STONY BROOK, New York, September 26, 2022 – Fostering science at the extreme scale is vital to expanding and improving many applications in computational science. Supartha Podder, PhD, an assistant professor in Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science who studies quantum advantages in solving computational problems, will hopefully take his findings to the next level with new research supported by the Department of Energy (DOE). Effective September 1, Podder received a two-year, $400,000 DOE grant to study the power of quantum witnesses.
The grant is part of a $15 million national DOE initiative to fund fundamental research to explore potentially impactful approaches to scientific computing and extreme-scale science. For more information about the national initiative and the projects it supports, visit this DOE website.
A witness or certificate is a piece of data that confirms the answer to a calculation. Some problems are easy to solve, like adding two numbers together. But some other problems are easy to check once a little help is provided to solve them, like the Sudoku puzzle. Such a help can be imagined as a witness. Podder’s study looks at quantum witnesses.
Quantum computing is a type of computation that uses quantum bits, or Q-bits, and exploits the phenomena of quantum mechanics, such as superposition, interference, and entanglement, to solve problems. Classical arithmetic is the traditional way computer science was developed using binary numbers and governed by classical Newtonian mechanics.
“My work is trying to find out whether quantum computing is better than traditional types of computing. We will do this by comparing quanta to classical resources not only in terms of standard resources like time and space needed for computation, but also in terms of broader and more abstract resources like computational advice and witness,” summarizes Podder. “Think of it as solving part of the larger quantum advantage puzzle. The ultimate overall goal is to understand when and why quantum computing outperforms traditional classical computation.”
Research will examine quantum witnesses through new perspectives to explore and better understand quantum witnesses. This requires designing new quantum algorithms, proving the optimality of classical witnesses, and investigating many different quantum mechanical properties of quantum witnesses.
Podder hopes this work will shed light on the mystery of quantum advantage and may ultimately lead to an exponential quantum advantage for certain types of practical computational problems. If proven right, such extreme-scale computing would ultimately save time, energy, and space to solve many of the world’s computing problems that modern computers struggle to solve.