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Harnessing the quantum world — can lab experiments become practical technologies?

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The effort to develop practical quantum technology is ramping up worldwide, with the UK and other governments recently announcing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment. Some say this is premature! Are we now sure that complex quantum systems can be adequately controlled, and sufficiently scaled, that they will be useful outside the lab? I will argue that the answer is “yes”. After reviewing recent achievements in experiments, theory and applications, I will describe the Q5:50 machine that the Oxford-led National Quantum Hub is working towards in the UK. More importantly, I’ll try to offer an answer to the question “What would the first generation of such machines be useful for?”

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Physics Society series.

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