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Nicolas Cerf

Email: ncerf (at) ulb.ac.be
Phone: +32-2-650 28 58
Fax: +32-2-650 29 41
Address: QuIC - Ecole Polytechnique de Bruxelles
Université Libre de Bruxelles
50 av. F. D. Roosevelt - CP 165/59
B-1050 Bruxelles

Short biography

Nicolas Cerf was born in 1965. He received a M.Eng. in Electronics and Telecommunication (1987), a M.Sc. in Physics (1988), and a Ph.D. in Physics (1993) from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). He was then awarded an individual Marie Curie fellowship (EU) and worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the Division of Theoretical Physics of the University of Paris XI in Orsay (France) for two years. His research mainly concerned quantum many-body systems and quantum Monte Carlo methods, but also extended to the statistical physics of combinatorial problems. In 1995, he joined the research faculty of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena (USA) to work on quantum computation and information theory, which then became his main research interest. In 1998, he was appointed associate professor at the Ecole Polytechnique de Bruxelles (ULB), in charge of teaching classical and quantum information theory. In 2001, he started the Centre for Quantum Information and Communication (QuIC), the first group active in this field in Belgium at the time. He kept, since then, occasional visiting appointments at Caltech and JPL/NASA, and spent two sabbatical periods at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2008 and 2010. He was promoted to full professor in 2009, and now also teaches quantum mechanics. He was elected a member of the Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium in 2009.

Nicolas Cerf received a Marie Curie Excellence Award in 2006. He also had earned the Caltech President's Fund award in 1997, the Alcatel-Bell scientific prize in 1999, and the prize of the Wernaers fund awarded by the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) in 2000. He was a member of the steering committee of the programme “Quantum Information Theory and Quantum Computation” funded by the European Science Foundation (ESF), a member of the coordination action QUROPE (Quantum Information Processing and Communication in Europe), and a member of the network of excellence QUIPROCONE (Quantum Information Processing and Communications Network of Excellence). He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Coordination Action QUTE-EUROPE (Quantum Technologies for Europe). He is or has been involved in several European research projects under the 5th Framework Program, EQUIP (Entanglement in Quantum Information Processing and Communication), CHIC (Consortium for Hamiltonian Intramolecular Computing), and RESQ (Resources for Quantum Computation), as well as under the 6th Framework Program, SECOQC (Development of a Global Network for Secure Communication based on Quantum Cryptography), COVAQIAL (Continuous Variable Quantum Information with Atoms and Light), QAP (Qubit Applications), and under the 7th Framework Program, COMPAS (Computing with mesoscopic photonic and atomic states), HIPERCOM (High-performance coherent quantum communications), and QALGO (Quantum Algorithmics). Within Horizon 2020, he participates in project QUCHIP (Quantum simulation on a photonic chip). The project COVAQIAL, which he had coordinated during FP6, was selected as a nominee by the Grand Jury for the 2007 Descartes Prize for Transnational Collaborative Research.

Nicolas Cerf has been the PhD thesis advisor of Sofyan Iblisdir, Jérémie Roland, Gilles Van Assche, Louis-Philippe Lamoureux, Raul Garcia-Patron, Julien Niset, Loïck Magnin, Joachim Schäfer, Christos Gagatsos, Anaelle Hertz, Michael Jabbour, Zacharie Van Herstraeten, Matthieu Arnhem, Célia Griffet, and Benoît Seron. He also partly followed, although not in the advisor role, the PhD thesis of Stefano Pironio, Frédéric Grosshans, Anthony Leverrier, and Carlos Navarrete-Benlloch.

He currently heads the Centre for Quantum Information and Communication (QuIC).

See detailed curriculum vitae.


Nicolas Cerf's main contributions to quantum information science include the discovery of negative quantum information, the development of the first continuous-variable (Gaussian) quantum cloning and quantum cryptographic protocols, and the invention of the adiabatic quantum search algorithm. He also has established the fundamental quantum limit on the information transmission rate via (Gaussian) bosonic channels, thereby extending Shannon's most famous channel capacity formula to a quantum regime. Recently, he has uncovered a quantum two-photon interference effect in the amplification of light, akin to the celebrated Hong-Ou-Mandel effect but in an active optical medium.

Nicolas Cerf's current research interests include numerous aspects of quantum information theory, quantum cryptography, quantum computation, quantum optics, and quantum foundations.

See publications list or click to see Nicolas Cerf's profile in Google Scholar.

Occupying the rest of my time