DUniv. 2014

Honorary Doctorate Recipient

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Gilles Brassard received a PhD in computer science in 1979 from Cornell University, specifically in cryptography. Since then, he has been a professor at the Université de Montréal and has held the Canada Research Chair in quantum information processing since 2001.

Professor Brassard is interested in all aspects of quantum information science, a field that is at the crossroads of computer science and quantum mechanics. In the late 1970’s, he was one of the first researchers to apply quantum mechanical principles to information processing, giving birth to the field of quantum information science at a time when it seemed more like science fiction than science.

Quantum cryptography was hailed in the February 2003 issue of Technology Review, a journal published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as one of the "10 emerging technologies that will change the world". This makes it possible to communicate in perfect secrecy under the nose of an eavesdropper who has unlimited computational power and whose technology is restricted only by the known laws of physics. Gilles Brassard is also one of the inventors of quantum teleportation, which is universally recognized as a fundamental cornerstone of quantum information science. In 2012, Thomson Reuters predicted that Gilles Brassard would one day be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this discovery.

In addition to being the former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cryptology, Professor Brassard has authored three books that have been translated into eight languages and, according to Google Scholar, his scientific articles and books have been cited over 32,000 times. He has been awarded many honours and accolades: most notably, he was the first Canadian to be named a Fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research. He has also won both the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering and the Killam Prize for Natural Sciences, generally considered to be the two most prestigious science prizes in Canada. Professor Gilles Brassard was described as “one of Canada’s science superstars” by British astronomer David Darling. Gilles Brassard is a Fellow of the Royal Society and holder of a doctorate honoris causa from the ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) of Zurich. He was recently appointed Officer of the Order of Canada.

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