Yale Joins as Research Partner in the $ 25 Million Quantum Leap Challenge Institute

The University is associated with a multi-institutional project which seeks to exploit the behavior of complex quantum systems.


Contributing journalist


Yale Daily News

As of September 2, Yale has been a key academic partner of the Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Robust Quantum Simulation, a project to develop new technologies by gaining a better understanding of quantum systems.

The project was set up with $ 25 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, to expand its network of three existing quantum institutes in the United States. The project was created alongside a fifth institute specializing in quantum biological detection.

Led by professor of computer science Andrew Childs at the University of Maryland, the project currently consists of experts from several other academic institutions, including Yale, Princeton, Duke and North Carolina State University. Shruti Puri, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physics at Yale, spearheads the university’s contributions to the institute. Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology are also involved in the project.

“Although quantum computing is an emerging technology… it is clear that it has the potential to allow us to do things that would not be possible with conventional computers. … [It could] be used for pharmaceuticals or catalyst design … [or] priest[ing] diseases, ”Childs said.

Asked about his personal motivation to participate in the project, Jeff Thompson ’07, the head of the institute’s branch at Princeton, cited the unique opportunities this collaboration provided to “let[ting] a lot of creative ideas are exchanged very quickly. In addition to being multi-institutional, the initiative is also multidisciplinary, bringing together quantum scientists who identify with various branches of physics, computer science and engineering.

The collaborative logistics of the project emphasizes meetings and workshops between participating research institutions, as well as more specialized work assigned to the team at each institution, according to Thompson and Childs.

Puri explained in an email to the News that his work for the project focuses on protecting quantum systems from exposure to various errors.

Other aspects of the project that researchers are currently exploring include the interaction of quantum simulators with the environment and possible ways to use this understanding for scientific or technological applications.

With each team of researchers focusing on a different area of ​​quantum science, there is individual flexibility and freedom to pursue what they are most passionate about, while maintaining the overall direction of the project, according to Childs.

It might even be helpful for different teams to “build the same experience in several different ways and make sure you get the same response across different approaches” to build better understanding and precision of project efforts, Thompson said.

But the Institute for Robust Quantum Simulation also encompasses an increasingly necessary educational aspect with the growing demand for quantum computation specialists in the tech and engineering industries, according to Childs. Recognizing that not everyone has a doctorate in physics and quantum science, a historic requirement for workers in the field, the project sought to expand the inclusiveness of the field and recruit workers from other backgrounds, explained Thompson.

Through education and career development partnerships with Morgan State University and North Carolina Central University – both historically black colleges and universities – the project provides relevant coursework and research opportunities to students from backgrounds. traditionally under-represented in STEM. Thompson also referred to the close ties the University of Maryland has with local K-12 organizations, explaining that the university may have plans to engage in developing and sustaining youth participation in quantum studies. .

“The NSF really wants to make these quantum leap challenge institutes larger than the universities that are currently members of them,” Childs said. “There is currently a discussion to allow people from other universities to get involved in the research that is going on in QLCIs. “

The institute is in its infancy, with its research partners occupying administrative positions. Childs stressed that executives decide the priority of the $ 25 million in funds they will receive from the NSF, a number he says matches their ambitious proposal.

NSF has provided $ 9.6 million of the $ 25 million for the project so far.

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