NASA Scientist Eleanor Rieffel to give a talk on quantum computing

Dr. Eleanor Rieffel

A highly respected scientist in the field of quantum information and computation, Eleanor Rieffel, Ph.D., will visit Chapman University for a talk titled, “A NASA Perspective on Quantum Computing: Opportunities and Challenges,” on Friday, May 26 at 2 p.m. in Argyros Forum, Room 212. Hosted by Chapman’s  Institute for Quantum Studies, this event is free and open to the public.

“The talk should be particularly interesting for those who wish to understand what quantum computing is, why we should care about it and what the current state of the technology is,” said Justin Dressel, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics in Chapman’s Schmid College of Science and Technology.

In her talk, Rieffel will be introducing key concepts about a fundamentally new type of computer known as the “quantum computer.” Compared to the classical computer, the quantum computer directly uses the peculiar behavior seen at the microscopic scale of atoms and molecules to perform calculations. She will discuss the applications of this new technology, the current development status in the hardware of quantum computers as well as the common misconceptions about the field. Dr. Rieffel leads the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the NASA Ames Research Center and will draw from her experiences working at NASA to provide perspective on the advantages and limitations of quantum computing.  Dr. Dressel will moderate.

“As a member of NASA, Dr. Rieffel is closely involved with the latest tests of the D-Wave quantum annealing machine, and the latest progress in quantum algorithms development. This is a great opportunity for an accurate insider look at one of the most exciting ongoing technological revolutions of our time,” Dressel said.

Refreshments will be served at 1:30 p.m. and Dr. Rieffel’s talk will begin at 2 p.m. More information can be found at:

Eleanor G. Rieffel, Ph.D.

Eleanor G. Rieffel joined the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at the NASA Ames Research Center in 2012 to work on their expanding quantum computing effort, after working at FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc (FXPAL), where she performed research in diverse fields including quantum computation, applied cryptography, image-based geometric reconstruction of 3-D scenes, bioinformatics, video surveillance and automated control code generation for modular robotics.

Her research interests include quantum heuristics, evaluation and utilization of near-term quantum hardware, fundamental resources for quantum computation, quantum error suppression and applications for quantum computing. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles and is best known for her 2011 book, Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction, with co-author Wolfgang Polak and published by MIT Press.

Bethanie Le

Bethanie Le

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