SMS scnews item created by Leo Tzou at Sun 24 Apr 2016 2047
Type: Seminar
Distribution: World
Expiry: 24 Apr 2017
Calendar1: 29 Apr 2016 1430-1530
CalLoc1: Carslaw 275
Auth: (ltzo2369) in SMS-WASM

Joint Colloquium: Steve Flammia -- Quantum information science: a grand mathematical challenge

Quantum information is a dynamic and exciting field at the interface of mathematics,
physics, computer science, and engineering.  In this talk, I will survey some ways that
the multidisciplinary roots of quantum information have yielded fresh insights and
problems of genuine interest to mathematics, both pure and applied.  First I will
describe how quantum information has led to the development of powerful large-deviation
inequalities for matrix-valued random variables.  I will show how these methods can be
combined with techniques from convex geometry to develop a noncommutative analog of
compressed sensing, and describe some applications of this idea.  Then I will show how
problems arising naturally in quantum information even overlap with number theory.  The
long-standing problem of finding explicit generators for abelian extensions of number
fields is wide open even for the case of real quadratic fields.  I will discuss how a
geometric problem arising in quantum information leads to a precise number-theoretic
conjecture about finding canonical unit generators in infinite towers of ray class
fields above every real quadratic field.  The emphasis will be on the mathematics (not
the physics!) and no prior knowledge of quantum mechanics will be assumed.