Biography of Patty Lee

The field of quantum computing is still in its infancy. But with each passing year, breakthroughs in quantum research are inching us closer to a new era of computing power and technological capability.

Dr. Patty LeeFor more than a decade, Dr. Patricia J. Lee has been on the front lines of quantum computing research. Throughout her career, she has played a major role in the expansion of our collective understanding of quantum computers and the role that they will soon play in the world. And she’s only just getting started. Today, Dr. Lee is the chief scientist at Honeywell Quantum Solutions, where she leads a team of quantum researchers working on a variety of cutting-edge projects that promise to change the face of quantum computing.

Dr. Lee will be a keynote speaker at IEEE’s upcoming 2020 International Conference on Quantum Computing and Engineering (QCE20). This virtual event will take place 12-16 October 2020. QCE20, also known as IEEE Quantum Week, will host a wide range of discussions focusing on quantum computing and its potential for solving complex global challenges.

Background in quantum physics

Education and early research experience

As an undergraduate, Patty Lee attended the California Institute of Technology from 1996 to 2000. Shortly after completing her undergraduate education, she attended the University of Michigan, where she earned her doctor of philosophy in physics in 2006.

Upon completing her graduate studies, Dr. Lee worked for a period of time as a postdoctoral researcher, first with the National Information Solutions Cooperative and then with the Joint Quantum Institute. Starting in 2008, she spent five years working as a physicist with the US Army Research Laboratory, where she was involved in the development and deployment of quantum communications for the military. Shortly thereafter, she became a research scientist in the quantum computing research program at Lockheed Martin.

Major research concentrations in quantum physics

Dr. Lee’s research focus on quantum computing began during her graduate studies at the University of Michigan. Specifically, as a doctoral student, she started exploring the potential applications and implications of ion trap quantum computing. This is an emergent subdiscipline of quantum theory that is focused, among other things, on the manipulation of ions as quantum bits—otherwise known as qubits—which are the basic unit of memory and data processing that quantum computers use.

Since the publication of her doctoral thesis, titled “Quantum Information Processing with Two Trapped Cadmium Ions,” Dr. Lee’s research focus within the field of quantum computing has broadened and diversified considerably. Today, her research focuses primarily on the advancement of quantum information processing for commercial quantum computers.

Published research and citations

Over the course of her career, Dr. Lee has published many research papers on the topics of quantum computing, in general, and quantum information processing with trapped ions, in particular.

In May of 2008, for example, she contributed to an article published in Physics Review A called “Optimal Control of Atom Transport for Quantum Gates in Optical Lattices.” This article explores and models the manipulation of external quantum states of both noninteracting and interacting atoms trapped in adjustable optical potentials.

More recently, Dr. Lee produced a conference paper titled “Progress Towards a Quantum Memory with Telecom-Frequency Conversion.” In this paper, Dr. Lee and her coauthors postulate a new method for the transmission of quantum information based on the connectivity of remote nodes, which will make it possible to achieve a long-lived quantum memory. This quantum communication transmission method will help lay the groundwork for a scalable, long-distance quantum network.

For access to more of Dr. Lee’s conference papers and related research, be sure to check out the IEEE Xplore digital library. As one of the world’s largest collections of technical literature, this library provides access to five million documents on engineering, computer science, and related technologies.

Notable accomplishments in quantum computing

As we’ve seen, Patty Lee’s career up to the present moment has mainly been focused on creating the infrastructure to develop commercial quantum computers. Now, as the chief scientist at Honeywell Quantum Solutions, Dr. Lee is standing at the threshold of what may prove to be her most notable professional achievement to date: the launch of the world’s most powerful and versatile quantum computer.

Honeywell’s new quantum computer will have a minimum quantum volume of sixty-four, which is more than double the capacity of the second-most powerful quantum computer in the world. In a recent statement, Dr. Lee commented that when Honeywell’s new quantum computer is released, “we will be able to execute larger quantum circuits better than any other quantum computer available.”

Current work and upcoming events

Position at Honeywell

In her role as the chief scientist at Honeywell, Dr. Lee leads a team that’s dedicated to the development of trapped ion commercial quantum computers. She’s also spearheading the company’s efforts to build and facilitate large quantum volumes, larger quantum circuits, and high-fidelity quantum operations.

IEEE Quantum Week

Dr. Lee will be delivering her keynote speech for IEEE Quantum Week on 13 October 2020, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. mountain time. In this speech, she will be discussing high-performing quantum computing with trapped ions, quantum charge coupled device architecture, midcircuit measurements, and a variety of other topics regarding the future of commercial quantum computing. Registration for the virtual event is now open.


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