When Raymond Laflamme first heard peers talking about harnessing the subatomic realm to create ultra-powerful information processors, he didn’t buy it.
In fact, Laflamme initially set out to prove that quantum computing would be impossible. It was an unlikely start in the field for a scientist who is now among its most respected leaders.
Laflamme was recruited to a faculty position at Perimeter Institute and the University of Waterloo in 2001, and was then appointed to head a new experimental research centre at the university called the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC).
IQC grew quickly, helping to form the “Quantum Valley” ecosystem in Waterloo Region, which spans theoretical physics (at Perimeter Institute), experimental and theoretical approaches to quantum information (IQC), and commercialization (Quantum Valley Investments and the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics).
Quantum computing is no longer in the realm of science fiction; the field has made incredible progress toward building quantum processors, sensors, and communications technologies, thanks in no small part to the leadership of Laflamme as director of IQC.
This week, 15 years after he helped launch IQC, Laflamme will step down as its director and devote himself to research at IQC and Perimeter.
Scientific colleagues and friends feted Laflamme at IQC last week, with in-person speeches by Mike Lazaridis (founder of Perimeter and IQC) and University of Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur, as well as video messages from Stephen Hawking, Perimeter Director Neil Turok, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and research colleagues from around the world.
Laflamme said he is just as excited today as he was 15 years ago about the prospects of quantum computing, and he’s confident that young generations of scientists will push the field farther than even he could have envisioned.
Merci, Raymond, et bonne chance!