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SICE researchers part of grant to grow quantum information science

2018-03-13
Alexander Gumennik
Alexander Gumennik

Researchers from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering are part of a group that has received a multi-million dollar grant from IUs’ Emerging Areas of Research program.

Amr Sabry, a professor of informatics and computing and the chair of the Department of Computer Science, and Alexander Gumennik, assistant professor of Intelligent Systems Engineering, are part of the “Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering” initiative led by Gerardo Ortiz, a professor of physics in IU’s College of Arts and Sciences. The initiative will focus on harnessing the power of quantum entanglement, which is a theoretical phenomenon in which the quantum state of two or more particles have to be described in reference to one another even if the objects are spatially separated.

“Bringing together a unique group of physicists, computer scientists, and engineers to solve common problems in quantum sensing and computation positions IU at the vanguard of this struggle,” Gumennik said. “I believe that this unique implementation approach, enabling integration of individual quantum devices into a monolithic quantum computing circuit, is capable of taking the quantum information science and engineering to a qualitatively new level.”

Quantifying entanglement, using entanglement to solve problems in computation and physics, and developing quantum sensors which use quantum interference effects to achieve greatly enhanced measurement sensitivity are some of the goals of the effort. Besides funding, the support of the EAR program will provide an opportunity for new faculty hires in departments of Physics, Intelligent Systems Engineering, and Computer science.

The Emerging Areas of Research program was established in 2016 as part of the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for IU Bloomington. The inaugural award provided $3 million in funding to a team of researchers from SICE and CoAS studying the application of toddler learning to the improvement of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Almost any emerging area of research you can imagine today will involve computing of some kind,” Sabry said. “Whether it be the EAR awards or the Grand Challenges program, cutting-edge research is going to involve SICE. If you’re studying medicine, it involves computing. If you’re studying quantum physics, SICE is going to be involved. We’ve become the engine of virtually any new research these days.”

The idea for the initiative was planted a decade ago, but it wasn’t until the Intelligent Systems Engineering program was established at SICE that the study became feasible.

“With our campus’s strengths in physics, informatics, and intelligent systems engineering, we have the good fortune to already possess unique, cross-disciplinary expertise in quantum science,” Ortiz said. “With the support of EAR, I think we'll be able to grow international recognition for excellence in quantum information science and technology as the field itself continues to grow.”

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