IBM-Trinity Pre-Doc Program: IBM-TCD Pre-doc Fellowship in Quantum Science

Job type: 

Application deadline: 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

We are delighted to offer a PhD position in the area of quantum compilation and quantum simulation as part of a new initiative between IBM Research Europe Ireland and Trinity College Dublin. The PhD project will be jointly supervised by Prof. John Goold at the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin and the research team at IBM Dublin.

This selected student will have the following benefits:

Access to resources both at IBM Research and TCD

Research experience in both private and public sectors

Employment opportunities after graduation

A substantial PhD Salary (>30,000) euro per annum.

A more detailed description of the project is below:

Title: Approximate quantum compilation and quantum simulation

Compilation of unitary matrices for use in current noisy and connectivity-limited quantum computers is an important enabler for testing and proving quantum advantage. The key problem is how to generate a circuit that can be implemented on current hardware, which can be run respecting fidelity and coherence requirements, that is the closest as possible to the unitary that we would like to implement and simulate. Under different notions of closeness, e.g., fidelity, the problem can be formulated as a combinatorial optimization problem over the type and placement of two qubit and one qubit gates, as well as a continuous optimization over the parameters of the one qubit gates.
As an important physical example, simulation of a physical Hamiltonian can be cast as a quantum compilation problem. This includes the quantum simulations of paradigmatic integrable and non- integrable quantum many-body systems such as spin chains. Currently, one would carefully design the Hamiltonian, then approximate it via a Trotter decomposition, then approximate the resulting two qubit gates via Cartan decompositions, and subsequently transpile it on the hardware, thereby introducing errors and increasing the circuit length. Instead, approximate quantum compilation can be used directly to the Hamiltonian to find the closest unitary that can be directly implemented, circumventing any ad- hoc procedures, and virtually being able to tackle any Hamiltonian in the same fashion.
The goals of the project are:
· To design mathematical optimization algorithms to tackle approximate quantum compilation problems specifically arising in quantum simulation. Here one could use current techniques as guiding principles to find useful heuristics to solve the combinatorial optimization problem.
· To explore quantum compilation in the context of quantum dynamics of integrable and nonintegrable many-body systems.
· To test the ideas on real hardware and showcase both the scalability of the mathematical algorithms and a path to quantum advantage for quantum simulation.
Required profile:
· Physics: knowledge of quantum simulation and current techniques to compile them in quantum hardware
· Familiarity with many-body physics and quantum information theory and advantage
· Math: knowledge of how to formulate and solve combinatorial and continuous optimization problems
· Software: a good command of Python is an asset

How to apply
Please email a cover letter and CV (with names of two references) to Prof. John Goold ( and Martin Mevissen (
Please note that a separate application will be required at IBM for shortlisted candidates.

More about the IBM-TCD programme:

IBM Research Europe - Dublin and Trinity College Dublin (TCD) are seeking outstanding candidates for our newly established PhD fellowship programme. Based in Dublin Ireland, successful candidates will conduct research at IBM’s Dublin Research laboratory as part of the IBM Research community, as well as being part of the TCD graduate community, jointly supervised by a researcher at IBM and a Professor at TCD. Currently we are seeking to fill positions in the following areas:
Quantum - Compilation and quantum simulation
AI - Reinforcement learning for real life; Incremental machine learning;
Future of computing
Security/ Privacy: Proactive Data privacy compliance.

Successful candidates, in addition to having outstanding records of accomplishments at undergraduate or Master level, will be expected to be self-motivated and a self-starter with a passion for scientific research and advanced technology development. Candidates will be required to relocate to Dublin, Ireland, in September 2021 through out the duration of PhD studies. Accepted candidates will be paid an annual salary starting from €30,000 with paid tuition, and will have access to IBM Research worldwide staff and tools.

IBM Research Europe - Ireland is one of IBM’s newest research labs. Founded in 2011, the lab has successfully grown to over 70 staff members, focusing on Future of Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum, Security and Healthcare.

Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s oldest and top ranked university. Founded in 1592, with notable alumni including, Hamilton, Stokes, Walton, Wilde, Shaw, Beckett, Stoker, and others.

Further information on the posts and the newly established programme can be obtained by contacting Gal Weiss at: