Robert Raussendorf has been awarded the 2021 CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics by the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and the Centre de recherches mathematiques (CRM). This award recognizes Raussendorf’s “eminent contributions to the theory of quantum computing, including groundbreaking work on measurement-based or ‘one-way’ quantum computing, fault-tolerant quantum computing, and computationally universal quantum phases of matter.”

Raussendorf is a Professor in UBC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, and leads the Grand Challenge Pushing the boundaries of Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computing by Focusing on Quantum Materials (QCGC) at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (Blusson QMI).

Robert Raussendorf“I feel very honoured and delighted to receive the 2021 CAP-CRM prize in theoretical and mathematical physics,” said Raussendorf, pictured. “I also view it as a recognition of the fact that quantum computation needs fundamental research.”

The QCGC is a multipurpose initiative that involves theory, experiment, and design of quantum computing architecture. It’s a quantum computing challenge that goes beyond the status quo, aligning quantum computing with topics including quantum materials and materials science.

“We’re looking at quantum computing problems that can be solved by materials, and materials challenges that can be solved by quantum computing,” said Raussendorf.

Raussendorf has been a leader in the field of measurement-driven quantum computing for a long time; last year, his influential 2003 paper, Measurement-based quantum computation on cluster states, was recognized by the journal Physical Review A as one of the most influential papers of the past 50 years, one that altered the course of quantum computing research and development. This paper built on a ground-breaking 2001 paper on what was then known as the “one-way quantum computer’’ [RR and HJ Briegel, Phys Rev Lett 86, 5188 (2001)].

Raussendorf holds a US Patent for the one-way quantum computer, jointly with Hans Briegel from the University of Innsbruck, Austria (US 7,277,872 B2). Through his work at The University of British Columbia, he is co-inventor of a patent for a modular quantum computer architecture, with Chris Monroe and Jungsang Kim at IonQ (US 9,858,531 B1).

This fall, the QCGC team, including Raussendorf, Joe Salfi, Jeff Young, and Lukas Chrostowski, has been working to turn some 2020 and 2021 publications offering a theoretical framework for quantum computing into a roadmap toward an achievable, sustainable architecture. This work builds on major contributions from Raussendorf to the field, including his work on the role of topological matter in quantum computing, as well as Young’s vision for optically controlled silicon quantum chips.