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John Bell Day Lecture 2017: Quantum information and communication: the legacy of John Bell


Monday, November 6, 2017, 17:30   |  


Riddel Hall, Belfast


Places are free. Booking essential via

Professor Acin will explore the impact from John Stewart Bell's work and the advances now being made in quantum computing.

John Bell Day

John Bell Day celebrates John Stewart Bell, a Belfast scientist and Queen's graduate who worked at CERN and who made one of the most profound discoveries of science, known as Bell's Theorem. Bell's work laid the foundation stone for quantum information technology which will revolutionise the world of computing, particularly in the areas of financial services and cyber security.  John Bell's findngs were published on 4 November 1964. Bell had been nominated for a Nobel Prize but died suddenly of a stroke in 1990.

This year’s John Bell Day Lecture is being delivered by Professor Antoni Acin from The Institute of Phototonic Sciences, based in Barcelona. As information devices such as smart phones become smaller and smaller Professor Acin and his team are working at the cutting edge of Quantum Information Theory to explore the possibilities and limitations that Quantum Physics may offer for future developments.


Device-independent quantum information processing represents a new framework for quantum information applications in which devices are just seen as quantum black boxes processing classical information. This level of abstraction makes them especially relevant for cryptographic applications, as (i) protocols can be certified by the user without requiring any trust on the provider and (ii) existing quantum hacking attacks become impossible. Device-independent protocols are possible in quantum physics because of the existence of correlations without classical counterpart, as predicted by Bell’s theorem. The talk provides an overview on the device-independent scenario, with a focus on the motivations, existing results and open questions.


Antonio Acin is leader of a big research group at The Institute of Photonics (ICFO) in Catalonia. Acin works on Quantum Information Theory, a field of Physics that cares both about the theory behind quantum mechanical systems and their application to tasks in information processing, computation or even materials design. Acin helps a wide audience understand the unintuitive aspects of Quantum Mechanics that, one day, could have a practical implication in everybody's lives.  One of Acin’s research interests is Quantum Cryptography or, more precisely, Quantum Key Distribution. At the core of Quantum Key Distribution's security is the fact that measurement outcomes in Quantum Mechanics are random, and our description of the microscopic nature is probabilistic. Nowadays this randomness is also seen as a resource that can be used for generating better keys that can power encryption and communication mechanisms, not only with quantum algorithms, but also at the classical level, engineering random number generators that are used by ordinary computers and classical devices.

In association with The Chief Executives' Club at Queen's.


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