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Robust Quantum Control of Ultracold Atoms

   Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics

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  Dr F Langbein, Prof Edmond Jonckheere, Dr Carrie Ann Weidner, Dr Sophie Schirmer  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Quantum technologies promise major performance enhancements across a wide range of applications, including networking, simulation and computing. Quantum control provides methods to steer the dynamics of quantum systems, enabling to realise specific operations on a quantum device. However, decoherence, arising from unwanted interactions of a device with the environment, and fabrication and control signal uncertainties must be overcome to realise this potential.

Our recent results investigate robust quantum control schemes for quantum computing and information transfer in spin-1/2 networks, akin to feedback control employed by operational amplifier circuits and steam engine governors. The aim of this project is to investigate the robustness of these controls computationally and experimentally on an ultracold atom platform. The work will involve theory on novel concepts of robustness for controlling quantum systems, computational approaches to find such controls efficiently, incorporating optimal control and reinforcement learning algorithms, and working with the experimentalists to realise and test these robust control schemes with an ultracold atom trap.

Contact for information on the project: [Email Address Removed]

A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master’s degree, in computing or a related subject.
For this project, you need strong mathematical skills in control theory, computing skills in optimisation, simulation and machine learning, and a good understanding of the underlying quantum physics.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Informatics with a start date of October 2020:

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select ’I will be applying for a scholarship/grant’ and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from ’Robust Quantum Control of Ultracold Atoms’.

Funding Notes

Note: Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics is currently offering funding, application deadline: 29 February 2020.
Overseas applicants must self-fund the difference between Home/EU and Overseas fees.


E. A. Jonckheere, S. G. Schirmer, F.C. Langbein. Structured Singular Value Analysis for Spintronics network Information Transfer Control. IEEE Trans Automatic Control, 62(12):6568-6574, 2017. [DOI:10.1109/TAC.2017.2714623][arxiv:1706.03247]

S. G. Schirmer, E. Jonckheere, F. C. Langbein. Design of Feedback Control Laws for Information Transfer in Spintronics Networks. IEEE Trans Automatic Control, 63(8):2523-2536, 2018. [DOI:10.1109/TAC.2017.2777187] [arXiv:1607.05294] [PDF]

F. C. Langbein, S. G. Schirmer, E. Jonckheere. Time optimal information transfer in spintronics networks. Proc. IEEE 54th Annual Conference on Decision and Control (CDC), pp. 6454-6459, Osaka, Japan, December 15-18, 2015. [DOI:10.1109/CDC.2015.7403236] [arXiv:1508.00928]

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