Marek Perkowski, Professor
Ph.D., Technical University of Warsaw, Poland, 1980
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Quantum computers represent the next great frontier in computing. They promise to solve problems in a few seconds that conventional computers—even at a time when computers operate at the speed of light—would spend an eternity on.
Although widespread use of quantum computers is still 20 to 30 years away, Professor Marek Perkowski is helping to lay the groundwork for their arrival. With his students, he is building a CAD system to simulate, transform, and optimize the logic circuits that will be used in quantum computers.
These computers will be particularly suited to solving complex constraint satisfaction problems—a class of problems that are of great importance in another of Perkowski's interests: intelligent robotics. Perkowski, who has been on the PSU faculty since 1983, is director of Portland State's Intelligent Robotics Laboratory.
"We want to be the first to see how quantum computers can be used in robotics," Perkowski says.
The robots he is working on will be able to make choices and have general goals as opposed to industrial robots that are assigned fixed tasks. In addition to engaging college students in his research, he also leads a "Quantum Robotics for Teenagers" class attended by middle school and high school students who build robots with simulated quantum controls.