Pulse Programmer / News: Recent posts

SQuInT 2011 poster

Jeff Booth and Rob McClure will be presenting their poster at the SQuInt poster session tonight about using the Yellow Box to shelve barium ions in Boris's lab using adiabatic fast passage. In case you're not in Boulder right now, you can view it here:


If you *are* in Boulder, please come find us to chat. Remember, this is what we look like:... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2011-02-18

Ionizer open source project from NIST Boulder

Till Rosenbrand at NIST Boulder has released their ion trap control software as open source, also on SourceForge.


This is a great resource for the whole community, as NIST Boulder is a world leader in trapped ion quantum computing. This is the same software that was used in their recent result of a fully programmable two-qubit quantum processor:


Thanks Till, and to everyone in your group for making your work available to the public!

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-11-08


In case you've been wondering what I've been doing all summer: implementing the infamous Solovay-Kitaev algorithm for generic SU(d) (multi-qubit) gates.


In case you can't tell, I am more excited about projects that have domain names.

And now, on to Super-Kitaev!

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-09-15

Welcome summer students!

This is a little late, but the sunshine only started in Seattle a few weeks ago, so I forgot that it was summer :]

Farewell to David Nufer, Rob McClure, and Jeff Booth who are gone at internships. We look forward to seeing you again in the fall, and I hope to have exciting progress to report then. Also, congratulation to John Williams for graduating, and to Aaron Avril for deferring admission to graduate school.... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-07-19

Undergrad research posters

In the last few weeks, there have been two new posters about the pulse programmer here at the University of Washington.

I made a poster to recruit new undergrads to the project for this summer and the fall, with the grandiose title "Quantum Computer Engineering", mostly about ion traps and pulse programming.


Also, our computer science undergrads, David, Rob, and Jeff, created a poster for the annual undergrad research symposium, describing their separate sub-projects over the past three quarters:... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-06-04

Boerge is now a project admin

Philipp and I would like to recognize Boerge's hard work with the sequencer2 Python software, the Innsbruck DDS board, and his docs for dummies manual.

Today, he is now a full project admin on SourceForge and an owner of the Google Group. Thanks again, Boerge!

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-05-21

Google Summer of Code 2010

I applied to be a mentoring organization for GSoC this summer on behalf of pulse programming. For those of you who don't know, every summer Google matches up students and projects and pays a stipend to produce more quality open source code for the greater public good.

You can find more information about the program here:


Here is the full text of my application:

http://pulse-programmer.org/gsoc/orgapp.html... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-03-13

FPGA PID control circuit uploaded

Dear All,

I'm Hong, a graduate student working with Hartmut at UC Berkeley. I just uploaded the FPGA PID control (to be used for laser lock box, for example) on to the project page. A brief description of what it does is included in the folder though I will keep adding more information onto it.

Please let me know if you have any comment!


Posted by thetorque 2010-03-11

Welcome, UC Berkeley!

Hartmut says that they just started using the sequencer in the Berkeley ion trap experiment last week. I can only assume nothing blew up, yet. In honor of this occasion, I have added a link to UC Berkeley as the sixth participating group of the pulse programmer project:


Welcome, Hartmut, Soenke, Hong, Michael, and other students I haven't met yet!

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-02-09

Pulse programming at SQuInT

Hey everyone, I've decided to hold a pulse programming conference in Santa Fe on the weekend of February 18th - 21st. Now, I know what you're thinking, this is pretty short notice, but I know you are resourceful and you'll find a way to make this happen.

There will be a raffle for a free sequencer board, live demonstrations with an oscilloscope, and drunken conversations about automating experiments. A guaranteed good time. See you there!

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-02-04

sequencer-firmware 0.32 released

The first sequencer firmware build in three years, now available thanks to Rob McClure. I'm posting the link here because my PHP script on the project website doesn't work with the new RSS feeds.


This is a development release only to test Quartus 9.x compilers and the input counting features of pcp4. It is *not* meant for production use. Please read the release notes before using.... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-01-29

Ten sequencer boards available

Get 'em while they're hot. Let me know if you want one. There is an e-mail link at the bottom of the homepage, or you can message me if you are a SourceForge user:


Posted by Paul T. Pham 2010-01-05

Added centroid-XY file for sequencer-hardware

The centroid-XY file is also called a "pick-and-place" file since it is used to program pick-and-place machines for automated assembly.

Since it is required by Screaming Circuits for the latest run of sequencer boards, I have added this file to the package sequencer-hardware, Rev. C


Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-12-09

Favicon and website in SVN

I've moved the website code into Subversion:


But more importantly, we now have a favicon, moving us that much closer to Web 2.0 legitimacy. I know there are people who have been skeptical of the pulse programmer up until this point. Well, lay those fears to rest.


You can also see the Octave/Gnuplot script I used to generate it:... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-11-28

Welcome CSE undergrads!

I'd like to welcome the following four undergrads here in Seattle from the UW Computer Science & Engineering department. They will be working with me this quarter to build a new yellow box from scratch, and next quarter, we will use it to terrorize a 1/6th-scale cardboard replica of Tokyo.

The students are!

Jeffrey Booth
Rob McClure
David Nufer
John Williams

They might be giants. It's hard to tell if we are living in a diorama or not.

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-11-28

New pulse programming blog

Originally I've sent weekly e-mail updates to the dev mailing list, but I thought these might be fun and informative for public consumption as well. So now I will just updates via blog posts here:


I know that SourceForge has a Hosted App feature for Wordpress, but it is lame and doesn't support switching themes. The blog will just contain progress updates for now and will be kept separate from project news, although it's possible I will use it for all news in the future.

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-11-06

Presentation to CSE undergrads

Here are the graphics / slides for the brief, 10-minute talk Aaron and I gave to undergrads in the CSE 467 (Advanced Digital Design) class this morning. Our goal is to encourage more engineering students to participate in the pulse programmer and to connect them with physicists who need engineering collaborators.

Title slide: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulpham/4048493405/

Programmed pulse waveforms: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulpham/4049240762/... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-10-27

Welcome back, Aaron!

Aaron has returned from California and southeast Asia to work on the yellow box in Boris's lab this quarter, as part of his secret bonus year at UW. I am sure you are all relieved that I am not wandering around without undergraduate supervision.

Also, I've updated the People page with the right names and affiliations, at least in Seattle. Please feel free to add to this page to describe your specific contributions to the project. I would also like to add photos soon, links to theses, and "where are they now" news.... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-10-16

Belated farewell to Frank

I had a good-bye lunch with Frank two weeks ago. He is probably well on his way to New Mexico now on a family roadtrip, where I hope he gets to see White Sands National Monument, the Earthship village in Taos, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Good luck in your future plans, Frank!

In related news, the fall quarter just started here at UW yesterday. This means new students have arrived who might be recruited into the Clandestine Order of Pulse Programmers and Electronics Researchers (COPPER).

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-10-01

Source code repositories

I enabled git for this project in SourceForge, to use for developing the upcoming input counting firmware feature in a temporarily closed source way, and then merging it into the open source repository when it is released. So now we are using four different version control systems, and the links on the left sidebar for each of CVS, Subversion, and Mercurial were getting unwieldly.

I've moved them now to a separate page, with a separate link for each repository. For example, SourceForge allows us to have multiple Mercurial and Git repositories. Enjoy!... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-09-21

Change in mercurial repositories

Sourceforge supports now multiple sourceforge repositories. I moved the sequencer2 python files to sequencer2 instead of pulse-sequencer. Additionally the VHDL files for the DDS FPGA are now available at vhdl-ad9910 .

Posted by Philipp Schindler 2009-09-02

Request for comments: input counting

I am currently gathering feedback for adding an input counting feedback to the pulse control processor. This will be useful for counting pulses coming from a photomultiplier tube, collecting data over many runs of the same experiment, taking different action based on the pulse counts, or waiting until a particular pulse count has been reached.

The current requirements and design plan for the feature are listed in this wiki page:... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-08-12

Welcome, Frank Garcia!

Frank is the latest in a proud tradition of Paul-keepers assigned by Boris to supervise my progress. He is an undergraduate in the University of Washington's Department of Physics and Astronomy, and is currently working in the Trapped Ion Quantum Computing Group here in Seattle. He will graduate at the end of the summer, and his future plans are unknown.

Welcome, Frank!

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-07-28

Sequencer board improvements

Due to continuing interest in obtaining the pulse sequencer hardware, I am planning to have another run of boards fabricated as soon as possible, with a quantity of around 50. Before I do that, I am soliciting feedback on changes the community (all of the participating groups) would like to see made to this new revision of the sequencer hardware (Revision D), what quantity people are interested in purchasing, and what price they feel is fair. I can't guarantee that all feedback will be implemented, but I will guarantee that they will all be addressed and receive a response.... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-07-27

Thinking outside the yellow box

My last day at Amazon was July 1st. I am still trying to figure out how my new life is supposed to work, but I am excited to contribute more time back to the pulse programmer on a regular basis. I mean, I just recompiled the firmware for the first time in two years the other day!

I will probably send out lots of manic updates over the next few days, but hopefully Philipp can talk some reason into me.... read more

Posted by Paul T. Pham 2009-07-16

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