them or their work. Oh no!

James Renegar. Gerard Cornuejols. Jong-Shi Pang.

I plan to accept, of course, and speak about how our OR community can contribute – sensibly, as I prayed in Quantum Serenity – to various aspects of Quantum Information Science: Computing, Communication, Sensing.

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