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  Approximating many-body quantum states using deep learning

   Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies

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  Prof Brendan McCane  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Many-particle quantum systems cannot be simulated in practice because the size of the vectors and matrices involved are too large to fit in a computer’s memory. This project will investigate the use of deep learning to effectively approximate such entities whilst maintaining guaranteed error bounds in the calculations. The aim is to develop deep learning tools that can be integrated and combined with an existing open-source quantum Monte Carlo project ( for the purpose of improving our understanding of quantum many-body physics in particular relating to experiments with ultra-cold atomic gases.

The project would suit a physics student with good computing skills, or a computer science student with good physics knowledge. The project is pursued in collaboration between the Computer Science department at the University of Otago (Prof. Brendan McCane) and the theoretical physics group at Massey University Auckland (Prof. Joachim Brand). The project will be located at the University of Otago.

The wider context

The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies is a national Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE)and a world-class organisation which builds on Aotearoa-New Zealand’s (NZ) internationally acknowledged strength in the fields of quantum optics, photonics, ultracold atomic gases, and precision atomic physics. Photonics, the manipulation of the quantum building blocks of light, and the precision control of matter at the atomic scale through the use of light, underpin technological development in areas such as computing, advanced sensing technologies and medical imaging, and communication.

The Dodd-Walls Centre, hosted by the University of Otago, involves six universities in NZ. Your PhD project while based at one institution will allow you to collaborate with researchers from across the Centre. More information about our Research Centre can be found here:

The Dodd-Walls Centre mission

• To solidify our position as a Research Centre that is recognised as one of the world’s leading organisations in the field of photonic and quantum technologies,

• To train and develop skilled staff and students to the highest international standards,

• To capitalise upon the international investment in quantum and optical sciences for the benefit of New Zealand,

• To support the rapidly growing high-tech industry sector, thus ensuring New Zealand’s economic diversification and providing career pathways for the outstanding people that we train,

• To provide support for New Zealand’s climate action through improved environmental measurement and monitoring, and,

• To ensure that the benefits of advances in science and technology, especially in photonics and quantum technologies, are available to all.

What we offer

The successful applicant will receive a PhD scholarship of NZ$28,500 stipend per annum plus fees. The stipend is for three years. The scholarship is tax-free.

We also provide funding to support research, including for travel to visit collaborators and attend conferences.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must meet Otago University entry requirements for admission to a PhD. Award of the scholarship is conditional on the university accepting your enrolment. The successful applicant will be guided through the process of formally applying for admission.

This is an interdisciplinary project so applicants from a wide range of academic backgrounds will be considered. Applications should have strong undergraduate knowledge in some of these areas: 

·      The project would suit a physics student with good computing skills, or a computer science student with good physics knowledge.

This project is based in Dunedin, New Zealand and is available for immediate start.

How to apply

To express your interest in this scholarship and PhD research opportunity, please prepare the following items:

A brief CV including qualifications, academic achievements, list of publications, work history, and references.

A copy of your academic transcript(s).

Please submit your application via email to the main supervisors of this project Professor Brendan McCane ([Email Address Removed]) who will guide you through the scholarship application process.

Physics (29)
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 About the Project