Dr Viv Kendon

Dr Viv Kendon in conversation surrounded by empty seats

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Division: Physics
Organisation: Durham University
Tags: Durham University, Fellowship: Established Career, Researcher
Related theme: ICT Quantum technologies


I joined the Durham Atomic and Molecular Physics research section (Atmol), and the Joint Quantum Centre (JQC) Durham-Newcastle, in August 2014. Prior to Durham, I was in the Quantum Information Group at the University of Leeds, holding a Royal Society University Research Fellowship from 2004-2012. My first degree is from Oxford and after a PhD in Soft Condensed Matter, at Edinburgh I switched to quantum information via postdoctoral positions at Strathclyde and Imperial College. Prior to my research career, I was active for over 10 years in global electronic networking and computer support in the voluntary sector.

My Fellowship

Digital electronic computation has become ubiquitous on a very rapid timescale: more and faster computation is in greater demand than ever. Quantum computing promises more raw computing power than we can achieve classically: turning this promise into reality is the overarching goal of my research. I am addressing the key theoretical issue that will enable us to fully exploit quantum computation.

Quantum computing is coming of age: to ensure the UK has a place in the forefront of its development we need our theorists and experimentalists to play their part in leading this computing revolution. To use a quantum computer to solve a classical problem, such as factoring large numbers, or modelling a large system (climate or proteins for example), we need a hybrid classical-quantum device that can take the classical problem, convert it into a quantum representation, solve it, and return the solution as classical data.

Existing theoretical models of computation are simple, elegant, single paradigm models that perform well for analysis of complexity and computability - how hard it is to solve, and what are the minimum resources required - but methods of combining different models into hybrid composites that more closely match real computational devices are missing. Even the simplest experimental quantum processor is a hybrid device, combining classical controling hardware with two or more different quantum systems interacting through precisely specified sequences of operations.

Hybrid quantum systems enable more practical experiments, which are essential to reduce the noise that would otherwise render quantum devices useless. I will address these key gaps in our knowledge by developing a theoretical understanding of composite quantum-classical computational devices with real-world constraints applied. This will enable me to provide the science and leadership that will place the UK in a prime position to produce and exploit the technology in the new era of quantum computation.