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Thursday, 15 May 2014

CPUT establishes quantum physics research group

INNOVATE: Dr Kessie Govender will start a research team that will explore Quantum physics INNOVATE: Dr Kessie Govender will start a research team that will explore Quantum physics

Building computers from atoms may sound far-fetched, but at CPUT this is the future of science and technology.

And to make sure the institution becomes a world player in the development of this new technology is a task that is being undertaken by Dr Kessie Govender, a physicist based in the Electrical Engineering Department.

During the next few months, Govender will set up a team of researchers that will focus on the research and development of the basic components that are used in quantum computing and quantum information processing. The workings of these components rely on the principles of quantum physics.

Quantum computers will increase the computational power beyond that which is attainable by a traditional computer. 

For example, these computers will be able to solve mathematical problems such as factorizing a large number into its prime factors, within seconds, whereas current computers could take several hours or days to solve the same problem, says Govender.

“This is the technology of the future” he says.

Govender first began to dabble in this area of research whilst lecturing physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and still continues to work with quantum researchers there. He later moved to the South African National Space Agency’s directorate in Hermanus, where he was also involved in the technical developmental aspects of ZACUBE-01.

Govender says to conduct this type of research you need a team of people who have a good knowledge of physics.

To grow this area of research, Govender says, engineering curricula at universities will have to look at incorporating more physics into the curriculum.

“Physics opens the door to curiosity and it allows you to branch into a number of other areas,” he says.

Students and staff interested in this area of research should contact Dr Govender on 021 4603762 or via email: govenderk@cput.ac.za

Written by Candes Keating

Tel: +27 21 959 6311
Email: keatingc@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Engineering and Applied Sciences Faculties; the Bellville and Wellington Campuses, and research and innovation news.