Chicago Quantum Exchange to create technologically transformative ecosystem

This article discusses the collaboration between University of Chicago, Argonne and Fermilab on advancing quantum information in regard to science and engineering. This will include academic, industrial and governmental efforts. The hub will be called the Chicago Quantum Exchange.

https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2017/06/20/chicago-quantum-exchange-create-technologically-transformative-ecosystem

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Chicago Quantum Exchange to create technologically transformative ecosystem

UChicago, Argonne, Fermilab prepare for quantum information revolution

Quantum dot blinking
UChicago and affiliated laboratories to collaborate on advancing the science and engineering of quantum information.
Courtesy of
Nicholas Brawand

The University of Chicago is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to launch an intellectual hub for advancing academic, industrial and governmental efforts in the science and engineering of quantum information.

This hub within the Institute for Molecular Engineering, called the Chicago Quantum Exchange, will facilitate the exploration of quantum information and the development of new applications with the potential to dramatically improve technology for communication, computing and sensing. The collaboration will include scientists and engineers from the two national labs and IME, as well as scholars from UChicago’s departments of physics, chemistry, computer science, and astronomy and astrophysics.

Quantum mechanics governs the behavior of matter at the atomic and subatomic levels in exotic and unfamiliar ways compared to the classical physics used to understand the movements of everyday objects. The engineering of quantum phenomena could lead to new classes of devices and computing capabilities, permitting novel approaches to solving problems that cannot be addressed using existing technology.

“The combination of the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, working together as the Chicago Quantum Exchange, is unique in the domain of quantum information science,” said Matthew Tirrell, dean and founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering and Argonne’s deputy laboratory director for science. “The CQE’s capabilities will span the range of quantum information—from basic solid-state experimental and theoretical physics, to device design and fabrication, to algorithm and software development. CQE aims to integrate and exploit these capabilities to create a quantum information technology ecosystem.”

Serving as director of the Chicago Quantum Exchange will be David Awschalom, UChicago’s Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and an Argonne senior scientist. Discussions about establishing a trailblazing quantum engineering initiative began soon after Awschalom joined the UChicago faculty in 2013 when he proposed this concept, and were subsequently developed through the recruitment of faculty and the creation of state-of-the-art measurement laboratories.

“We are at a remarkable moment in science and engineering, where a stream of scientific discoveries are yielding new ways to create, control and communicate between quantum states of matter,” Awschalom said. “Efforts in Chicago and around the world are leading to the development of fundamentally new technologies, where information is manipulated at the atomic scale and governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. Transformative technologies are likely to emerge with far-reaching applications—ranging from ultra-sensitive sensors for biomedical imaging to secure communication networks to new paradigms for computation. In addition, they are making us re-think the meaning of information itself.”

The collaboration will benefit from UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which supports the creation of innovative businesses connected to UChicago and Chicago’s South Side. The CQE will have a strong connection with a major Hyde Park innovation project that was announced recently as the second phase of the Harper Court development on the north side of 53rd Street, and will include an expansion of Polsky Center activities. This project will enable the transition from laboratory discoveries to societal applications through industrial collaborations and startup initiatives.

Companies large and small are positioning themselves to make a far-reaching impact with this new quantum technology. Alumni of IME’s quantum engineering PhD program have been recruited to work for many of these companies. The creation of CQE will allow for new linkages and collaborations with industry, governmental agencies and other academic institutions, as well as support from the Polsky Center for new startup ventures.

This new quantum ecosystem will provide a collaborative environment for researchers to invent technologies in which all the components of information processing—sensing, computation, storage and communication—are kept in the quantum world, Awschalom said. This contrasts with today’s mainstream computer systems, which frequently transform electronic signals from laptop computers into light for internet transmission via fiber optics, transforming them back into electronic signals when they arrive at their target computers, finally to become stored as magnetic data on hard drives.

IME’s quantum engineering program is already training a new workforce of “quantum engineers” to meet the need of industry, government laboratories and universities. The program now consists of eight faculty members and more than 100 postdoctoral scientists and doctoral students. Approximately 20 faculty members from UChicago’s Physical Sciences Division also pursue quantum research. These include David Schuster, assistant professor in physics, who collaborates with Argonne and Fermilab researchers.

Combining strengths in quantum information

The collaboration will rely on the distinctive strengths of the University and the two national laboratories, both of which are located in the Chicago suburbs and have longstanding affiliations with the University of Chicago.

At Argonne, approximately 20 researchers conduct quantum-related research through joint appointments at the laboratory and UChicago. Fermilab has about 25 scientists and technicians working on quantum research initiatives related to the development of particle sensors, quantum computing and quantum algorithms.

“This is a great time to invest in quantum materials and quantum information systems,” said Supratik Guha, director of Argonne’s Nanoscience and Technology Division and a professor of molecular engineering at UChicago. “We have extensive state-of-the-art capabilities in this area.”

Argonne proposed the first recognizable theoretical framework for a quantum computer, work conducted in the early 1980s by Paul Benioff. Today, including joint appointees, Argonne’s expertise spans the spectrum of quantum sensing, quantum computing, classical computing and materials science.

Argonne and UChicago already have invested approximately $6 million to build comprehensive materials synthesis facilities—called “The Quantum Factory”—at both locations. Guha, for example, has installed state-of-the-art deposition systems that he uses to layer atoms of materials needed for building quantum structures.

“Together we will have comprehensive capabilities to be able to grow and synthesize one-, two- and three-dimensional quantum structures for the future,” Guha said. These structures, called quantum bits—qubits—serve as the building blocks for quantum computing and quantum sensing.

Argonne also has theorists who can help identify problems in physics and chemistry that could be solved via quantum computing. Argonne’s experts in algorithms, operating systems and systems software, led by Rick Stevens, associate laboratory director and UChicago professor in computer science, will play a critical role as well, because no quantum computer will be able to operate without connecting to a classical computer.

Fermilab’s interest in quantum computing stems from the enhanced capabilities that the technology could offer within 15 years, said Joseph Lykken, Fermilab deputy director and senior scientist.

“The Large Hadron Collider experiments, ATLAS and CMS, will still be running 15 years from now,” Lykken said. “Our neutrino experiment, DUNE, will still be running 15 years from now. Computing is integral to particle physics discoveries, so advances that are 15 years away in high-energy physics are developments that we have to start thinking about right now.”

Lykken noted that almost any quantum computing technology is, by definition, a device with atomic-level sensitivity that potentially could be applied to sensitive particle physics experiments. An ongoing Fermilab-UChicago collaboration is exploring the use of quantum computing for axion detection. Axions are candidate particles for dark matter, an invisible mass of unknown composition that accounts for 85 percent of the mass of the universe.

Another collaboration with UChicago involves developing quantum computer technology that uses photons in superconducting radio frequency cavities for data storage and error correction. These photons are light particles emitted as microwaves. Scientists expect the control and measurement of microwave photons to become important components of quantum computers.

“We build the best superconducting microwave cavities in the world, but we build them for accelerators,” Lykken said. Fermilab is collaborating with UChicago to adapt the technology for quantum applications.

Fermilab also has partnered with the California Institute of Technology and AT&T to develop a prototype quantum information network at the lab. Fermilab, Caltech and AT&T have long collaborated to efficiently transmit the Large Hadron Collider’s massive data sets. The project, a quantum internet demonstration of sorts, is called INQNET (INtelligent Quantum NEtworks and Technologies).

Fermilab also is working to increase the scale of today’s quantum computers. Fermilab can contribute to this effort because quantum computers are complicated, sensitive, cryogenic devices. The laboratory has decades of experience in scaling up such devices for high-energy physics applications.

“It’s one of the main things that we do,” Lykken said.

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Video: Against the Norm: Body, Citizen, Constitution, State

In this series of short talks, renowned thinkers from the University of Chicago’s new Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge discuss new paradigms for our bodies, government and society.

 

In Stevanovich Institute lecture, Jared Diamond examines evolution of religion

Jared Diamond discusses the evolution of religion in a lecture at the Stevanovich Institute in Chicago. Diamond is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel. Also included in this article from the University of Chicago, Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, the Director of the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge interviews the author.

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In Stevanovich Institute lecture, Jared Diamond examines evolution of religion

Pulitzer Prize-winning author discusses research, ‘curious beliefs’ of humans

Jared Diamond lecture
Prof. Jared Diamond delivers the inaugural lecture for the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, held April 20 at Kent Hall.
Photo by
Jean Lachat

 

In delivering the inaugural lecture of the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, renowned scholar Jared Diamond pondered the evolution and impact of religion in human society.

“Religion offers lots of power. Religion wasn’t invented from scratch, religion didn’t suddenly appear,” he said. “Religion was something that evolved gradually over the course of modern Homo sapiens.”

In his April 20 address, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel combined astronomy and philosophy to explore the functions and origins of religion in society—asking the same kinds of broad questions that the Stevanovich Institute examines regarding human knowledge.

“His ability to speak, both to academics and to the public, the range of his research beyond disciplinary boundaries, and his support of cross-cultural understanding are skills we admire and hope to emulate,” said Prof. Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, the institute’s director, who introduced Diamond to a packed lecture hall.

A professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, Diamond’s academic research studies society through a variety of lenses. In his lecture, Diamond outlined the core tenets of religion in society—the belief in a divine creator, moral codes and an afterlife. Observing that all human societies have some kind of religion, he concluded that religion must have had functions and advantages that allowed it to persist this long.

“Religion must have evolved gradually over the last 70,000 years,” Diamond said. “Religion is a byproduct of the enlarged human brain, which gives us an enormous advantage by allowing us to deduce what’s called agency, to deduce cause and effect in other humans, to deduce motivations in other humans, and to deduce cause and effect in animals.”

He examined the historical advantages of human religion in the contemporary world, in which Diamond said people increasingly seek explanation of the world from science rather than religion, and where inequality is increasing and religion is a less acceptable justification for war.

Diamond asserted religion’s oldest functions include explaining the world, reducing anxiety in the face of danger, and providing comfort, hope and meaning when life is difficult. A more secular society added other functions—a leader claiming divinity for legitimacy and demanding obedience, creating moral codes and behaviors, and justifying war.

Diamond even pondered what extraterrestrials traveling to Earth might observe about human society. “Put yourself in the position of a visitor from one of those planets, like the Andromeda Nebula,” he said. “These humans have some curious beliefs as well as habits.”

The talk concluded with questions from the audience, ranging from the possibility of life on other planets to Marx’s critique of religion. Diamond emphasized the strength of religion, particularly when asked about repression of religion.

“When societies have attempted to repress religions, as in Communist Russia, religions have gone underground,” Diamond said. In other words, even the possibility of an atheistic society is negated by the tenacity of religious belief.

Formally established in 2016, the institute brings together faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars to work across disciplines. The Stevanovich Institute also offers classes to students, produces a biannual journal and hosts a variety of events. Next fall, the institute will be moving into a newly renovated space and hosting an inaugural conference on Nov. 16-18.

 

Article found here: https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2017/06/05/stevanovich-institute-lecture-jared-diamond-examines-evolution-religion

Loyola University Chicago MBA students create study abroad course in Croatia

Four ambitious Quinlan MBA students created their own study abroad course using the Ignatian Pedagogy framework—a model for teaching and learning with emphasis on experience, reflection, and action—as a guide for their time abroad.

In June 2016, students Abby Annala, Magi Zlatkova, Emily Schroeder, and Amanda Schaumann and management professor Mike Welch spent 12 days in Croatia. There, they consulted with two major Croatian companies and provided market trend research, industry analysis, and information on the American consumer.

Professor Welch advised the students and worked with them to apply the Ignatian Pedagogy framework to their time in Croatia.

“I really admired how the students took ownership over the course and their learning,” said Welch. “They successfully used the Ignatian Pedagogy framework to maximize their time in Croatia and provide their client with an actionable business plan.”

The students also relied on the international connections and insight of information systems professor Nenad Jukić. A native of Croatia, Jukić introduced the group to one of their clients and helped them navigate Croatian culture and customs.

Gaining insights in Chicago

Classwork began well before the June trip. Months beforehand, the students began working with their first client, Kraš, a Croatian company specializing in chocolate. The students researched the company to determine its market share in Croatia, while also analyzing American market trends from the confectionery industry. The result was a SWOT analysis of potential U.S. distribution and operations.

“Our detailed SWOT analysis showed Kraš how serious we were, and it made them open to scheduling Skype meetings with us and sending additional documents to help us better serve them,” said Annala. Ultimately, the students chose to write a business plan for opening a Kraš retail storefront in Chicago.

For an additional perspective on retail operations in Chicago, the students visited World’s Finest Chocolate and toured its local manufacturing facilities. This was made possible thanks to Anthony Gargiulo (MS ’87), a Quinlan alumnus and vice president of human resources at World’s Finest Chocolate.

Hands-on experience in Croatia

Once in Croatia, the students met with representatives from Kraš and their second client, Stemi.

“During the company visit, we met with several members of the supervisory board of Kraš in the marketing, exports, and manufacturing departments,” said Schroeder. “The meetings were extraordinarily useful for us to gain a deeper understanding of the company and the cultural differences of operating a business in Croatia versus in the U.S.”

The students also visited several Kraš retail stores and toured its facilities, which came with the added perk of eating freshly made chocolate.

Their second client, Stemi, is a start-up company focused on educating women and children about STEM. Stemi requested insights on the American education market and consumer, as they are looking to market a build-your-own hexapod robot to American consumers.

The robot kit teaches STEM in a fun and interactive way, as it challenges the consumer to assemble its various parts. However, the students identified a major challenge for marketing the robot to American consumers: a 10-month wait to receive it.

Providing value to their clients

While in Croatia, the students provided Stemi with research on the U.S. education market. They also advised Stemi to shift its marketing focus from individual consumers to educational institutions, such as schools and libraries. These institutions are more likely to wait up to 10 months to receive the hexapod robot.

Following the trip, the students provided Kraš with an actionable business plan to help the organization bring retail operations to Chicago. The plan relied on knowledge gained pre-trip, their experiences during the trip, and group reflection.

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished in Croatia and our deliverables for Kraš and Stemi,” said Zlatkova. “At times it was challenging for us to balance both full-time school and work, on top of creating a study abroad course from scratch, but in the end it was all worth it!”

Group reflection

An important part of the class—and of Ignatian Pedagogy—is reflection. After each meeting, the students created time for focused group reflection and discussion. This time enabled them to brainstorm ideas and work together to meet the expectations of their clients.

“Each of us on the trip came from a different field of study, which meant we all came away from each meeting with a different perspective,” said Schaumann.  “Having the opportunity to reflect throughout the trip helped me to develop a broader business understanding.”

Sharing the lessons learned

In August 2016, the students presented at the Focus on Teaching and Learning Conference, a Loyola conference on effective teaching and learning practices. They discussed their experiences and how this model can replicated by business students and others interested in international experiential learning.

The students all agree that creating their own study abroad course and spending 12 days in Croatia working with international clients were life-changing experiences for them, both individually and as a group.

“This has been a self-actualizing experience,” said Annala. “Our time in Croatia allowed me and my classmates to directly apply skills from the classroom to solve a real-world business problem for a company.”

Picked up story from http://www.luc.edu/quinlan/stories/archive/mba-students-create-study-abroad-course-in-croatia.shtml.

Ivan Samstein joins University of Chicago as vice president and chief financial officer

Current CFO for Cook County, Ivan Samstein, will now be VP and CFO for the University of Chicago which will take effect June 26th.

Ivan Samstein joins University as vice president and chief financial officer

Ivan Samstein, the current chief financial officer for Cook County and a longtime leader in public finance, has been appointed vice president and chief financial officer for the University of Chicago, following a national search. His appointment is effective June 26.

As CFO for Cook County, Samstein has had primary responsibility for the budget, capital and debt structure for the second-largest county government and associated health system in the country. During Samstein’s tenure, he has successfully designed and led several transformative projects in financial operations, technology, program-based budgeting and performance metric-driven management. He previously held positions as an investment banker and a financial analyst.

At UChicago, Samstein will help lead integrated strategic financial planning and provide oversight for the execution of the University’s work in financial analysis and functions, information technology and human resources.

“Ivan will work to ensure that ongoing analysis, discipline and appropriate organization best support and serve the ambitious academic mission and priorities of the University,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “He will work closely with the provost and me, as well as with deans, officers and the board of trustees.”

Before he joined Cook County in 2012, Samstein was a director in the public finance department at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he served as lead banker on a large portfolio of fixed-income securities from 2004-11. As assistant vice president in public finance for Moody’s Investors Service from 1999-2004, he evaluated fiscal, debt, budgetary, and risk management policies and procedures of municipalities across the Midwest.

“The University of Chicago is not only one of the world’s leading academic institutions, but is also an anchor for the greater Chicago economy and has an active commitment to that role. That is one of the things that attracted me to this position,” Samstein said. “I look forward to taking on this exciting new challenge and continuing to build out the University’s financial administrative function.”

Samstein holds a bachelor of arts in economics, magna cum laude, from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and he earned an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Article picked up from: https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2017/05/03/ivan-samstein-joins-university-vice-president-and-chief-financial-officer

TED-Style Talks at University of Chicago

The Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge is introducing itself to the University of Chicago this academic year through TED-style talks and a scholarly journal, a full roster of classes and an inaugural lecture by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

“Our main focus right now is building up momentum and creating a community of scholars who are interested in the value of dialogue outside disciplinary guidelines and constraints,” said the institute’s director, Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, the Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics.

The Stevanovich Institute opened at the University in fall 2015 and became fully operational this October. It unites scholars from different fields to study the process of knowledge formation and transmittal from antiquity to the present day, including looking at how that process shapes modern thinking and scholarship.

“If we really want to explore the process of how bodies of knowledge become authoritative throughout time, we need to come at the question from many different angles—historical, sociological, scientific, economic, cultural and so forth,” Bartsch-Zimmer said. “We emphasize that our research goals have to do with knowledge in context—nothing floats around on its own like a Platonic Idea, not even a Platonic Idea.”

The institute supports the research of UChicago faculty and visiting scholars as well as affiliated doctoral and postdoctoral scholars. It draws faculty from across campus and has brought on board its first postdoctoral researcher.

Later this month, some institute faculty will take part in the University’s Discovery Series, which features faculty engaging in panel discussions or short talks geared to a general audience. Although the series typically explores major scientific advances and research, the institute will present a program that explores broader questions about knowledge, said Macol Stewart Cerda, the institute’s executive director.

The free public event, “Against the Norm: Body, Citizen, Constitution, State,” will be held from 6-8 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Logan Center Performance Hall. Moderator Robert J. Richards, the Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, will engage speakers Bartsch-Zimmer (citizen); Judith Farquhar, the Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology Emerita and of Social Sciences (body); Tom Ginsburg, the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, and Professor of Political Science (constitution); and James A. Robinson, University Professor, Harris School of Public Policy (state).

This fall, the institute announced its flagship publication KNOW: A Journal on the Formation of Knowledge, which the University of Chicago Press will publish with the first issue due out in April 2017.

Bartsch-Zimmer, who serves as lead editor, said the twice-yearly journal will examine research on the contextual, historical, political and social determination of knowledge and critique of paradigms, although the inaugural volume will be different. Instead of asking for traditional articles, she said, “We’ve invited some of the greatest names in a wide range of disciplines to talk in a personal voice about their relationship to knowledge formation in their field.”

The institute is offering a full roster of 15 graduate and undergraduate courses, including three team-taught core seminars. Two of them are offered in conjunction with the Franke Institute for the Humanities’ Center for Disciplinary Innovation.

On April 20, 2017 the institute will host its inaugural lecture featuring Jared Diamond, professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles and author of Guns, Germs and Steel. Next summer, the institute hopes to move into a newly renovated space, and it is making plans for its inaugural conference on Nov. 16-18, 2017.