UCSB physics professor David Awschalom revealed his award-winning research plan to the Academic Senate yesterday, unveiling the potential role of diamonds in the supercomputers of tomorrow.
Awschalom is the 53rd recipient of the Annual Faculty Research Lectureship – the highest honor the UCSB faculty can award a peer. Each year one distinguished researcher is awarded the Lectureship and provided the opportunity to speak on the subject of his or her research before the Academic Senate.
Professor Awschalom presented the intricacies of his research, which established precious diamonds as a key player in the development of super-fast quantum computers. The faculty lecture, entitled “Engaging Diamonds in the Quantum Age,” was held at Kohn Hall in front of an audience of more than 150 students and faculty.
According to Chancellor Henry T. Yang, who introduced Awschalom, the physics professor’s research is a crucial contribution to UCSB’s reputation as a scientific research powerhouse.
“[His] brilliant work and trailblazing spirit are a source of pride for our campus,” Yang said.
Awschalom began teaching for the UCSB physics department in 1991 after a several-year stint at IBM. He currently oversees the Awschalom Group, a campus network comprised of students, researchers and faculty collaborators. According to their Web site, the group focuses on semiconductors, molecular systems and other topics in physics and engineering.
During his lecture, Awschalom said that diamonds could be used to create processors that could complete calculations impossible for the current computer to tackle.
“There are all sorts of problems where you need something that’s a trillion times faster than what you have today.” Awschalom said. “It’s a completely different paradigm.”
As the incumbent recipient of the Lectureship, Awschalom will chair next year’s selection committee for his successor in addition to receiving an undisclosed sum of money included in his award.