International Workshop on Physical Computing

October 29 - November 6, 2022 in Erice, Sicily/Italy

© Antonio Calà Lesina/PhoenixD
View from the conference venue (Erice, Italy).

Computers based on transistors have been highly successful to solve daunting scientific problems for decades. However, some of the challenges humanity is facing cannot be solved even by the fastest supercomputers on earth, hence novel paradigms for information processing are needed. Physical Computing is the vision to employ physics itself for unconventional information processing beyond what is possible with analog and digital computing systems.

Our workshop theme is driven by the idea that physical concepts, functional materials and devices could be used to run computations directly, in contrast to using logic gates. There are several emerging themes and implementations of this concept, which we would like to cover in depth.

Prominent examples are neuromorphic computing with
brain-inspired hardware, such as memristive in-memory computing
and photonic neuromorphic computing with phase-change materials.

Similarly, we consider quantum computation in many-body
systems, such as in arrays of neutral atoms, complex photonic metamaterials and optical hardware for implementing

mathematical operations, for example for use in deep learning. With recent advances in merging both approaches in quantum-driven
brain-inspired hardware, there is also an over-arching scheme to unite
different implementations of physical computing in next-generation architectures.

The workshop features talks by invited experts and a poster session for
all the participants. A limited number of fee waivers will be assigned
to the applicants who are in need of financial support.

A potential outcome for the community at large could be a roadmap on physical computing as guidance for researchers in the field, as well as a summer school on this topic afterwards.

The workshop will be held in English.

Further information on the workshop

  • Invited Speakers
    • Ulrik Andersen, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
    • Tim Bartley, Paderborn University, Germany 
    • David Barton (Marko Loncar group), Harvard University, USA 
    • Stefanie Barz, University of Stuttgart, Germany
    • Harish Bhaskaran, University of Oxford, UK
    • Sebastian Blatt, Max-Planck-Institute for Quantum Optics, Germany
    • Eric Blow (Paul Prucnal group), Princeton University, USA
    • David Aaron Broadway (Patrick Maletinsky group), University of Basel, Switzerland
    • Robert Chapman (Rachel Grange group), ETH Zurich, Switzerland
    • Claudio Conti, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
    • Fei Ding, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
    • Timko Dubielzig (Christian Ospelkaus group), Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
    • Simon Gröblacher, TU Delft, Netherlands
    • Alexander Khajetoorians, Radboud University, Netherlands
    • Helena Knowles, Cambridge University, UK
    • Alexander Kubanek, Ulm University, Germany
    • Michael Kues, Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover, Germany 
    • Florian Marquardt, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Germany
    • Uwe Morgner, Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover, Deutschland
    • Markus Oberthaler, Heidelberg University, Germany
    • Brice Primavera (Jeff Shainline group), NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA
    • Bart Jan Ravoo, Münster University, Germany 
    • Carlos Rios, University of Maryland, USA
    • Martin Salinga, University of Münster, Germany
    • Johannes Schemmel, Heidelberg University, Germany
    • Carsten Schuck, University of Münster, Germany
    • Sebastian Krinner (Andreas Wallraff group), ETH, Switzerland
    • Wilfred van der Wiel, University of Twente, Netherlands
    • Joerg Wrachtrup, University of Stuttgart, Germany
    • Patrick Yard (Anthony Laing group), University of Bristol, UK
  • Topics covered during the workshop include
    • Photonic computing
    • Quantum computing

    • Memristiv in-memory computing

    • Biological computing approaches

    • Cold atom platforms

    • Mechanical computing

    • Analog computing systems

    • Optical neural networks

    • Spiking neural networks

    • Computational metamaterials

  • Workshop fee

    The all-inclusive fee for the Workshop on Physical Computing is 1.200 Euro. The participation fee is unbreakable, independently of the number of days you stay at the workshop. Therefore, any accompanying persons will have to pay 150 Euro per day. Nonetheless, invited speakers and their accompanying persons will have to pay only for the days they stay at the Ettore Majorana Centre (EMFCSC). Details on the payment of the workshop fee will be sent after the registration.

    For eligible participants, there is a limited number of grants/scholarships available, which will cover the workshop fee. Please formulate your request in the motivation letter.

    Included meals: Breakfast is served at the San Rocco coffee area to all participants accommodated in the EMFCSC premises, whereas participants in hotels may have their breakfast there or at San Rocco.

    At the restaurants associated with EMSCS, meals are free. The workshop participants have to show their badges and sign a list provided by the restaurant. Beverages and meals not included in the EMCSC menu are extras and must be paid for by the participant. The choice among the associated restaurants is free. Thus, if you need exceptional food (vegetarian, kosher, etc.), you should negotiate directly with the restaurant (the EMSCS secretary will gladly offer his assistance).

    Coffee, tea, sandwiches, fresh fruits, mineral water, and Sicilian sweets are available 24 hours in the San Rocco coffee area and in the coffee-break area at San Domenico.

  • Good to know
    • A shuttle service will pick up participants upon arrival at the airport or the railway station.

    • A free wireless connection is available in various areas of the Majorana Centre.

    • Erice is about 800 m above sea level, on top of a mountain next to the sea. In Fall evenings, Erice may be chilly and, occasionally, foggy or/and windy. Do not forget to bring a good jacket. Bring good jogging shoes (to walk on the stones of the archaeological sites and the rough pavement of Erice streets). Participants need no formal dress at any event, including the banquet.

    Smoking is forbidden

    Smoking is forbidden in all the facilities of the workshop venue Ettore Majorana Centre (San Rocco, San Domenico, San Francesco), including rooms. Likewise, restaurants in Erice are all no-smoking.

Conference Venue

© Antonio Calà Lesina/PhoenixD


Via Guarnotti, 26
91016 Erice (Sicily), Italy
Phone: +39-0923-869133
Closest international airport: Palermo (PMO)

Transfer to/from Erice will be arranged by the Ettore Majorana Centre.

Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture

Directors of Workshop

© Tobias Schwerdt
Prof. Dr. Wolfram Pernice
Heidelberg University
Kirchhoff-Institute for Physics
Im Neuenheimer Feld 227
69120 Heidelberg
© Tobias Schwerdt
Prof. Dr. Wolfram Pernice
Heidelberg University
Kirchhoff-Institute for Physics
Im Neuenheimer Feld 227
69120 Heidelberg
Prof. Dr. Antonio Calà Lesina
Leibniz University Hannover
Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD
Welfengarten 1A
30167 Hannover
Prof. Dr. Antonio Calà Lesina
Leibniz University Hannover
Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD
Welfengarten 1A
30167 Hannover

The workshop is a joint event of the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover and Heidelberg University.