Participant Testimonials

Feb 26 - Mar 02, 2012

I had conversations with Vern Paulsen, Marius Junge, Benoit Collins, Toby Cubitt, Matt Hastings and Andreas Winter that I want to follow up on. It's too early to know if these will lead to new results, but Vern and Marius told me about areas of math that are far enough outside of what I normally do that it would be very interesting if a new connection were made. Also, I mentioned an open problem and Matthias Christandl came up with a partial solution to it. And I made some small progress on an open problem of Magdalena Musat and Uffe Haagerup, and helped simplify a result of Carlos Palazuelos. In general, the workshop left me with some small concrete new pieces of knowledge, and a large number of promising directions that I want to pursue. Overall, a great way to spend a week!

Aram Harrow Computer Science, Univerity of Washington

My time at BIRS was great. The workshop brought together people in operator theory and quantum information theory. I am a quantum information theorist, so this was a great chance to learn about some problems in operator theory that are closely related to quantum information theory. I have to admit that I learned about and started thinking about one of the biggest open problems in operator theory, the Connes embedding conjecture. To be honest with myself, I probably have very little chance of making progress on this conjecture, since it has been such an outstanding problem in operator theory. However, since I learned about it, and further learned about various related conjectures in quantum information theory and about how to cast the embedding conjecture as a certain natural problem in information theory, I have been very interested in this problem and it has captured my attention. So, perhaps something good will come out of this---unlikely, but if it does it will be very nice! I also had a chance to present some topics that I am working on, and got some outstanding feedback from different perspectives than I am used to. This has already benefitted my thoughts on these problems, and some of the insights from my discussions at BIRS will likely benefit a paper that should be finished fairly soon. The organization was outstanding in every aspect. The venue is excellent, the rooms are great for discussion and the TCPL is a wonderful spot.

Matthew Hastings Duke University

The workshop was very important to me, and I think also to Gdansk group of quantum information. Thanks to the workshop I have become aware about a rapidly growing sub-community of quantum information that uses powerful mathematical tool to solve problems that have been so far intractable by our community, including myself. If I did not participate in the workshop, I might have not noticed this big trend for quite a while, which would seriously affect me and my group. I have realized that I have to learn these techniques, and also I have actually treated this workshop as a first course, asking all the time, more or less stupid questions, trying to get as much as possible. I am going now to invite several people that presented their results during the workshop to my group, so that we can learn more. I feel, that this workshop will prove very fruitful for several projects, which our group in Gdansk have are just starting. I am therefore extremely grateful to BIRS as well as the organizers of the workshop.

Michal Horodecki Prof
University of Gdansk

The workshop remains an important condensing point (and is quite unique for the operator algebra QI interaction), and initiates or boosts a lot of collaboration, I had lots of important talks lat week. I will make sure we mention the workshop in resulting papers.

Marius Junge Mathematics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

As on previous occasions, this BIRS workshop was a hugely pleasant and intellectually stimulating experience. I got some nice ideas to take away from it, on which I'm working now. I found particularly useful the "open problems" session, during which I posed a question, and was delighted to learn some of those of my colleagues. I think the whole thing was a great success and helped bringing two sub-communities closer together, with potentially significant impact in the future.

Andreas Winter Mathematics, University of Bristol