We are addressing scientific challenges in synthetic quantum systems and quantum simulation. We are producing novel states of light and matter exhibiting strong quantum mechanical correlations which will enable simulations of complex interacting quantum systems.
We are focussed on engineering quantum systems so that they can be used as tools across the sciences. A key aspect of this is developing the theoretical foundations for processing information using quantum matter. An outcome of this project is the simulation of complex condensed-matter and materials systems, and the realization of future quantum technologies for computation and communications.
To capture the critical scientific questions to be addressed we have developed the following grand challenges to define the direction of our research:
- Produce programmable quantum simulators capable of outperforming the best classical technology.
- Achieve complete control over individual quantum particles in a strong interacting many-body system with tuneable interactions.
- Address key fundamental theoretical questions.
Quantum simulators will be unnecessary for exponentially-efficient simulation if the Extended Church-Turing thesis—a fundamental tenet of modern computer science—is correct. However, the thesis would be strongly contradicted by any device that efficiently performs a computational task believed to be intractable for classical computers. We have tested such a task—Boson Sampling—finding it robust and thus scalable to large numbers of photons. Scaling our experiment will have profound implications for both computer science and physics, as highlighted in numerous articles—in both popular and technical outlets including New Scientist, Scientific American, Nature, and Science.
In 2012 EQuS, in collaboration with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), published research detailing achievements towards realization of the first quantum simulator at a computationally relevant scale, using a crystal of just 300 atoms suspended in space. Significantly, we were able to realise interactions previously unknown in nature, engineering totally new forms of quantum matter.
We have made substantial advances in classifying novel phases of quantum matter over a range of antiferromagnetic models—including the renowned AKLT model—and connecting their computational power to well-studied pilot models. We have proposed an architecture that achieves some of the robustness properties of topological models, but with a drastically simpler construction, and created a new way to simulate classical Ising models in 2D or 3D using a relatively simple quantum state overlap experiment. This is a notable advance, since prior work in the discipline only showed how to do this for imaginary temperature classical systems whereas our new method works for real temperatures.