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$33.3M donation for quantum computing research

Waterloo, ON – May 12, 2004 – A $33.3-million gift from Ophelia and Mike Lazaridis will help create a world-class centre for quantum-related research and teaching at the University of Waterloo. The announcement immediately followed the fulfillment of an earlier $100-million commitment by Mike Lazaridis to found the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Mike Lazaridis is the university’s chancellor and the founder, president and co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM) in Waterloo.

The $33.3-million gift is the largest private donation ever made to the University of Waterloo.

The gift from the Lazaridis family will be matched two-to-one by funds from the university and the public sector, for a total of $100 million. The funds will be used for the creation of the new centre and its programs. A new quantum science research building (est. 120,000 sq ft) with state-of-the-art equipment will be constructed on the east side of the campus and is expected to attract talented researchers from all over the world.

Building on existing strength at the Institute for Quantum Computing (directed by professor Raymond Laflamme), the centre is expected to be the largest quantum science research group in the world with up to 25 core faculty members by 2007. Researchers will focus specifically on quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, quantum error correction and quantum devices.

Raymond Laflamme is one of the world’s leading researchers in quantum computing and a pioneer in quantum error correction. After completing a PhD at the University of Cambridge under the direction of Stephen Hawking, Laflamme conducted research at the University of British Columbia and at Cambridge. He spent nine years at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 2001, he returned to Canada to join the University of Waterloo and the newly founded Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He was recently also appointed director of the Quantum Information Processing program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

“This news is fantastic,” said Raymond Laflamme, IQC director. “Ophelia and Mike’s gift will be decisive in making Canada a magnet for the world’s best researchers, and in making UW a world leader in quantum information science.”

The Institute for Quantum Computing was established at the University of Waterloo in 2002. It brings together professors and graduate students from science, mathematics and engineering to push the boundaries of fundamental experimental and theoretical knowledge in the field of quantum computation. The centre will also offer graduate programs in quantum information science and quantum cryptography and, within a few years, undergraduate and graduate degree programs in quantum information science and quantum engineering.