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“Quantum computer will become reality in a decade”

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PEP TALK: Nobel laureate Eric A. Cornell, right, addressing the media at Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai.
PEP TALK: Nobel laureate Eric A. Cornell, right, addressing the media at Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai.

Special Correspondent

Future is in the direction of “very, very small” structures: Eric A. Cornell

MADURAI: Quantum computer, a new paradigm computer, would become a reality in 10 more years, said Eric A. Cornell, physicist, who shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics with Carl Wieman and Wolfgang Ketterie.

Answering questions from students after delivering the Honeywell-Nobel Laureate lecture at Thiagarajar College of Engineering (TCE) here on Wednesday, Dr. Eric said that he would have said “never” 10 years ago for the quantum computer to become reality. Though the hurdles to research on this “more powerful than conventional computers” were formidable, it would take at least 10 more years for it to become reality. He was much more optimistic now, Dr. Eric added.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Stone cold science: Bose-Einstein Condensation,’ the Nobel laureate said that the future was in the direction of “very, very small” structures.

He explained how record low temperatures were reached in Bose-Einstein Condensation and their implications and the theory of superfluidity. He opined that Indian physicists were as strong as anywhere in the world today.

Anil P. Gupta, Country Manager, Honeywell India, said that the lecture series was a global initiative launched jointly by Honeywell and Nobel Foundation. It served as a bridge between the industry and academia and Dr. Eric’s visit was the first of its kind to Tamil Nadu.

Later, addressing reporters, Dr. Eric said that Bose-Einstein Condensation would find new applications in remote sensing, navigation of submarines and satellites and cold refrigeration for quantum computers.

Krishna Mikkilineni, Managing Director, Honeywell Technology Solutions, said that the partnership they had with the TCE was the best such relationship in the world and the Honeywell facility here was providing training to students in batches, besides involving itself in research.

The correspondent of TCE, Karumuttu T. Kannan, said that it was a “great model” of industry-institute collaboration that had worked over the years well. The institution, he said, was now focussing on an unexploited area of engineering education – research. He was confident that the visit of a Nobel laureate and the support provided by Honeywell would give a great impetus to research.

V. Abhaikumar, Principal, said that the college was transforming into a centre of research, thanks to the support from Honeywell.

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