Four CQuIC Faculty Receive EAGER Awards

September 2, 2020 - Gloria Cordova

Group photo of Miyake, Crosson, Albash and Becerra

EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) each year to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work may be considered especially “high risk-high payoff” in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.

CQuIC is proud to announce that this year, four CQuIC faculty received EAGER awards. Professors Akimasa Miyake, Elizabeth Crosson, and Tameem Albash have been awarded grants under the Quantum Algorithm Challenge, the largest number of such grants awarded to any institution this year.Professor F. Elohim Becerra Chavez was awarded an EAGER grant from the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, jointly with Prof. Keith Lidke of the Department of Physics & Astronomy and Prof. Diane Lidke of the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine.The work of the faculty and their research groups funded by the EAGER awards will enhance other current and future projects in quantum information science conducted at CQuIC and collaboratively across campus.

With the aid of NSF EAGER award, Miyake group aims to apply explicitly correlated electronic structure theory in quantum chemistry to quantum algorithms and simulation. This new project is also synergetic with ongoing NSF-funded STAQ quantum computing project, which co-designs state-of-the-art ion-trap quantum computers for practical applications.

Crosson’s project investigates the connection between physical thermalization – the process by which a physical quantum system comes into thermal equilibrium with its environment – and the behavior and convergence of quantum algorithms for simulating thermal states. Specifically, the project investigates the quantum Metropolis algorithm, which is a quantum algorithm that directly generalizes one of the most successful 20th century paradigms for simulating classical statistical physics. By paralleling developments that occurred in the corresponding classical algorithm, this project seeks to determine general conditions which imply that a quantum computer can efficiently simulate quantum thermal properties.

The research goal of the Albash group is to use the EAGER award to study the viability of hybrid quantum-classical algorithms to deliver a quantum advantage for approximating the ground state of many-body non-stoquastic Hamiltonians, a class of quantum Hamiltonians that describes many relevant model systems.This project will make this assessment by combining lessons from spin-glass theory and a side-by-side comparison of the computational cost of hybrid quantum-classical variational algorithms and state-of-the-art classical algorithms using well-defined problem classes of non-stoquastic Hamiltonians of varying difficulty. The project highlights the multi-disciplinary nature of quantum computing and will train students to have a diverse toolbox to tackle emerging challenges in the field.

The collaboration among the groups of Becerra, K. Lidke, and D. Lidke is an interdisciplinary effort in cell biology and biophysics; single-molecule super-resolution microscopy; and quantum optical measurements. This work investigates the use of quantum-enhanced measurements for approaching the physical limits in precision in localization to study protein-protein interactions and determine protein organization during cellular signaling. Such knowledge will provide a fundamental understanding of how changes in membrane protein organization govern cellular outcome, both in normal and diseased states.