Raymond Laflamme

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Raymond Laflamme
Born 1960 (age 56–57)
Quebec City, Canada
Fields Theoretical Physics
Quantum Information
Institutions Institute for Quantum Computing
Los Alamos National Laboratory
University of Waterloo
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Stephen Hawking
Doctoral students David Poulin
Known for Quantum error correction
NMR quantum computing
Linear optical quantum computing
Gregory–Laflamme instability

Raymond Laflamme is a Canadian physicist and founder and current director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. He is also a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and an associate faculty member at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Laflamme is currently a Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information.[1]

As Stephen Hawking's PhD student, he first became famous for convincing Stephen Hawking that time does not reverse in a contracting universe, along with Don Page. Stephen Hawking told the story of how this happened in his famous book A Brief History of Time in the chapter The Arrow of Time.[2] Later on Laflamme made a name for himself in quantum computing and quantum information theory, which is what he is famous for today. In 2005, Laflamme's research group created the world's largest quantum information processor with 12 qubits.[3] Along with Phillip Kaye and Michele Mosca, he published An Introduction to Quantum Computing in 2006.[4]

Laflamme's research focuses on understanding the impact of manipulating information using the laws of quantum mechanics, the development of methods to protect quantum information against noise through quantum control and quantum error correction for quantum computing and cryptography, the implementation of ideas and concepts of quantum information processing using nuclear magnetic resonance to develop scalable methods of control of quantum systems, and the development of blueprints for quantum information processors such as linear optical quantum computing.[5]


Laflamme was born in Quebec City in 1960 to a medical doctor father and a dietician mother. He finished his undergraduate education at the Universite Laval in Canada and went on to doctoral studies at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.[5] His PhD supervisor was Stephen Hawking. Hawking has mentioned in his book A Brief History of Time that Laflamme and Don Page were responsible for convincing him that time does not reverse in a contracting universe.[2]

After completing his PhD, Laflamme worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia as well as Cambridge before joining the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His work during this time was ranked amongst the Top Ten Breakthroughs of the Year from the journal Science in 1998. In 2001, he joined the newly founded Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Physics and Astronomy department of the affiliated University of Waterloo, where he founded the Institute for Quantum Computing.[5] In 2003, he became director of the Quantum Information program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; he is also the scientific director of QuantumWorks, Canada's national research consortium on Quantum Information Science, and holds the Canadian Research Chair in Quantum Information.[6]

Scientific Work[edit]

Though he started his career working in quantum gravity and cosmology, Raymond Laflamme is known as a pioneering scientist in quantum information theory. While at Los Alamos, he was involved with the experimental implementation of quantum information processing devices using nuclear magnetic resonance. He is also credited with developing a theoretical scheme for efficient quantum computation using linear optics, along with Emmanuel Knill and Gerard Milburn.[7] Laflamme laid down the mathematical framework for quantum error-correcting codes, which has since developed into a broad topic of research. With colleagues Cesar Miquel, Juan Paz and Wojciech Zurek, he constructed the most compact quantum error correcting code.[8]



Laflamme was a featured scientist in the award-winning [14] documentary, "The Quantum Tamers" [15] which was presented by the Perimeter Institute and saw its Canadian premiere in October 2009 at the Quantum to Cosmos festival in Waterloo, Ontario. Laflamme was also a participant in The Agenda With Steve Paikin discussion panel, "Wired 24/7", with Neil Gershenfeld, Jaron Lanier, Neal Stephenson, and Tara Hunt at the Quantum to Cosmos festival. The following year, Laflamme was a contributor at the 2010 TEDx event in Waterloo, Ontario.[16]

Laflamme was involved in several events surrounding the grand-opening of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo. He was a participant at the "Bridging Worlds" panel discussion with Ivan Semeniuk, Mike Lazaridis, Tom Brzustowski, and Chad Orzel at the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre Open House in 2012.[17] As part of the grand-opening events, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony performed "Quantum: Music at the Frontier of Science" of which Laflamme was a collaborator in the creation of the concert narrative.[18]

Laflamme will be appearing as a speaker at BrainSTEM: Your Future is Now Festival which is running from September 30 to October 6, 2013.[19]


  1. ^ "Canada Research Chair Chairholders - Raymond Laflamme". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "From correcting errors to building quantum computers". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Dr. Raymond Laflamme: Master of the quantum dance". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Kaye, Phillip; Laflamme, Raymond; Mosca, Michele (November 2006). An Introduction to Quantum Computing. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198570004. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "IQC People: Raymond Laflamme". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Perimeter Institute official website". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Knill, Emmanual; Laflamme, Raymond; Milburn, Gerard (2001). "A scheme for efficient quantum computation with linear optics". Nature. 409 (6816): 46–52. doi:10.1038/35051009. PMID 11343107. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "University of Waterloo Physics and Astronomy profile: Raymond Laflamme". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Royal Society recognizes achievements of Perimeter Institute Associal Faculty members". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "Premier's Discovery Award". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "APS official website". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "AAAS official website". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "UdeS en bref: Raymond Laflamme". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Quantum Tamers captures prize". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "The Quantum Tamers: Revealing our weird & wired future". Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "TEDxWaterloo 2010". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre Open House". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Reboots Innovative Concert with Institute for Quantum Computing" (PDF). Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  19. ^ http://cttinc.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/perimeter-institute-announces-brainstem-your-future-is-now-festival-schedule/

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