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Scope for Quantum Information theory - Graduate school and beyond

  1. Jan 2, 2012 #1
    Hi,
    I am a student in Europe. I have been reading through the posts on Graduate schools and the essays like the one by Zapper on how to become a physicist. I am now in the stage of searching for a PhD position.

    1. I would like to know what you guys think about the scope of Quantum Information theory (QIT). As I read through the discussions, I could understand the caution against doing String theory etc. But is theoretical QIT also not an easily “employable” field? Or should I aim to be in experimental QIT?

    2. Also I would like to know if someone knows of computational work being done in QIT. Admittedly one of the reasons for the field of quantum computing is due to the fact that QM cannot be “satisfactorily” simulated by classical computers. But I would still like to know if there is any work that is done in the field of QIT, where they simulate QM systems may be to build new experiments etc. Any links will be useful.

    Thanks a lot in advance for your reply.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2012 #2
    I can tell you about some research that I'm working in right now (I'm an undergraduate). We're working on interferometry using Bose-Einstein condensates, and modeling them after neutron interferometers using silicon wafers that use the splitting through the wafers of the neutron beams as a qubit. It's an attempt at creating stable qubits. Also using error correction from quantum computing and applying them to interferometry, though it works both ways it seems like. Anyway, we do a lot of numerical modeling of the Gross-Pitaevskii equation (it's the nonlinear Schroedinger equation) as well as some analytical approximations. There's lots of computational work done wherever you find nonlinear PDEs because they're impossible to solve by hand, so the area of BECs and quantum gases/superfluids/many-bodied systems in general will have lots of computational stuff.

    Also, consider looking at this list:

    http://www.vcpc.univie.ac.at/~ian/hotlist/qc/research.shtml

    As for employment, my own reaction was that QC seems like a very new, interdisciplinary field that is still growing. It's hard to see how it couldn't be useful in the future. The only real problem now in building a quantum computer is scalability, and I don't think many people think that is actually a problem that couldn't ever be overcome (though it's certainly possible that it might not). Regardless, D-Wave (and another recent group as well, though I haven't read about this myself, only heard) has claimed they have made a device that at least acts, in some shape or form, like a quantum computer. There is also quantum cryptography, which is in use already with quantum key distribution and stuff like that.

    If you stay computational, or you stay in some target skill areas (like crypto, for example) you shouldn't have trouble finding employment. There are lots of people interested in computer security/encryption and solving hard math problems with big computers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  4. Jan 3, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the link hadsed. I will look for any leads in there.

    Yes, my idea was that if I stayed in computational work, may be I will be able to move to other areas (such as semiconductor industries) even if there weren't much opportunity in QIT. Thanks again
     
  5. Jan 3, 2012 #4
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