Seth Lloyd, Leading Quantum Mechanics Expert, Appointed Nam P. Suh Professor

New professorship is a gift from MIT alumnus Hock Tan '75, SM '75.

The MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering (MechE) has announced that Professor Seth Lloyd has been appointed the Nam P. Suh Professor, a new chair established through the generous gift of MechE alumnus Hock E. Tan ’75, SM ’75, in honor of Professor Emeritus Nam P. Suh, who served as department head from 1991 to 2001.

“It is a great honor to be awarded the Nam P. Suh Professorship,” Lloyd says. “Professor Emeritus Suh was a visionary department head of the mechanical engineering department who ushered in an era of diversity and prosperity, with continued excellence in teaching and research. I am grateful to Hock Tan, who endowed this generous professorship in Nam’s name. His support will allow me to develop novel teaching tools and to enhance undergraduate research opportunities.”

Lloyd – who holds a BA from Harvard University; a certificate of advanced study in mathematics and an MPhil in history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University; and a PhD in theoretical physics from Rockefeller University — is internationally renowned for his work in quantum computation, physics of information, and complex systems. He is a leader in the emerging field of quantum mechanical computers, credited with creating the first design for a realizable quantum computer, as well as the first experimental demonstration of quantum algorithms. He has designed quantum algorithms for simulation, matrix inversion, and quantum machine learning, as well as the derivation of fundamental quantum limits to measurement, computation, control, and energy conversion. He has also developed quantum information-processing technologies based on nuclear magnetic resonance, atom-optical systems, and superconducting circuits. He is the author of more than 200 scientific papers, as well as a book titled "Programming the Universe."

Lloyd is also an important contributor to MechE’s academic programs. He has developed original courses on quantum information and computation, and serves as the coordinator for the department’s popular Course 2-A program, which allows students to customize a curriculum around their interests and passions using a core set of MechE courses.

Lloyd has received a number of awards for both his research and his mentoring, including the International Prize for Quantum Communication, Measurement, and Computation; MIT's Edgerton Prize; and the Alan J. Lazarus Award for Excellence in Freshman Advising.

“Professor Seth Lloyd’s appointment is a fitting recognition of his many pioneering contributions to quantum information technology and his service to MIT,” says department head Gang Chen. “His work has had a profound impact on quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum mechanical engineering.

“It is also a great way for the department to recognize Professor Suh’s leadership in bringing quantum mechanical engineering to MechE during his tenure as department head, as well as Hock Tan’s renowned career in the microelectronics and information fields.”