Shayegan co-recipient of Keck Foundation Funding
Prof. Shayegan and Dr. Loren Pfieffer from the Electrical Engineering Department, along with Professors Duncan Haldane and Andrei Bernevig from the Princeton University Physics Department have been awarded Keck Foundation funding for "Wavefunction Engineering for a Topological Quantum Computer".
Their research is a multidisciplinary effort to obtain the best platform for topological quantum computing. A quantum computer would be millions of times more powerful than the best supercomputer currently available. Using quantum mechanical phenomena, one could manipulate a vast amount of information with a relatively small number of qubits. The biggest obstacle, decoherence of qubits, could be overcome through the use of topology. Recently, it has been theoretically realized that among the best candidates for such topologically ordered phases are certain exotic states of electrons confined to two dimensions in a magnetic field, called fractional quantum Hall states. The qubits are the quasi-particle excitations of these states, and their robustness to local decoherence is due to the fact that they might obey the so-called non-Abelian statistics which describe how the system changes when exchanging indistinguishable excitations. These states, however, are extremely fragile and their statistics are not known.
The goal of this Keck project is to obtain a viable topological quantum computing platform through a concerted effort that combines powerful experimental and engineering techniques with advanced theoretical physics and numerical simulations that will push the boundaries of today’s computing techniques.
The W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company. The foundation supports pioneering discoveries in science, engineering and medical research.