Lebanon Valley College

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Lebanon Valley College: From the Football Field to the Research Lab

Ian BondIan Bond, Lebanon Valley College class of 2014, is among the list of student-athletes accomplishing impressive feats this summer. Bond, along with a team of four other Lebanon Valley College students, is working on an extensive research project with Lebanon Valley College professors Dr. Scott Walck and Dr. David Lyons

“We’re researching the theoretical side of quantum computing,” the Lebanon Valley College junior said. “Quantum computers are still a ways off. Right now, it’s just the theoretical groundwork being done for it. They have this programming language that simulates what a quantum computer would do on the computers we have today, so I’m programming some of the algorithms that would be used on a quantum computer.”

The project is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Lebanon Valley College was one of 14 grantees in a national pool of 37 applicants in 2010 to receive funding that totals $236,198 over three years.

The benefits to these futuristic computers, Bond says, will be a large jump in performance speed and an increase in security over today’s machines. Where today’s computers run on binary code and have memories built of bits, quantum computers run on sequences of qubits. 

Bond, a physics major, is one of two students working with Walck on the computer science side of the project. Walck, a professor of physics and the chair of the department at Lebanon Valley College, recommended Bond for the project after instructing him in a number of classes. The other three students involved are working on the mathematical side of things with Lyons.

“Dr. Walck is a great teacher, and I knew working with him would be a good opportunity,” Bond said. “The quantum mechanics side of it – when I took atomic and nuclear physics – kind of seemed interesting to me. “

Outside of the classroom, Bond is preparing for a position change on the football field this summer. He will move from safety to linebacker on the Lebanon Valley College team – a change he looks forward to because it brings more action. 

Football camp opens just as Bond’s research project ends, so there should not be any overlap. Still, with the fall season comes fall classes. Bond will continue work toward his physics degree at Lebanon Valley College, with plans to complete an engineering degree elsewhere upon graduation. He says he wants to work in electrical engineering and is already thinking ahead to a master’s degree a few years from now.

“It’d be nice if more people were aware of all of the research projects going on right now at Lebanon Valley College,” Bond said. The opportunities are available to students in all fields of science. At the end of this research, Bond and his group will present their findings to peers at conferences.

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