Meet the speaker
Gavin is currently serving as Professor of Physics, Macquarie University
Gavin Brennen grew up in Alaska and graduated from UAF with a degree in physics. He completed a PhD in quantum information at the University of New Mexico with a thesis proposing one of the first quantum computer architectures. Afterward he worked as a post-doc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland and as Senior Scientist at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) in Innsbruck Austria. In 2008, Gavin moved to Macquarie University, Sydney Australia where he is currently a Professor of Physics and director of the Centre for Quantum Engineering. His interests range from how to build quantum computers and quantum enhanced sensors, to simulations of quantum field theory and quantum security of cryptocurrencies.
Quantum computers operate at the extremes of nature: the very small and very cold, where the unusual rules of quantum physics take over. Now we only have small prototype machines but a Quantum Moore's law is in place with technology and worldwide investment ramping up quickly. One of the most impactful applications of quantum computers will be attacks on public key cryptography for security purposes, profit, or otherwise. I'll explain how quantum computers work, illustrating the threat to the modern economy via attacks on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and also how to defend against them.