I have been doing basic research on quantum technologies at OIST. The word, “quantum” represents all the elements in the microscopic world, including atoms, electrons, molecules, ions, and etc. Under the microscopic world, there are various phenomena human beings cannot understand, such as two particles existing at two spots simultaneously or particles going through walls, etc. With the advent of technologies and research, since the end of 20th century, people came to be able to control such mysterious quantum world. And now in the 21st century, a tendency to apply such technologies utilizing the characteristics of quantum particles has been mounting.
For the past several years, a path toward practical use of quantum computer, regarded as one of the major quantum physics technologies, has been become more and more realistic. In the conventional calculation system in computer, the unit is called, “bit,” which can represent either “zero” or “one”. On the other hand, “quantum bit” can represent both zero and one at the same time. If we use this incredible property of quantum bit, calculation which required a long time even with a current super computer could be completed in a second.
Further progress of quantum technology R&D is expected to enable the improvement of AI functionalities required for enormous amount of data processing and speeding up of new drug development.
Currently, I am working on quantum communication basic research to develop networking among quantum computers and cryptographic communications that can never be intercepted. Impure diamonds, the only material that has excess number of electrons, may be utilized for the application of quantum communication. In order to achieve this, we need to examine the properties of impure diamonds, and we store these diamonds in a special freezer keeping them near absolute zero temperature.
I was living in Kanagawa prefecture until I was a high school student. When I was a boy, my dream was to become a baseball player, so I had not intended to become a researcher from the beginning of my life. When I was wondering whether I should go to liberal art or scientific field, my father, who was an engineer, advised me to go to a scientific field if I could not be decisive. That was the only reason I started to seek for science. When I became the third-year student at high school, I came to be able to understand the meanings of formulas representing various physics phenomena, and gradually came to like physics.
After completing my graduate school, due to an encounter at an internal conference, I moved to a research institute in France. In the beginning, I did not understand French at all and I one time left my personal computer in a train, which never came back unlike cases in Japan. I had been at a loss in my early days in France, but my boss was a prominent quantum researcher and I was stimulated by him both in his research attitudes and his personality. In his laboratory, there had been many opportunities where I was able to communicate with researchers with various fields, which extended my visions.
My mother is from Okinawa and I often came back to my hometown, so I feel some connection with OIST. The competition in science and technology field is quite fierce, and sometimes I feel anxieties. However, maybe I have acquired an Okinawan people’s characteristics of being optimistic and positive. I somehow overcome difficulties with the spirit of “Nankurunaisa” (“Everything will come out all right after all.”)
Dr. Kubo’s Science Talk will be held at Jyunku-do bookstore in Naha from 18:30 to 19:30 on November 17. Admission is free.