Caltech and Amazon Partner to Create New Hub of Quantum Computing


This past year, a new two-story building took shape in the northeast corner of the Caltech campus. Though modest in design, what takes place inside the structure could transform the future of computing. The building is the AWS Center for Quantum Computing, the result of a partnership between Caltech and Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing branch of Amazon. The goal of the collaboration is to create quantum computers and related technologies that have the potential to revolutionize data security, machine learning, medicine development, sustainability practices, and more. "AWS will benefit from the ideas percolating here on campus," says Oskar Painter, John G. Braun Professor of Applied Physics and Physics and head of quantum hardware at AWS. Painter says quantum computing is still a very young technology, so it is crucial for development efforts to be directly connected to the latest research in academia. [Caltech story]

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Researchers Develop New Quantum Algorithm


Austin Minnich, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Physics, Fernando Brandão, Bren Professor of Theoretical Physics, and Garnet Chan, Bren Professor of Chemistry, have developed an algorithm for quantum computers that will help them find use in simulations in the physical sciences. The new algorithm allows a user to find the lowest energy of a given molecule or material. Many people are interested in how to simulate the ground states of molecules and materials. "If we want to do a simulation of water, we could look at how water behaves after it has been blasted into a plasma—an electrically charged gas—but that's not the state water is usually found in; it is not the ground state of water. Ground states are of special interest in understanding the world under ordinary conditions," says Chan. [Caltech story]

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Erika Ye Wins 2018 Google PhD Fellowship


Graduate student Erika Ye co-advised by Professors Austin Minnich, Garnet Chan, and Fernando Brandao, has been awarded a 2018 Google PhD Fellowship. The fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students doing exceptional research in computer science and related disciplines. Erika is attempting to discover what current quantum computers can do that classical computers cannot. Currently she is focusing on computational chemistry—particularly, calculating the behavior of electrons in complex molecules, which ultimately could provide detailed information about reaction rates or how enzymes in cells work. [Caltech story]

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Designing Computer Software of the Future


Fernando Brandao, Bren Professor of Theoretical Physics, and colleagues are developing quantum algorithms for optimization problems. "We are still far from knowing all the applications of quantum computing, and that's part of the excitement—there are possibilities we haven't even dreamed of yet,” says Professor Brandao. [Caltech story]

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The Power of Entanglement


Fernando Brandão, Bren Professor of Theoretical Physics, studies how quantum computers may someday revolutionize computing and change the world's cryptographic systems. [Caltech interview]

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