Institute for Quantum Computing

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Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC)
IQC logo
Type Research institute
Director Raymond Laflamme
Location Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates: 43°28′44″N 80°33′17″W / 43.478865°N 80.554853°W / 43.478865; -80.554853
Affiliation University of Waterloo

The Institute for Quantum Computing, or IQC, located in Waterloo, Ontario, is an affiliate scientific research institute of the University of Waterloo with a multidisciplinary approach to the field of quantum information processing. IQC was founded in 2002.[1] It is currently located in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre and the Research Advancement Centre at the University of Waterloo.

It is led by co-founder and physicist, Raymond Laflamme with researchers based in 6 departments across 3 faculties at the University of Waterloo. In addition to theoretical and experimental research on quantum computing, IQC also hosts academic conferences and workshops, short courses for undergraduate and high school students, and scientific outreach events including open houses and tours for the public.


The IQC seeks to harness quantum mechanics to develop transformational technologies that will benefit society and become a new engine of economic development in the 21st century. It aims to develop and advance quantum information science and technology at the highest international level through the collaboration of computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians and physical scientists.[2]

The institute's three strategic objectives have been stated as:

  1. To establish Waterloo as a world-class centre for research in quantum technologies and their applications.
  2. To become a magnet for highly qualified personnel in the field of quantum information.
  3. To establish IQC as the authoritative source of insight, analysis and commentary on quantum information.


The Institute for Quantum Computing was officially created in 2002, sparked by Research In Motion co-founder Mike Lazaridis and then-president of the University of Waterloo, David Johnston, for research into quantum information. Since inception, Lazaridis has provided more than $100 million in private funding for IQC. The institute is a collaboration between academia, the private sector, and the federal and provincial governments. Raymond Laflamme is the founding executive director and Michele Mosca is founding deputy director.[3]

At its establishment, the institute was composed of only a handful of researchers from the Departments of Computer Science and Physics. Ten years later, there are more than 200 researchers across six departments within the Faculties of Science, Mathematics, and Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

In 2008, IQC moved into the Research Advancement Centre 1 (RAC I) in the University of Waterloo's Research & Technology Park. In 2010, research operations expanded into the adjacent building, Research Advancement Centre 2 (RAC II).

In 2012, IQC expanded into the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. The 285,000-square-foot facility is shared with the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and is built to stringent standards (controls for vibration, humidity, temperature, and electromagnetic radiation) for quantum and nanotechnology experiments. The building was designed by Toronto-based firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB).[4]


Research at IQC focuses on three main applications of quantum information science and technology using the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering from both theoretical and experimental perspectives. The three applications are quantum computing, which encompasses the manipulation and storage of quantum information; quantum communication, which is related to the transmission of quantum information; and quantum sensing, which is used to detect signals or stimuli that are present in the nanoscopic world.[5]

Areas of research currently studied at IQC include:

In collaboration with the University of Waterloo, IQC offers research positions and advanced courses in the foundations, applications, and implementation of quantum information processing for graduate students. In addition, IQC also offers an interdisciplinary graduate program in Quantum Information which leads to MMath, MSc, MASc, and PhD degrees.[6]

Scientific outreach[edit]

IQC's scientific outreach activities include annual workshops, short courses, public lectures, tours, and open houses. IQC shares many of these special events, including lectures and special interviews, with the online public through its YouTube channel, Flickr photostream, and Twitter feed. In the past, it has also played host to conferences and workshops including Women in Physics Canada,[7] Cross-Border Workshop on Laser Science, Quantum Information Processing with Spins and Superconductors (QISS2010), the AQuA Student Congress on Quantum Information & Computation, and Canadian Summer School on Quantum Information.

Public lectures[edit]

IQC has presented public lectures by notable researchers including David Cory, Joseph Emerson, Raymond Laflamme, and Michele Mosca.[8]


The Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP) is an annual two-week program held in May and June designed for undergraduate students completing the third year of their undergraduate education. The program aims to introduce 20 students to the field of quantum information processing through lectures on quantum information theory and experimental approaches to quantum devices, followed by hands-on exploration using the experimental facilities of IQC.[9]


The Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students (QCSYS) is an annual one-week summer program for 40 high school students aged 15 and older. The program is run by IQC in conjunction with the University of Waterloo. The selected students attend specialized lectures on quantum physics and cryptography, visit local research institutes, meet renowned researchers in these fields, and take a tour of quantum computing and quantum cryptography experiments.[10]


IQC currently has offices and laboratories in both Research Advancement Centre I and II, located in the University of Waterloo’s David Johnston Research & Technology Park.

On 9 June 2008, Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis, together with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, University of Waterloo President David Johnston, and other guests officially broke ground on the project which will consist of three areas: one to house IQC, one for the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, and a clean fabrication and metrology suite to be shared between the two institutes.[11] It will house offices, laboratory space, and areas for collaboration among researchers. The QNC opened September 21, 2012.[12]


Raymond Laflamme presents a boomerang to Stephen Hawking at IQC
Stephen Hawking visits IQC on 21 June 2010 where Raymond Laflamme presents him with a boomerang to commemorate their work together.

As of 2014, IQC’s research team consisted of 21 faculty members, 3 research assistant professors, over 40 postdoctoral fellows, and more than 100 students. The institute has expressed intentions to expand to include 33 faculty members, 50 post-doctoral fellows, and 125 students.[13]

IQC faculty members have appointments in the departments of Physics & Astronomy, Combinatorics & Optimization, Applied Mathematics, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Chemistry, and the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. IQC faculty and postdoctoral fellows account for 10 of the 31 members of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Quantum Information Processing Program. In addition, 3 faculty members have associate membership at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and 11 are affiliate members.

Currently, 2 IQC faculty members hold Canada Research Chairs in various aspects of quantum information and 1 faculty member holds a Canada Excellence Research Chair.


  • Michal Bajcsy
  • Jonathan Baugh
  • Andrew Childs
  • Kyung Soo Choi
  • Richard Cleve
  • David Cory—Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Information Processing
  • Joseph Emerson
  • Thomas Jennewein
  • Robert Koenig
  • Raymond Laflamme—Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information
  • Debbie Leung—Canada Research Chair in Quantum Communications
  • Adrian Lupascu
  • Norbert Lütkenhaus
  • Hamed Majedi
  • Matteo Mariantoni
  • Guo-Xing Miao
  • Michele Mosca
  • Ashwin Nayak
  • Kevin Resch
  • John Watrous
  • Christopher Wilson

Notable visitors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What Great Philanthropy Can Do". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Strategic Direction". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "About the Institute". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "University of Waterloo Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre". Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Faculty & Research". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Graduate Studies". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Inaugural Women in Physics Canada Conference". The Canadian Association of Physicists. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Public Lectures". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing 2012". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students 2012". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Groundbreaking for the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre". Institute for Quantum Computing. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre Grand Opening". University of Waterloo. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  13. ^ IQC Communications & Outreach, "IQC Annual Report 2012", 2012.

External links[edit]