Distinguished Lecturer: Michael Freedman

Friday, November 16, 2018 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Buchanan 1920
Quantum Computing via Octonians and Other Beasts
Michael Freedman
Wim van Dam & William Wang


I will discuss the idea of quantum computing via “measurement only” starting from its ( retrospective ) origins 500 years ago to a recent proposal to employ the 8 dimensional division algebra known as the octonians. Measurement only is more than a theoretical approach; it is also the basis of the Microsoft roadmap.


Michael Freedman is the founding Director of Station Q, Microsoft’s project on quantum physics and quantum computation located on the UCSB campus. The project is a collaborative effort between Microsoft and academia directed towards exploring the mathematical theory and physical foundations for quantum computing.

Freedman joined Microsoft in 1997 as a Fields Medal-winning mathematician whose accomplishments included a proof of the 4-dimensional Poincare conjecture, the discovery (with Donaldson and Kirby) of exotic smooth structures on Euclidian 4-space, applications of minimal surfaces to topology, and estimates for the stored energy in magnetic fields. Freedman has received numerous awards and honors: The Fields Medal, election to the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Veblen prize, a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Medal of Science. His work since joining Microsoft has been primarily on the interface of quantum computation, solid state physics, and quantum topology.

Everyone welcome!