New PhD candidate at QuSoft: Joris Kattemölle

Meet Joris Kattemölle who started as a PhD candidate at QuSoft on 1 October 2016.

Research at QuSoft
Together with Jasper van Wezel (IoP), I work on ‘emergent physics in quantum computation’. Imagine a pen balancing on its tip. The slightest breath of wind can make it fall in any particular direction.  Many-qubit systems are prone to the same kind of instabilities because the qubits can spontaneously start to behave collectively. Undoubtedly, this could be disastrous for an ongoing quantum computation.

The goal of my project is first of all to find out what collective processes an ensemble of qubits can exhibit. Then we can start thinking about protocols to protect a quantum computation against these collective processes, and maybe even find ways to use them to our advantage. 

Before I joined QuSoft, I studied theoretical physics in Utrecht and Amsterdam. In my Master’s project, I worked with Ben Freivogel (IoP) on a problem related to the black hole information paradox, called the firewall paradox. As the name suggests, this paradox has much to do with (quantum) information theory, and I found myself moving more and more in this direction.

Whenever two seemingly distinct theories show a resemblance, chances are that much insight can be gained by studying this connection. I still have some ideas about holography and quantum information theory which I wish to investigate further.

Why QuSoft
QuSoft combines some of the best people from theoretical computer science and physics into one dedicated institute. This combination can be especially fruitful because quantum computing is a relatively new field.

Besides physics, I really enjoy performing music. Before I switched to physics, I studied piano at the conservatory. The last years however, I discovered I like classical singing much more, and now I sing in (arguably too many) choirs  and regularly act as a substitute singer in various ensembles.

The future
Of course one cannot plan to become full professor, but I’ll just try and see how far I can get! After my PhD, I could hopefully also work in the by then emerging industry of quantum information.

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