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Report of the General Board on the establishment of a Professorship of Quantum Physics

The GENERAL BOARD beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. The mathematics, physics, and technology of quantum information is undergoing rapid development and there is every possibility of early and significant outcomes arising from the applications of quantum coherence to both communications and information processing. Ultimately, it is envisaged that quantum computers will store and process information at efficiencies that approach the absolute limits, as governed by the laws of physics.

2. There is a growing interest in this area of research within the University involving a number of Departments, including Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Engineering, Physics, the Statistical Laboratory, and the Computer Laboratory. Industrial collaborations are also being fostered. A significant opportunity to take forward this work has now occurred with the success of a grant application, led by the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, for funds provided by the UK Government to the Cambridge-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute (CMI). The total value of this joint award for research into quantum information theory and technology, to be shared equally between the Cambridge and MIT projects, is £2,440,250 spread over three years, with the possibility of a further year's funding thereafter being contingent on the success of the activity over the first three years.

3. The creation of the University's new Centre for Mathematical Sciences has provided an ideal opportunity to establish an inter-departmental group to work on theoretical problems within the area of quantum information. This group would be expected to liaise closely with those involved in theoretical, experimental and technological work in cognate University Departments. Accordingly, the Faculty Board of Mathematics have advised the General Board of the need for a senior appointment in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics to develop a strong presence in this important field and to take forward research and teaching. The person appointed would also be expected to provide the necessary leadership for the CMI project. The CMI grant will support the Professorship fully for the first three years. It is anticipated that the costs thereafter would be met from an endowment which has been pledged, but has yet to be finalized. In the event that these funds are not forthcoming, however, the Department has undertaken to meet the full costs, in part through the suppression of the University Lectureship that will be released from abeyance on 1 October 2004 on the retirement of Professor P. V. Landshoff.

4. The General Board have accepted the case made by the Faculty Board and accordingly propose the establishment of a Professorship of Quantum Physics, from 1 January 2002, in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. The Board have agreed to concur in the view of the Faculty Board that an election to the Professorship should be made by a standing Board of Electors and that on this occasion candidature should be limited to persons whose work falls within the field of quantum information theory (which may include quantum computing).

5. The General Board recommend:

That a Professorship of Quantum Physics be established from 1 January 2002, placed in Schedule B of the Statutes, and assigned to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

 

11 July 2001 ALEC N. BROERS, Vice-Chancellor MALCOLM GRANT A. C. MINSON
  P. J. BAYLEY J. C. GRAY KATE PRETTY
  N. BULLOCK BRIAN F. G. JOHNSON M. SCHOFIELD
  KEITH GLOVER PETER LIPTON  

 


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Cambridge University Reporter, 25 July 2001
Copyright © 2011 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.