Dr Michał Studziński in the National Science Centre competition - Sonata 16

In the competition of the National Science Centre Sonata 16 grant, dr Michał Studziński from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science UG received over PLN 1 million. Thanks to this, for three years he will realise a project entitled Symmetries and entanglement in quantum circuits.

The National Science Centre announced the SONATA 16 competition for research projects, intended for scientists who obtained their PhD degree within 2 to 7 years before the year of application. Applicants could apply for funding of projects covering basic research lasting 12 months, 24 months or 36 months. The budget of the competition amounts to PLN 100 million.

Ewa Karolina Cichocka talks to dr Michał Studziński from the Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics about research plans for the project.

- In the title of your grant some words are difficult for laymen: symmetry, entanglement and quanta. How do you approach the subject and how can non-scientific minds understand it?

- Imagine a square and then rotate it by an angle of 90 degrees to its centre - what will happen? Basically nothing, the square will look exactly the same as it did before the rotation. We can say that the square is invariant to rotations that are multiples of a right angle. My scientific work so far has been based on the study of this type of invariance (symmetry) but in relation to micro-scale phenomena. Then, using this invariant in combination with the phenomenon of quantum entanglement or quantum teleportation we investigated the usefulness of such a synergy to obtain quantum-mechanical protocols performing some predetermined task much more efficiently than existing procedures which do not use quantum effects.

- We already know a bit about symmetries, but what is this quantum entanglement and teleportation?

- Very generally speaking, quantum entanglement between particles causes the state of their whole to be better determined than the state of its parts. This non-intuitive feature has found several groundbreaking applications in so-called quantum information theory, a branch of science that deals with the use of quantum phenomena to, among other things, store or transmit data and perform calculations. One such phenomenon closely related to entanglement is quantum teleportation, where two laboratories, often very distant, can use quantum entanglement to transfer quantum states between each other without physically moving the particle.

- What will the research in your project consist of?

- In the project awarded by the National Science Centre we plan two main research threads. In the first one, we will study a model of a universal quantum processor, a device that uses in its operation mainly the teleportation phenomenon described above. It is in a sense an analogue of the processor found in our home computers, of course using completely different processes of operation. Our main goal in this aspect of the research is the theoretical simplification of the implementation procedures for such a processor, by reducing the complexity of its components while maintaining the highest possible performance. The second part of the grant is dedicated to studying the efficiency of a certain class of quantum circuits - something like integrated circuits for a quantum computer. We aim to provide an answer to how efficient they will be when their task is to convert any unknown operation (procedure) into its pre-programmed function. The word 'unknown' is important here because this is when we get the property of universality of our circuit. This means that it will work in a preset way regardless of what we provide at the input of such a circuit, similarly to a calculator which always correctly performs the operation of addition regardless of the numbers we give it.

- Will the implementation of the project and the research carried out be able to be implemented in practice?

- It is worth mentioning here that quantum teleportation and quantum entanglement are already implemented experimentally, so our research is not something completely detached from reality and any new communication protocols based on these phenomena have a potential for practical implementation and, who knows, maybe even commercialisation.

- Thank you for the interview.

Ewa K.Cichocka / Press Office UG