Gilles Brassard honoured by the BBVA Foundation for his work in quantum computing

Le professeur Gilles Brassard, de l’Université de Montréal

Le professeur Gilles Brassard, de l’Université de Montréal

Credit: Christian Fleury

In 5 seconds

UdeM professor Gilles Brassard is co-winner of the prestigious Frontiers of Knowledge Award with Charles Bennett and Peter Shor.

Gilles Brassard, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at Université de Montréal, along with Charles Bennett of IBM's New York State Research Center and Peter Shor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been awarded the BBVA Foundation's Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the basic sciences category for "outstanding contributions to the areas of computing and quantum communication." 

Thee three researchers will receive the award June 2 in Bilbao, Spain, and will share the €400,000  that comes with it. 

Professor Brassard is the seventh Canadian to receive the prize and the first ever in the basic sciences category (physics, chemistry, mathematics). 

In 1984, Brassard and Bennett devised the first quantum cryptography technique, which makes it possible to encode messages in order to exchange information with absolute confidentiality. Then, in 1993, they laid the foundations for quantum teleportation in collaboration with four other researchers. The group proved that it was possible to transport information in subatomic particles, such as photons, from one place in the galaxy to another, without physically moving them. This principle is based on the rules of quantum theory, according to which a particle can simultaneously exist in several states. 

Industry is currently investing billions of dollars in quantum technologies, particularly in China and Europe, and the theoretical work of Brassard, Bennett and Shor has helped put this discipline on track. 

This is the third major award that Brassard and Bennett have jointly won on the international scene. In 2018, the duo received the Wolf Prize in Physics from the President of Israel, a prize often seen as leading to a Nobel Prize in Physics. Last year in China, they were awarded the Micius Prize for their breakthroughs in quantum theory.