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Ames Laboratory awarded DOE funding for Quantum Information Science project

Contacts:                                                                       For Release: August 22, 2019
Yongxin Yao, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, 515-294-3876
Laura Millsaps, Ames Laboratory Communications, 515-294-3474

Ames Laboratory will develop a hybrid quantum and classical computational tool to calculate the properties of quantum materials such as superconductors and rare-earth compounds, funded by an award for $600,000 per year for three years from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The project, formally named “Quantum Computing Enhanced Gutzwiller Variational Embedding Method for Correlated Multi-Orbital Materials,” will be led by Ames Laboratory Scientist Yongxin Yao, who is an expert in computational and theoretical condensed matter physics. Principal investigators include Ames Laboratory Scientists Peter P. Orth, Cai-Zhuang Wang, and Kai-Ming Ho.

Understanding the electronic structure of these materials is the key to predicting their behavior; it is one of the grand challenges of fundamental research in condensed matter physics, and the path to developing innovations in technology. Gutzwiller variational wavefunction-based methods are mathematical tools that have successfully enabled theorists to address this problem, but simulations remain difficult because of the complexity of these systems. The recent technological advancement of building quantum computers with tens of qubits offers researchers an opportunity to build a more accurate and efficient way to predict and understand the behaviors of these materials by combining the advantages of both classical and quantum computers.  

“We’ve been developing theoretical methods to simulate complex materials based on Gutzwiller wavefunction for many years and made seminal contributions to the field using classical computers,” said Yao. “This funding will allow us to pursue a fascinating and extremely promising new avenue to build an efficient problem-solver for our theories that we will use to obtain new insights into the electronic properties of correlated multi-orbital models.”

Ames Laboratory’s financial support for the project is part of a recently announced $37 million in funding from the DOE for targeted research in materials and chemistry to advance the important emerging field of Quantum Information Science (QIS). The goal is both to lay the groundwork for the development of new quantum information systems and to use current quantum information capabilities to advance research in material and chemical sciences. The initiative includes projects aimed at synthesizing and observing material and chemical systems with exotic quantum properties as well as efforts to use quantum computing to better understand complex material and chemical systems. Learn more about the projects here.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science National Laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

Ames Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit