PHAS Colloquia

Quantum and Classical Models of Superconducting Annealing: Successes and Opportunities

by David Ferguson (Northrop Grumman)

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 from to (America/Chicago)
Speaker: Dr. David Ferguson (Northrop Grumman)

Title: Quantum and Classical Models of Superconducting Annealing: Successes and Opportunities

Abstract: The slowing of traditional computing scaling metrics and new machine learning workloads open an exciting era of novel computing architectures with superconducting annealing being one of the promising hardware frameworks for next generation computers. This talk will discuss some of the theoretical details of superconducting annealing hardware, emphasizing how the choice of model abstraction can be critical in understanding the potential of annealing as a computational resource. In particular the talk will focus on the Hamiltonian model of superconducting circuits which affords a natural Weyl–Wigner transform between quantum and classical models. The circuit model also has the benefit that the classical Hamiltonian dynamics are equivalent to Kirchhoff's circuit laws. This classical model has shown initial success generating accurate comparisons to commercial superconducting annealing computers. The talk will also discuss the physical basis of potential computational advantages of annealing computing which are important to evaluate as annealing hardware moves towards application relevance. Such potential advantages include low power operation and the effects of intrinsically quantum dynamics.

About the speaker: David Ferguson received his Ph.D. in Physics from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2011 studying unconventional superconductivity. He then worked at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral fellow researching theoretical aspects of superconducting qubits. After joining Northrop Grumman in 2013, he served as superconducting quantum device theory team lead from 2014-2017. The co-inventor of multiple quantum superconducting devices and methods, David is currently the principle investigator of Northrop Grumman’s Silver Bullet program, a multi-institution research program developing noise immune superconducting qubits. He is also the co-principle investigator of NGC's program developing advanced quantum annealing testbeds for DARPA’s RQMLS program.


This is Face-to-Face colloquium. Wearing face mask is highly recommended.

Location: Science 234
Time: 3:30pm - 4:30pm


Please also visit Department Colloquia webpage. Please find the link below more information.

Organised by Wade DeGottardi/ CMP, QIS