Skip to main content

Applications of irreversibility in classical and quantum computation


Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Friday 17 April 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Competition funded
Source of funding
Research council
Additional supervisors
Dr. David Jennings, Dr. Marc de Kamps
School of Computing
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Quantum Technologies offer advances that will impact the 21st Century in fundamental ways. The past 2 years have seen the emergence of a &quot;quantum space race&quot; where quantum computing is entering a phase called the Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) era, and with an explosion of interest from prominent industrial directions (such as Google and IBM) and countries around the world (The USA has a $1.2 billion budget investment for quantum technologies; In China, $1 billion for the construction of Hefei labs). The PhD programme takes recent theoretical tools in quantum information theory and will develop both classical and quantum algorithms for near-term technologies. The PhD will be supervised by experts both in quantum theory (Dr. Jennings) and classical computing theory (Dr. de Kamps) and is fundamentally a multi-disciplinary programme between the two schools.

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

<p>It has been estimated that the global quantum computing market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.6%&nbsp;throughout 2018-2024, and be worth US$495.3m by 2023. The UK has committed itself to heavily investing in Quantum Technologies, as demonstrated by the EPSRC Roadmap to Quantum Technology. This is mirrored in Europe with the European Quantum Manifesto, and in the USA with the recent $1.2billion National Quantum Initiative Act.</p> <p>The research programme takes recent theoretical tools that have been extensively developed in so-called &rdquo;single-shot quantum thermodynamics&#39;&#39; (SQT) and provides a range of novel applications to topics in future Quantum Technologies, e.g. for Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) devices. SQT studies disorder in small, individual quantum systems and grew out of work on quantum entanglement. It provides a well-defined toolkit to study fundamental aspects of thermodynamics (such as free energy). Of key importance is that it is formulated in a manner that relates thermodynamics directly to intrinsically quantum mechanical properties such as quantum coherence and entanglement and generalises traditional statistical mechanics (stat-mech) in a form tailored to quantum information science. The research programme will take the tools developed within SQT and pioneers original applications of these tools to quantum technology research (quantum computing, quantum information processing, the development of classical algorithms). An advantage of this strategy is that SQT tools blend &ldquo;hardware&#39;&#39; features (e.g. actual Hamiltonians, free energies) with &ldquo;software&#39;&#39; considerations (abstract information-theoretic protocols). Another motivation for this is that concepts in macroscopic thermodynamics have been extremely useful in diverse non-thermodynamic fields such as economics, computing algorithms, and probabilistic analysis. E.g. Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques are routinely applied in Bayesian statistics, the computation of intractable integrals, and in computational linguistics. So far however there has not been any systematic application of SQT concepts to quantum technologies &amp; algorithms. The aim programme will initiate this application into quantum technologies and algorithm development. The PhD will be supervised by experts in both quantum theory (Dr. Jennings) and classical computing theory (Dr. de Kamps) and is fundamentally a multi-disciplinary programme between the two schools.</p>

<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 research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <strong><em>Applications of irreversibility in classical and quantum computation</em></strong> as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr David Jennings</a> and&nbsp;<a href="">Dr Marc&nbsp;de Kamps</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisors.</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>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<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 Studentship Award offering Academic Fee at Home/EU Fee rate, plus Maintenance of &pound;15,285 per year for 3.5 years.</p> <p description="" full="">The Award can be used to fund projects that would be co-supervised across (at least) two schools within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.</p> <p><strong>Note to EU Candidates:</strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;To be eligible for the full award of fees and maintenance, you must&nbsp;have residency in the UK for 3 or more years prior to your start date.&nbsp;If you do not have 3 years residency in the UK, you may be eligible for a&nbsp;<strong>Fee Only</strong>&nbsp;award.</p> <p>Please note that International applicants are not eligible to apply for this funding.</p>

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

<p>For further information regarding your applciation,&nbsp;please contact Doctoral College Admissions:<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr David Jennings:&nbsp;<a href=""></a> or Dr Marc de Kamps:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

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