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Identifying quantum advantage via tensor networks


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Monday 10 June 2024
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Dr Zlatko Papic
Additional supervisors
Professor Jiannis Pachos
School of Physics and Astronomy
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Rapid technological progress has ushered in the era of quantum computers and, with them, the race for quantum advantage. However, identifying problems for which quantum devices can show true advantage over classical ones can be non-trivial: various recent claims of quantum advantage by Google and IBM were quickly refuted by development of innovative classical algorithms. The goal of this project is to identify problems and experimental regimes for which existing quantum algorithms and quantum simulations have a genuine advantage over classical methods. By applying tensor networks (TNs) &ndash; a class of variational algorithms for simulating many-qubit systems on a classical computing architecture, this project will establish under what circumstances realistic quantum simulators show a genuine advantage in calculating useful properties of idealised materials or experimental systems out of equilibrium.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Rapid technological progress has brought us to a point where quantum computers are becoming widely available. Nevertheless, such machines are currently prone to various sources of errors, limiting their usefulness in fundamental physics applications. The key challenge is to identify interesting problems that are both suitable for the current generation of quantum computers and beyond reach of classical methods. For example, can the existing quantum computers address useful problems in quantum dynamics and simulating high-energy spectroscopy experiments on solid-state materials? In which cases is the quantum hardware actually advantageous? This project will explore such questions using tensor network methods. Tensor networks (TNs) are a class of variational algorithms based on quantum entanglement. TNs allow for accurate and efficient simulation of ground states of many-qubit systems on classical computers.</p> <p>Specifically, this project will explore TNs to address two important challenges:</p> <ol> <li>What are the useful problems beyond ground-state physics that TNs can solve efficiently? While TNs are known to successfully capture the ground states of many-qubit systems, this project will explore which types of out-of-equilibrium dynamics can be captured via TNs, thus breaking the &ldquo;exponential wall&rdquo; of entanglement growth during time evolution.</li> </ol> <ol start="2"> <li>The race for quantum advantage is on-going. Recent claims of quantum supremacy by Google and IBM were quickly refuted by classical TN algorithms. This project will seek to identify problems and experimental regimes for which quantum simulators show a genuine advantage over classical TN methods. We will focus on problems that are important for physics, e.g., establishing under what circumstances realistic quantum simulators show a genuine advantage in calculating non-equilibrium and high-energy properties of condensed matter systems.</li> </ol>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course for Study section that you are applying for&nbsp;<em><strong>EPSRC DTP Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences</strong></em>, in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is&nbsp;<strong><em>Identifying quantum advantage via tensor networks</em></strong>&nbsp;as well as <a href="">Dr Zlatko Papic</a> as your proposed supervisor and&nbsp;<em><strong>in the Finance section, please state that the funding source you are applying for is EPSRC Quantum Technologies&nbsp;Doctoral Training Studentship</strong></em>.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p>Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents at the point you submit your application:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>A highly competitive EPSRC Quantum Technologies Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship offering the award of fees, together with a tax-free maintenance grant of &pound;19,237 per year for 3.5 years.&nbsp; Training and support will also be provided.<br /> <br /> This opportunity is open to UK applicants only.<br /> <br /> Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information regarding this project, please contact Dr Zlatko Papic by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</p> <p>For information about Quantum Technologies or the Bragg Centre for Materials Research, please email&nbsp;<a href=""></a>.</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>