Quantum Computing Foundations, Algorithms, and Complexity

About the Project:
Quantum computing is a rapidly growing research area in science and technology which proposes a distinctive computational speedup compared to the common classical machines. At Quantum Computing and Foundations Group, Royal Holloway, University of London, we are focused on the fundamental aspects of quantum computing theory that enables us to take advantage of this power. We offer two fully funded PhD positions to talented and creative students to join the teams of Dr Farid Shahandeh and Dr Stephen Piddock, and work on either of the following broadly-defined areas:

Foundations of Quantum Computing:
We aim to determine the role of fundamental nonclassical characteristics such as coherence, entanglement, nonlocality, and contextuality in information processing protocols. Multiple specific research projects with this theme are available. These include but are not restricted to the characterization of nonlocality and contextuality in quantum computers and quantum machine learning. In addition, in this role you will be supported to follow your independent ambition within the overall frame specified above.

Quantum algorithms and quantum computational complexity:
The overall aim of this project is to find new algorithms, improve current methods or conversely show when an efficient quantum algorithm is not possible. You would undertake research into designing and analysing the performance of quantum algorithms. This can be done either by rigorously proving the asymptotic run time on an arbitrarily large theoretical device, or by numerical experiments to determine what could be possible on the limited quantum devices that exist now or will be available in the near future. Possible topics include algorithms based on quantum walks, algorithms for topological data analysis or algorithms for calculating properties of quantum systems. An alternative direction is to study the computational complexity of problems in order to determine when an efficient algorithm is not feasible. Of particular interest here are problems related to properties of quantum systems, such as computing physical quantities like the ground state energy or the partition function.

The duration of each program is 3.5 years. You are expected to have (or about to obtain) a Masters degree or equivalent (e.g., a First Class Honours) in Computer Science, Mathematics, or Physics. A strong background in the theory of quantum computation, quantum foundations, quantum information theory, or closely related fields is advantageous. Further to the freedom in the choice of research topics and the availability of a broad range of prospective specific projects, you will have the opportunity to establish close collaborations with excellent theoretical and experimental scientists within the College, the UK, and internationally.

The selected candidates will start as soon as possible, with a starting date anytime between 1 April and 1 September 2023.

For informal inquiries, please contact Dr Farid Shahandeh (farid.shahandeh@rhul.ac.uk) or Dr Stephen Piddock (Stephen.piddock@rhul.ac.uk).

For applications, you should send a covering letter, your CV, and a list of publications (if any) to Dr Farid Shahandeh (farid.shahandeh@rhul.ac.uk). Further to these documents, two reference letters must be submitted to the same address by your reference bodies before the application deadline of 17/02/2023.

The interviews of the shortlisted candidates are expected to take place in week commencing 1 March 2023.

Funding Notes:
Studentships provide funding for 3.5 years to cover the UK rate tuition fees (2022/23 rates) £4,596 and stipend at UKRI rates (2022/23) £19,668. The funding available is for UK rate tuition fees, however exceptional international candidates will be considered, if the resources to fund the difference between UK and international tuition fee rates can be identified.