Quantum Information

Patents play an important role in the commercial exploitation of emerging technologies. It it therefore not surprising that more and more patents related to quantum information (QI) technologies are granted. D-Wave Systems, the Canada-based company behind the controversial D-Wave Two quantum computer prototype, holds over 260 patents. MagiQ, one of the first companies to supply equipment for quantum cryptographic communication, owns more than 160 patents in that area. Apart from D-Wave Systems and MagiQ, there are many other contestants that heavily invest in QI technologies and who demarcate their innovations by means of patents. In this article I'll try to provide a concise overview of the patent activity in QI technologies. For readers unfamiliar with either patents or QI technologies, I've compiled two primers.

Between 2001 and 2006 I pursued undergraduate studies in Physics and Mathematics at the University of Augsburg, Germany. In my Diplomarbeit (master thesis) I analyzed the phase space dynamics of the Husimi function's zeros under varying disorder strengths near the "phase transitions" of the 1D Anderson and Aubry-André models (presentation slides in English).

From 2006 to 2007 I spent one year at the University of Tokyo, Japan as an international research student in the Quantum Information Theory group of Prof. Mio Murao. This was followed by my PhD studies between 2007 and 2011 under the guidance of Prof. Vlatko Vedral and Dr. Jacob Dunningham at the University of Leeds and University of Oxford, UK. Afterwards, I was a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore from 2011 to 2013.

Admittedly, one of the most common uses of computers is to play computer games, and in no small part did games influence the historic development of computer hardware. For example, the primary purpose of today’s high-end graphics cards is to compute the complex graphics effects of 3D games. Almost as an afterthought, it has been made possible to harness this brute computational power for productive purposes: Using frameworks such as OpenCL or CUDA, graphics cards can provide huge computational speedups in specific areas such as cryptography, molecular dynamics, fluid dynamics and distributed computing.