November 17, 2022

Computing science professor Matthew Amy is appointed a Tier 2 CRC in Quantum Computing. Professor Amy’s research aims to understand and ultimately access the real-world computational capabilities and applications of quantum computers.

Quantum computers are computers which operate according to the physical laws of quantum mechanics. On a theoretical level, quantum computation promises to solve certain problems exponentially faster than the best known classical methods, with applications from breaking conventional cryptography to the simulation and discovery of new materials, drugs, and processes for fighting climate change.

A canonical first real-world application is the simulation of nitrogenase, an enzyme involved in the process of nitrogen fixation needed for fertilizer production and which has resisted simulation even with modern super-computers. Advances in nitrogen and carbon fixation would have deep impacts on our ability to fight climate change --- nitrogen fixation alone accounts for up to 3% of the total CO2 emissions and 1% of the energy used worldwide.

In practice, quantum computation involves a high degree of overhead necessary to operate them and maintain the system in an error-free state. Without careful accounting and reduction of the overheads involved through the process of quantum compilation, these overheads can diminish or potentially erase quantum computational advantages.

Professor Amy’s research focuses on the development of techniques for programming, compiling, and ultimately reducing the overheads of quantum programs.

In the short term, Amy’s research will allow scientists to experiment with, test and validate currently available quantum devices, as well as assess the computational advantages of future ones. In the long term, the lessons learned and techniques developed now will enable the programming and operation of large-scale, universal quantum computers.