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Seth Lloyd in 2013
|Born||August 2, 1960|
|Alma mater||Phillips Academy (1978)|
Harvard College (A.B., 1982)
Cambridge University (M.Phil, 1984)
Rockefeller University (Ph.D. physics, 1988)
|Known for||Studying limits of computation|
Programming the Universe
|Institutions||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
California Institute of Technology
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Santa Fe Institute
|Doctoral advisor||Heinz Pagels|
His research area is the interplay of information with complex systems, especially quantum systems. He has performed seminal work in the fields of quantum computation, quantum communication and quantum biology, including proposing the first technologically feasible design for a quantum computer, demonstrating the viability of quantum analog computation, proving quantum analogs of Shannon's noisy channel theorem, and designing novel methods for quantum error correction and noise reduction.
Lloyd was born on August 2, 1960. He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1978 and received a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard College in 1982. He earned a certificate of advanced study in mathematics and a master of philosophy degree from Cambridge University in 1983 and 1984, while on a Marshall Scholarship. Lloyd was awarded a doctorate by Rockefeller University in 1988 (advisor Heinz Pagels) after submitting a thesis on Black Holes, Demons, and the Loss of Coherence: How Complex Systems Get Information, and What They Do With It.
From 1988 to 1991, Lloyd was a postdoctoral fellow in the High Energy Physics Department at the California Institute of Technology, where he worked with Murray Gell-Mann on applications of information to quantum-mechanical systems. From 1991 to 1994, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he worked at the Center for Nonlinear Systems on quantum computation. In 1994, he joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Since 1988, Lloyd has also been an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute.
In his 2006 book, Programming the Universe, Lloyd contends that the universe itself is one big quantum computer producing what we see around us, and ourselves, as it runs a cosmic program. According to Lloyd, once we understand the laws of physics completely, we will be able to use small-scale quantum computing to understand the universe completely as well.
Lloyd states that we could have the whole universe simulated in a computer in 600 years provided that computational power increases according to Moore's Law. However, Lloyd shows that there are limits to rapid exponential growth in a finite universe, and that it is very unlikely that Moore's Law will be maintained indefinitely.
Lloyd is principal investigator at the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics, and directs the Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory (xQIT) at MIT. His most recent work has focused on the role of quantum phenomena such as coherence in biological phenomena, especially photosynthesis. He has also collaborated in work to exploit these phenomena technologically.
During July 2019, reports surfaced that MIT and other institutions had accepted funding from convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In the ensuing scandal, the director of the MIT Media Lab, Professor Joi Ito, resigned from MIT as a result of his association with Epstein. Lloyd's connections to Epstein also drew criticism: Lloyd had acknowledged receiving funding from Epstein in 19 of his papers. On August 22, 2019, Lloyd published a letter apologizing for accepting grants (totaling $225,000) from Epstein. Despite this, the controversy continued. In January 2020, at the request of the MIT Corporation, the law firm Goodwin Procter issued a report on all of MIT's interactions with Epstein. As a result of the report, on January 10, 2020, Lloyd was placed on paid administrative leave. Lloyd has vigorously denied that he misled MIT about the source of the funds he received from Epstein.
- Lloyd, Seth (1988). Black Holes, Demons and the Loss of Coherence: How complex systems get information, and what they do with it (PDF) (Ph.D. thesis). The Rockefeller University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-07.
- Lloyd, S. (2000-08-31). "Ultimate physical limits to computation". Nature. 406 (6799): 1047–1054. arXiv:quant-ph/9908043v3. Bibcode:2000Natur.406.1047L. doi:10.1038/35023282. PMID 10984064.
- Lloyd, S., Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos, Knopf, March 14, 2006, 240 p., ISBN 1-4000-4092-2
- Interview: Quantum Hanky Panky: A Conversation with Seth Lloyd (video), Edge Foundation, 2016
- Interview: The Computational Universe: Seth Lloyd (video), Edge Foundation, 2002
- Lecture: The Black Hole of Finance (video), Santa Fe Institute
- Lloyd, Seth (2011). "Quantum coherence in biological systems". Journal of Physics: Conference Series. 302 (1): 012037. Bibcode:2011JPhCS.302a2037L. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/302/1/012037. ISSN 1742-6596.
- Lloyd, Seth (2014-03-10). Optimal Energy Transport in Photosynthesis (Speech). From Atomic to Mesoscale: The Role of Quantum Coherence in Systems of Various Complexities. Institute for Theoretical, Atomic and Molecular and Optical Physics, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
- Hewitt, John (2015-10-16). "MIT team genetically engineers a quantum virus for efficient energy transport". extremetech.com.
- Aldhous, Peter (2019-07-11). "Jeffrey Epstein Called Himself A "Science Philanthropist" And Donated Millions To These Researchers". Retrieved 2020-01-27.
- "MIT and Jeffrey Epstein". factfinding2020.mit.edu. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
- Tracy, Marc; Hsu, Tiffany. "Director of M.I.T.'s Media Lab Resigns After Taking Money From Jeffrey Epstein". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
- Tracy, Marc; Hsu, Tiffany (2019-08-23). "Jeffrey Epstein Donations to M.I.T. Will be Focus of University Inquiry". The New York Times.
- Lloyd, Seth (2019-08-24). "I am writing to apologize to Jeffrey Epstein's victims". medium.com.
- Gurley, Lauren Kaori (2019-11-04). "Students Are Demanding MIT Fire a Professor Who Visited Epstein in Prison". Vice. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
- Graham, Eleanor. "Seth Lloyd should not be teaching at MIT". The Tech. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
- Tolchin, Rion (2019-12-05). "Seth Lloyd should continue teaching at MIT". The Tech. Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
- MIT News Office (2020-01-10). "MIT releases results of fact-finding on engagements with Jeffrey Epstein". Retrieved 2020-01-10.
- Lloyd, Seth (2020-01-16). "What I told MIT about Epstein's donations". medium.com. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
- "2007 Fellows of the American Physical Society".
- "2012 QCMC".
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