Colloquium: Prem Kumar

    Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    All-Optical Switching for Photonic Quantum Networks


    Quantum internet of the future will require device functionalities that implicitly respect the fundamental facts such as quantum information cannot be copied, and cannot be measured precisely. A quantum repeater, for example,—analog of an optical amplifier that enabled global reach of the ubiquitous Internet connectivity we enjoy today—is yet to be demonstrated, although recent years have seen tremendous progress. Many other device functionalities—switches, routers, format converters, etc.—would also be needed that do not unnecessarily disturb or corrupt the quantum information as it flows from one node of the internet to another. In recent years, my group has engineered an all-optical quantum switch that fulfills many of the requirements for distributing quantum information in a networked environment. In this talk, I will present our motivation, design, construction, characterization, and utilization of such a switch in near-term networked quantum applications.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Prem Kumar is Professor of Information Technology in the Robert R. McCormick School ofEngineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. His primary research focus is onphotonic devices and their applications utilizing the principles of nonlinear and quantum optics(>$25M cumulative research funding). In particular: generation, distribution, and ultrafastprocessing of photonic entanglement for applications in quantum information networks; novelquantum light states for precision measurements, imaging, and sensing; and novel opticalamplifiers and devices for networked classical optical communications. Although Dr. Kumar’sprimary appointment is in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, acourtesy appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy allows him to recruit studentsfrom both disciplines into his research group, a privilege that has proven extremely beneficial forhis research interests that lie at the interface of basic quantum science and applied informationtechnology. Because of this interdisciplinary exposure, Ph.D. graduates from his research group(32 completed & 4 in progress) have gone on to build careers in academia, industry, and USnational labs. His group has cumulatively published >500 research papers (h-index: 52), including1 edited book, 2 book chapters, 6 patents, >200 journal papers, 45 articles in hard-bound volumes,and 300 conference papers with >90 invited. Earlier this year, Dr. Kumar returned to Northwesternafter spending 4 years at DARPA, where he served as a Program Manager in the Defense Sciences Office. At DARPA, Dr. Kumar created and managed a ~$20M/year portfolio of programs in basicand applied sciences, targeting a diverse range of topics that included neuro science andengineering, ultrafast laser science and technology, precision navigation and timing, stand-offchem-bio defense, quantum effects in biological environments, and quantum information scienceand technology. He was also program manager for the Defense Science Study Group, whichallowed him to interact with young academic faculty from universities all across the US in variousnational defense settings. For his strong portfolio of programs in basic science and technology andhis mentoring of DARPA Risers—young, noteworthy performers on DARPA programs—Dr.Kumar was selected Program Manager of the Year in 2015 and awarded the Secretary of DefenseMedal for Outstanding Public Service in 2016. Prior to joining DARPA, Dr. Kumar served on theNational Academies Committee that issued the 2012 landmark study: “Optics and Photonics:Essential Technologies for Our Nation,” which spawned the National Photonics Initiative. Dr.Kumar is a Fellow of the OSA, APS, IEEE, IoP (U.K.), AAAS, and SPIE. He has been aDistinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Photonics Society, Hermann A. Haus Lecturer at MIT,recipient of the Quantum Communication Award from Tamagawa University in Tokyo, Japan,and the Walder Research Excellence Award from the Provost’s office at Northwestern University.