Quantum: Physics, Computing, Enterprise

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

About the Webinar

Far from ubiquitous but coming at us fast is a new world of computing architecture based on the 100 plus year-old concept of quantum physics. The mathematical algorithms of current “classical” computers are based on Boole’s “true and false” algebra, commonly manifest as the 1s and 0s of bits and bytes. But the quantum future now under development exploits the nano- and atomic-scale properties of matter to construct devices that can simultaneously “be” both 1 and 0, as well as a number of states in between. This simple fact has profound consequences in logic and computing power, and thus in optimization, encryption, data security and big data, and emerging relevance if not dominance in banking and finance, medicine, energy, ... essentially, in problem-solving of every imaginable kind.

Hosted by the Ireland America Science Forum, in collaboration the Embassy of Ireland, USA and Science Foundation Ireland, this webinar with bring together a group of leaders within Ireland working in the global effort toward a quantum future, from the fundamental physics of materials and phenomena that make it all possible, to the role that government agencies can play in supporting and accelerating research in and out of the laboratory, to the viewpoints of the computing industry on where quantum is taking us.

Panelists include J.C. Séamus Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at University College Cork and at Oxford University, Ciarán Seoighe, Ph.D., Deputy Director General at Science Foundation Ireland, and Ruoyi Zhou, Ph.D., Director, IBM Research – Ireland. Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland will provide opening remarks and Michael J. Naughton, Ph.D., Professor of Physics at Boston College, will moderate.

“Quantum: Physics, Computing, Enterprise”

Panelist and Moderator Biographies

Séamus Davis, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics, University College Cork & Oxford University

J.C. Séamus Davis hails from Skibbereen, Co Cork, Ireland. He received his B.Sc from University College Cork, Ireland in 1983 and his Ph.D. from the University of California – Berkeley, CA, USA in 1989. He was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of California - Berkeley and a Faculty Physicist at Berkeley National Laboratory between 1993 and 2002. He became Professor of Physics at Cornell University, New York, in 2003 and a Senior Physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York in 2006. In 2007 he was appointed SUPA Distinguished Professor of Physics at St. Andrews University, Scotland, and in 2008 the J.G. White Distinguished Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University, USA. He has served as Director of the Center for Emergent Superconductivity for the US Department of Energy (2009-2014). In 2019 he became J.G. White Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Cornell University, USA; Professor of Quantum Physics, University College Cork, Ireland; and Professor of Physics, University of Oxford, UK.

Dr. Ciarán Seoighe, Ph.D.

Deputy Director General, Science Foundation Ireland

Dr Ciarán Seoighe joined Science Foundation Ireland as Deputy Director General in January 2018. In his role Ciarán is responsible for Organisational Strategy, Corporate Communications and SFI’s International team. In addition, Ciarán deputises for the Director General as required.

Ciarán joined Science Foundation Ireland after nearly two decades in management consulting with Accenture. Ciarán holds a BA (Mod) in Natural Science and PhD in Quantum Physics from Trinity College Dublin. In his time with Accenture, in both Ireland and South Africa, Ciarán has worked with some of the world’s largest and most successful organisations. He has a wealth of experience across a variety of sectors executing large-scale transformation, business re-engineering, strategic and change initiatives.

Dr. Ruoyi Zhou, Ph.D.

Director of IBM Research – Ireland

Dr. Ruoyi Zhou is the Director of IBM Research – Ireland with responsibilities to drive innovation and grow a world-class industrial research organization in AI, healthcare, quantum computing, data privacy and hybrid cloud. She serves on the Industrial Advisory Board for Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College of London.

Prior to her current role, Ruoyi served as the Director of IBM Accessibility Research where she oversaw development of advanced technology to enable accessibility for IBM products, solutions, and services; creation of AI-powered assistive technology for people with disabilities; and exploration of IoT-based AI solutions for Aging. She served on the Industry Advisory Council at the Colorado University College of Engineering & Applied Science and on the Board of Advisors for G3ict. She initiated and launched the Accessibility track at the Grace Hopper Conference and served as a committee member. Additionally, Ruoyi was the Co-Director of AI for Healthy Living, a joint research center between IBM and the University of California, San Diego. Ruoyi played different technical and management roles during two decades at IBM.

Ruoyi received her Ph.D. in Materials Science from Rutgers University and conducted postdoctoral research at Los Alamos National Lab. She has over 30 publications and is a recipient of several patents. She was a YWCA TWIN Award honoree in 2010, one of the most prestigious awards in the United States to recognize successful women executives for their outstanding achievements.

Michael J. Naughton, Ph.D.

Ferris Professor, Department of Physics, Boston College

Michael J. Naughton is Evelyn and Robert Ferris Professor in the Department of Physics at Boston College. A condensed matter experimental physicist with over 200 publications and 25 patents, Naughton’s research is on superconductivity and nanoscale properties of matter, including biosensors, solar cells, and plasmonics. He received a B.S. in Physics from St. John Fisher College and a Ph.D. from BU. He was a faculty member at SUNY Buffalo for ten years before joining Boston College in 1998, where he has served as chairman of Physics from 2006 to 2018 and VP for Research 2005-2006.

Prof. Mark Ferguson

Director General, Science Foundation Ireland & Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of Ireland

Professor Mark W.J. Ferguson commenced as Director General of Science Foundation Ireland in January 2012 and as Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland in October 2012. Professor Ferguson is Chair of the European Commission Pilot Advisory Board for the European Innovation Council and is a founding member of the Small Advanced Economies Initiative. He was Chair of the eHealth Ireland Committee, (2015 –2017), a member of the EU High Level Expert Group on Horizon 2020 Impact (2017) and has been involved in a number of international reviews of R&D systems, including Hungary, Denmark and Canada. Previously he was Professor in Life Sciences at the University of Manchester (since 1984) and co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Renovo Group plc (1998-2011).

He is the recipient of numerous international research awards including the 2002 European Science Prize (jointly), and is the author of 329 research papers and book chapters, 61 patent families and author / editor of 8 books. He has contributed to a number of scientific films, documentaries, TV and radio programmes and held offices in 16 international scientific societies, including President of the European Tissue Repair Society. He has wide ranging research interests in cellular and molecular mechanisms in scarring and wound healing, developmental mechanisms in normal and cleft palate formation, alligator and crocodile biology including temperature dependent sex determination.

Mark graduated from the Queens University of Belfast with degrees in Dentistry (BDS 1st class honours), Anatomy and Embryology (BSc 1st class honours, PhD) and Medical Sciences (DMedSc), holds Fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in Ireland (FFD), and Edinburgh (FDS), Fellowship of the Irish Academy of Engineering and is a Founding Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci). He is a member or Fellow of a number of learned Societies, and was made a “Commander of the British Empire” (CBE) by the Queen in 1999 for services to Health and Life Sciences.