Thursday Talks - 25/02/2016

Adiabatic Quantum Computing

Speaker: Bettina Heim (Institute for Theoretical Physics, ETHZ)

Quantum computing has been widely discussed by media in the past few years. While the topic has been a point of interest to researchers for decades, investments by industry giants like Google and Nasa has brought it into the focus of the public. Discussions surrounding the topic are widespread. Responsible is not only the huge potential a working quantum computer has to revolutionize how hard optimization problems are solved, but also the major impact it would have on our current security systems. One of the most widespread data encryption schemes, RSA encryption, for example would be virtually useless when encountered by a quantum computer. Articles about Google purchasing the ‘first working quantum computer’ have been populating reputable newspapers. So why is it that we didn’t hear about any security problems? Do quantum computers exist? The eager reader may have followed a debate over years regarding this question and may have come across the word ‘quantum annealer’. In my talk I would like to shed some light onto this particular aspect of quantum computing. What is adiabatic quantum computing and how powerful is it? We will consider the traveling salesman problem to gain some insight into the workings of adiabatic quantum computing and as an example for its challenges.

Biomedical Micro- and Nanorobots

Speaker: Dr. Salvador Pané Vidal (Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETHZ)

Over the past decade researchers have been developing micro- and nanorobots for use as biomedical platforms with applications such as chemical sensing and drug delivery. Understanding and controlling the physical and chemical interactions at the micro- and nanoscale is crucial for the realization of small biomedical robots. One of the main aspects investigated has been the fabrication and optimization of the motility component of these small agents, and one of the most promising approaches is to use electromagnetic systems to wirelessly control and actuate magnetic micro and nano structures. A goal of the research at the Multi-Scale Robotics Lab consists of creating untethered magnetically controlled micro and nanorobots to make current medical procedures safer and less invasive, and to create entirely new procedures that were never before possible. To increase their performance and to provide additional biofunctionalities (biocompatibility, drug delivery, sensing), other materials must be incorporated. In this work, we will present several magnetic micro- and nanoagents that have been produced in our laboratory with a focus on biomedical and environmental applications.