About the Project
Start date and duration:
September 2020 for 3.5 years.
Are you looking for a challenge? Do you feel at home with maths and/or programming? Want to make an impact on the future of computing? Then, this project is for you.
We aim at extending formal verification to the quantum computing realm by pursuing two objectives: 1) Investigating verification techniques for quantum programs; 2) Developing quantum algorithms for verifying classical systems.
The UK National Quantum Computing Centre will have by 2025 a fully functioning quantum computer of size large enough to be of practical utility. Alongside the quest for quantum hardware, there has also been a significant effort towards programming languages, libraries and simulators for writing and executing quantum code, from both academia and industry (e.g., Google, IBM and Microsoft). However, there is a notable lack of theories and tools for verifying quantum programs. Such a scarcity is quite unfortunate, since quantum computing makes a hard, important problem (software verification) even harder. Therefore, verifying the code run by the relatively large quantum computers available in the next few years will be a real challenge.
From a complementary point of view, quantum computers could be helpful in addressing the state space explosion problem that afflicts many verification techniques for classical (i.e., non-quantum) systems. For example, model checking amounts to an exhaustive search of the system state space. Quantum computers gain their advantage on classical computers essentially by searching more efficiently over large state spaces. As the curse of dimensionality hampers the verification of our ever-larger systems, quantum model checking could be instrumental to more scalable solutions.
This studentship provides a unique opportunity to perform interdisciplinary, high-impact research. You will work closely with Dr Zuliani and Dr Soudjani, which gives plenty collaboration opportunities with scientists in the ICOS and AMBER groups in the School of Computing, and further with researchers in the School of Physics and the Joint Quantum Centre (Durham-Newcastle). Knowledge of either quantum computing or verification is not required, though willingness to learn (under the supervisors’ guidance) certainly is!
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Name of supervisor(s):
Dr Paolo Zuliani (https://bit.ly/37UlpDq) and Dr Sadegh Soudjani (https://bit.ly/3eGmn8E).
The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the EPSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.
How to apply:
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system (https://bit.ly/2NnXClF).
You will need to:
• insert the programme code 8050F in the programme of study section
• select PhD Computer Science (full time) - Computing as the programme of study
• insert the studentship code COMP023 in the studentship/partnership reference field
• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code COMP023 and state how your interests and experience relate to the topics outlined above
• attach degree transcripts and certificates (if available) and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications (if available).
Please also send a copy of your application documents to [Email Address Removed]
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