David Cory

David Cory

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Information Processing

University of Waterloo

“With Cory as chair, the Institute for Quantum Computing and the University of Waterloo will consolidate our leading position to help Canada advance in the international quest to build quantum devices.”

― David Johnston, past president, University of Waterloo


David Cory is a leading global innovator in experimental quantum physics and quantum engineering, whose work is already being used in a range of applications, from the medical field to the oil industry.

Before accepting his Canada Excellence Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, Cory was professor of nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he made significant breakthroughs in quantum information processing and other fields by advancing nuclear magnetic resonance methods. He is also an associate researcher at Canada's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and is chair of the advisory committee for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Cory holds a PhD in physical chemistry from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He also held two postdoctoral fellowships, through which he developed instrumentation and methods for magnetic resonance and imaging of solids. He held the first at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and the second as a National Research Council fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

Forming the Building Blocks for Quantum Computers

Quantum information processing promises to touch nearly every aspect of our lives, as researchers attempt to harness the very building blocks of nature—quantum particles that underlie everything—to build unprecedented new technologies.

Researchers in this new field are working to engineer the first generation of quantum computers—machines that, if built, will vastly outperform their "classical" counterparts. Because these devices will harness the remarkable properties of quantum mechanics, they will have the potential to solve problems deemed beyond the capabilities of even today's most powerful supercomputers.

David Cory, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Information Processing, is a pioneer in this cutting–edge field. Cory is engineering the tools needed to navigate, control and exploit the quantum world. Called quantum sensors and actuators, these tools will form the building blocks for future quantum computers and technologies we have only begun to envision.

Cory is leading a new experimental research centre at Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing—an international centre of excellence in quantum information science, which was launched thanks to the vision of Mike Lazaridis, co–CEO of Research in Motion (creator of the BlackBerry).



Release date

October 11, 2011

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Read the Transcript

David Cory, Canadian Excellence Research Chair and Climate Information Processing. The goal of our research is to build quantum devices. What we aim to do is to design these, fabricate them, test them and deploy them.

The accomplishment that my students have made that I'm most proud of, is the direct measurement of spin diffusion. This is an old, old problem originally defined in the 1950s, and it shows the real power of quantum mechanics. It shows that quantum mechanics can speed up processes. It was an open question from the 1950s all the way to 2000. And finally my student, WuRong Zhang, was able to directly measure this in the lab.

The reason I'm excited to come to the University of Waterloo, and Institute for Quantum Computing is to surround myself with people who share my passion.

The University of Waterloo has a centre dedicated to quantum information.

It's populated by scientists and engineers from across campus who are focused on building new quantum devices and understanding the power of quantum mechanics.

Then there's a Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics next door. There's a strong industry surrounding the university and there are individuals with great vision, pushing these technologies, like Mike Lazaridis.

The beneficial outcomes of the community's work in quantitative information processing is that a decade from now, there will be quantum devices that will enable us to solve problems we can't solve today. These devices will be relevant at the now structure, by making quantum sensors and quantum actuators, we'll have the tools to navigate the microscopic world.

The microscopic world will enable us new insight into bio‑molecules, new insight into computation, and new insight into spin‑tronic and magnetic devices.