Michael Freedman is a Distinguished Scientist with MSR-NE and was Founding Director of Microsoft Quantum – Santa Barbara (Station Q), Microsoft’s project on quantum physics and quantum computation located on the UCSB campus. The project is a collaborative effort between Microsoft and academia directed towards exploring the mathematical theory and physical foundations for quantum computing. Freedman joined Microsoft in 1997 as a Fields Medal-winning mathematician whose accomplishments included a proof of the 4-dimensional Poincare conjecture, the discovery (with Donaldson and Kirby) of exotic smooth structures on Euclidian 4-space, applications of minimal surfaces to topology, and estimates for the stored energy in magnetic fields. Freedman has received numerous awards and honors: The Fields Medal, election to the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Veblen prize, a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Medal of Science. His work since joining Microsoft has been primarily on the interface of quantum computation, solid state physics, and quantum topology.
The DNA of humans are essentially error-correcting codes. Michael goes on to talk about extremely complex condensed matter in the form of crystal interfaces between metal alloys. The ground state for this matter is determined by cryptographic principals. As we move toward quantum computing, we need to fully understand the nature of excitation states and state braiding in these cryptographically protected systems.