Building a Quantum Computer Atom by Atom

Speaker: Kazi Rajibul Islam (University of Waterloo, Canada)

Date and time


With substantial investment from both government and industry, the field of quantum computation is advancing rapidly. The fundamental building blocks of a quantum computer leverage quantum superposition and entanglement. In this talk, I will detail the development of a quantum computer, emphasizing a specific type of hardware: trapped atomic ions. These ions are laser-cooled to near absolute zero temperatures, allowing their internal and motional states to be manipulated with high precision according to the laws of quantum physics. Although the creation of a large-scale quantum computer capable of addressing major global issues might still be decades away, specially designed quantum simulators are currently solving complex problems in physics and chemistry – problems that are difficult to address with traditional computers. 

Kazi Rajibul Islam

Dr. Rajibul Islam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He earned his BSc from Jadavpur University and MSc from TIFR, Mumbai, followed by a PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. After postdoctoral work at Harvard University and MIT, he established his research group at IQC, focusing on developing trapped ion quantum simulators and a 'full-stack' open-access quantum computer. Dr. Islam received an Early Researcher Award from the Government of Ontario and an Excellence in Science Teaching Award from the University of Waterloo. He co-founded Open Quantum Design, a non-profit for developing open-access quantum computers, and Lightflow Optics Inc., an optics startup. Additionally, he co-founded 'Bigyan' (, one of the largest Bengali science outreach platforms.