Physics Professors Bryan Clark and Taylor Hughes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been awarded US Department of Energy (DOE) grants to develop new quantum computing capabilities. The awards are part of a $37-million DOE initiative supporting research that will lay the groundwork for the development of new quantum information systems and that will use current quantum information capabilities to advance research in material and chemical sciences.

Quantum information science (QIS) is an exciting and rapidly growing field promising a broad range of advances beyond today’s classical technologies. QIS exploits quantum mechanics—the theory that explains nature at all scales, from electrons, to atoms, to neutron stars—as a platform for information processing, data storage, and secure communications. Quantum computers will use qubits, non-binary bits capable of hosting near limitless quantum states to process and store data, while quantum communications will leverage quantum mechanical properties such as entanglement to generate unhackable encryption.

Clark’s team received $450,000 to develop new-generation quantum computing algorithms for simulating quantum many-body systems  on today’s small error-prone quantum computers as well as hybrid quantum-classical machines.  One of the most promising applications for quantum computers is the simulation of quantum systems ranging from molecules to materials.  Results of such simulations will have implications for medicine and pharmacology, manufacturing, computing, networking, and sensing.

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