Doctor Bipasha Chakraborty is awarded the UK Joseph Fourier Prize

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Atos UK and Ireland and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Hartree Centre have awarded the Joseph Fourier Prize, aimed at supporting innovative work in the field of quantum computing, to Doctor Bipasha Chakraborty. 

Dr Chakraborty is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge. The award was presented for her research project ‘Quantum Computation of Quantum Field Theories’.

Dr Chakraborty said: ‘This is a very welcome acknowledgement of my innovative research proposal in Quantum Computation of Quantum Field Theories and provides welcome support to push it forward. The prize also offers a platform to initiate collaboration with industries, which is critical to the success of this interdisciplinary research.’

The competition encourages academics and industrial scientists in quantum computing to submit their research proposals for a chance to win €10,000 to support their work. Each submission was carefully reviewed, and the winner selected by expert panellists from the Hartree Centre and Atos.

Philipp Strasmann – head of Big Data and Security Northern Europe, Atos said: ‘As the first such competition in the UK to support and celebrate researchers’ own work, we hope this prize will encourage further vital quantum research, driving awareness and stimulating local interest and talent for this vitally important subject area.’

The winning project aims to advance the application of Quantum Computation (QC) to solve complex equations in Quantum Field Theories (QFTs). These equations can be extremely difficult to tackle through classical computation, in part for giving rise to ‘sign problems’ – that is; results yielding negative probabilities, which present no viable solutions.

Dr Chakraborty’s research has already produced some of the first digital QC algorithms to solve complex QFTs with sign problems, and the Joseph Fourier Prize will support her work in creating pathways for digital QCs of even more complex QFTs, such as in Quantum Chromodynamics.

Ultimately, approaching the sign problem through Quantum Computation can help address a diverse range of real-life problems – for example, in understanding aspects of quantum chemistry and the unique properties of graphene, calculating electron distribution in complex biomolecules, and many other transformative industry test cases. At a theoretical level, this line of research can contribute towards a paradigm shift in our current understanding of the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

Michael Gleaves, Hartree Centre Deputy Director, said: ‘We are on the cusp of a quantum revolution, and at this crucial stage we must encourage and promote independent research that helps apply theory to practical quantum computing use. We are pleased to have identified a winner of the inaugural prize and to have partnered to deliver it.’

Atos Quantum Program aims to develop a comprehensive, enterprise-grade quantum computing environment for the future. It features, among other tools, the Quantum Learning Machine – the most powerful quantum emulator platform on the market. Atos takes a leadership role within the High-Performance Computing industry through initiatives such as the Joseph Fourier Prize and is a strategic partner to the STFC Hartree Centre – which works with industry and the research community to address real-life challenges and accelerate the adoption of digital technologies.

An ion trap device
Credit: Samuel Hile from the University of Sussex

02 September 2021