Tuesday, July 21st, 2020

Simons Institute to Take Part in New Quantum Computing Consortium

As part of the federal government's effort to speed the development of quantum computers, the National Science Foundation has awarded UC Berkeley $25 million over five years as part of its Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes (QLCI) initiative. With support from this grant, Berkeley will establish a multi-university consortium, the QLCI for Present and Future Quantum Computation, focused on advancing quantum science and engineering and training a future workforce to build and use quantum computers.

The Simons Institute will play a critical role in this consortium, hosting a variety of activities and visitors over the five years. It is uniquely placed to address a key feature of these challenges: progress on these will require a close collaboration among researchers from computer science, physics, chemistry, and mathematics.

For example, this is the case in the testing of quantum devices, where recent breakthroughs have revealed remarkable new connections between classical cryptography and quantum protocols for testing. In quantum machine learning, a similar deep interaction among researchers in quantum algorithms, classical machine learning, and physics is called for. In algorithms for quantum chemistry, researchers from chemistry, physics, and computer science must work intensely together to more deeply define the important questions and paradigms.

"The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley is uniquely poised to create this engagement," said Umesh Vazirani, who will lead the quantum computing effort at the Institute. "It is a mecca for the foundations of computing and will host a number of researchers in quantum computing and facilitate the kind of intense, in-person, cross-disciplinary collaboration that can result in rapid progress."

Simons Institute Director Shafi Goldwasser remarked, "We're very happy to host this research effort at the Simons Institute. The aesthetics of quantum computation offer a new perspective on many aspects of theoretical computer science, from efficient algorithms to new complexity classes, and in particular on the strength of the existing cryptographic infrastructure in light of the race among companies and government agencies around the world to build mid-scale quantum computers."

Read more about the new institute here.