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Cold atoms based quantum computation with one clean qubit

Important description
At present, no single feature of the quantum world has been identified as the source of the computational enhancement, efficiency and speed-up of quantum technology. Whilst entanglement is widely recognised as a key resource in quantum technology, an exponential advantage over classical technology can be achieved without it in the presence of non-classical correlations. Furthermore for specific tasks separable states with discord have been proved to be even more efficient than entanglement. The dynamics of entanglement and discord differ considerably, with entanglement being extremely fragile towards decoherence (even undergoing entanglement ""sudden death"" ) and discord being much more robust.

The goal of this project is to experimentally investigate the physics and the computational power of quantum discord in many-atom ensembles for a specific algorithm that performs the normalized trace estimation. We will be using the DQC1 model (deterministic quantum computation with one clean qubit) to compute sums over extremely large strings of numbers, which make the computation classically intractable. As an illustrative example, consider one hundred atoms trapped in an optical dipole trap. A unitary operation on these atoms would be described by a 2^100-by-2^100 matrix. Finding the normalised trace of this matrix is equivalent to adding up 10^30 numbers, which is a task that is classically intractable: modern supercomputers can perform 10^12 operations per second and therefore it would take about the age of the universe to have the same task. This is potentially transformative because quantum discord has not yet been studied in systems with large Hilbert spaces, and the successful demonstration of the exponential speed-up of the computational capability would be a major leap forward in the field. The ultimate impact of this research idea would be to gain a variety of experimental insights into, and thus a deeper understanding of, the quantum correlations that would be present in all quantum systems.

The project focuses on the experimental demonstration of the computational model based on Cold Rubidium atoms confined in optical traps, by enabling interactions between atoms trapped at different locations to perform controlled logic operations on ensembles of atoms. You will be using state-of-the-art equipment to cool, confine and manipulate atoms including lasers at different wavelengths, vacuum pumps, optics, electronics. For images from the lab follow the link: www.physics.open.ac.uk/~sbergamini

Eligibility and other criteria

This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. Applications for this project are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
*30 April 2013

Additional information, and important URL
Qualifications required: Degree in Physics (1st or upper second class)

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