UIC's Engineering Innovation Building

UIC Joins National Quantum Computing Center

UIC's Engineering Innovation Building
UIC’s Engineering Innovation Building. (Photo by Jim Young/UIC College of Engineering)

The University of Illinois Chicago has been selected to participate in the Co-design center for quantum advantagea U.S. Department of Energy-funded center focused on building the tools needed to create scalable, distributed, and fault-tolerant quantum computing systems.

The center, called the C2QA, is led by: Brookhaven National Laboratory and the goal is to bring a quantum advantage — the ability to quickly solve real-world problems too complex for traditional binary computers — to computer technology.

UIC is the sixth minority-serving institution to join the Quantum Center, which has 24 partner institutions.

“Quantum computing has the potential to completely revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us and in particular how we approach problem solving in scientific disciplines such as physics, computer science, chemistry and engineering. However, we still have a long way to go in developing better quantum devices for practical application before this becomes a reality,” said Thomas Searles, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UIC College of Engineering, who studied the relationship between UIC and Quantum Information. Science Center.

To advance quantum technologies, the center works in three areas: software, materials and devices.

Searles, whose research combines physics and solid-state device and materials technology, will work with his lab to focus on improving quantum computing devices.

For example, Searles said he would like to see a 10-fold increase in the number of quantum bits, or qubits, available in devices. A qubit is the smallest circuit used in a quantum system, such as a quantum computer – the more qubits, the more complex a computer’s processing potential.

“There is very exciting work with data-centric machine learning models in quantum information science,” said Andrew Houck, director of the Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage in a statement. press release from Brookhaven† “By leveraging his access to the IBM cloud machines, Thomas Searles and UIC are really helping us figure out how to use, train and run interesting algorithms more efficiently on real hardware currently available.”

Searles said the collaboration with Brookhaven and the quantum center opens up new opportunities for scientists from both institutions to collaborate on research. It will also create new opportunities for UIC students in all aspects of quantum technology, especially quantum computing.

Thomas Searles
Thomas Searles, UIC associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering. (Photo by Jim Young/UIC College of Engineering)

“The Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage and its affiliated researchers are leaders in advancing quantum-based applications through scientific research – our partnership with the center provides incredible opportunities for our faculty, and especially our students, to collaborate to innovative discoveries in quantum computing, networking, and participating in seminars and career fairs,” said Searles. “C2QA and UIC bring quantum opportunities to underprivileged groups in Chicago that don’t exist.

“It’s the right place, the right time and the right people. Because the C2QA has a large concentration on the East Coast, this partnership will expand its reach. We’re bringing something to the Midwest that isn’t there right now, so we’re really excited about that.”

“The center is fortunate to have Professor Thomas Searles among UIC’s PIs helping advance C2QA’s mission in the device field,” said Jens Koch, an affiliate of the Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage and leader of its new qubits and circuit elements research area. “Professor Searles has been an active member since the very beginning of C2QA and will continue his research in the subthrust on new qubits and circuit elements.”

Searles joined UIC . in 2021† His previous experience includes teaching appointments at Howard University and Morehouse College and visiting appointments at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Air Force Research Laboratory. He was also the Martin Luther King Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Searles said UIC’s status as a minority institution was a major factor in his decision to join UIC.

“Increasing the opportunities for students from diverse and historically marginalized communities to learn about, participate in, and find leadership roles in quantum research will benefit everyone,” said Searles, who also hopes to expand the roles in his lab. to keep expanding.

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