UW QuantumX Initative

Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies

In this second quantum revolution, dubbed Quantum 2.0, society will leverage the quantum-mechanical properties of light and matter to enable new technologies in computation, communication, and sensing.

Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies (AQET) is a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program (NRT) at the University of Washington that seeks to train the next generation of scientists and engineers to enable this revolution.

AQET expands on UW faculty research in quantum information science and technology (QIST) by establishing a unique curriculum that bridges the gap from physics to chemistry, computer science & engineering, electrical & computer engineering, and materials science & engineering. Quantum 2.0 will require teams of expertise from across disciplines, and AQET is one of the first programs to bring hardware and software scientists and engineers together at the trainee level.

Major areas of research include materials to enable quantum technologies, harnessing quantum in device engineering, and algorithms inspired by or exploiting quantum phenomena.

A Venn

Program Details

AQET is a 12 to 15-month training program for UW PhD and MS students that follows the “learn, practice, apply” approach for knowledge transfer established by the successful UW NRT program known as DIRECT (Data Intensive Research Enabling Clean Technologies). Trainees are admitted to the program at the start of their graduate education, and begin AQET-specific curriculum at the start of their 2nd year, after PhD/MS domain course requirements are completed. Completion of all AQET coursework results in a transcriptable option in QIST for PhD and MS students.

AQET begins with a domain-specific foundational course in the first quarter (learn/practice), followed by an interdisciplinary project-based course (practice/apply). An advanced topics course (learn/practice) and interdisciplinary team capstone project designed to apply the newly acquired skills to real-world applications complete the curriculum.

Courses

Foundation (Course I) addresses the lack of QIST training currently offered in curricula outside physics. Three different courses will be offered given the different domain-specific backgrounds of the students and the types of different research problems.

  • Quantum Information Technologies for Materials Scientists: This course targets chemistry and materials students, using familiar language and framework to explore core concepts of QIST, including computation, logic, and quantum physics. “Quantum Information Technologies for Materials Scientists” utilizes three hardware platforms to help students understand the core scientific concepts that govern their operation and how materials play a role: trapped ions, defects in crystals, and superconducting qubits. An introduction to sensing, communication, and computation applications is provided at the end of the course through student presentations.
  • Introduction to Quantum Computing and Algorithms: This course is primarily targeted at CSE and computationally-oriented ECE students, providing an introduction to quantum computing and quantum algorithms. No prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is assumed. “Introduction to Quantum Computing and Algorithms” covers topics like the circuit model of quantum computing, query complexity, and quantum complexity theory.
  • Quantum Information and Computation: Offered in physics, this course targets physics students and interested CSE and ECE majors with appropriate background in quantum mechanics. “Quantum Information and Computation” provides students with the background needed to understand modern quantum information hardware on both the physical and the mathematical levels by focusing on both implementations of quantum computing and quantum information theory.

Control and Characterization of Quantum Systems (Course II) then brings together all students in an innovative, project-based course that highlights the challenges in implementing quantum information systems. The course combines the different skills sets to implement and characterize quantum information processing performance on IBM quantum computers using the Qiskit platform. Topics include quantum tomography, entanglement witnesses, randomized benchmarking, and quantum control.

Advanced QIST (Course III), the third phase of the program, encompasses a range of domain-specific courses in advanced topics.

Seminar

AQET is enabled by the close relationship UW has with local industry and labs with QIST efforts. AQET will be supported by a bi-weekly seminar series starting in the first year which will serve as a vehicle for exposure to current industry opportunities and academic research in QIST.

Professional Development Training

In addition to bi-weekly seminars, monthly professional development workshops provide trainees with skills in self-awareness, cultural responsiveness, implicit bias, project management, team communication and trust, scientific communication (general public, scientific presentation, scientific writing), interviewing, resume preparation, and entrepreneurship.

Application

Prospective UW graduate students should apply to the department of their interest — usually chemistry, computer science & engineering, electrical & computer engineering, materials science & engineering, or physics — and mention their interest in the AQET program in their application statement.  

The 12-15 month NRT fellowship is available to select UW PhD students who are US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents; however, the program is open to all PhD and Master’s students.

Leadership

Kai-Mei Fu
Director
Principal Investigator
ECE, Physics

Brandi Cossairt
Executive Committee
Co-PI
Chemistry

James Lee
Executive Committee
Co-PI
CSE

Arka Majumdar
Executive Committee
Co-PI
ECE, Physics

Nathan Wiebe
Executive Committee
Co-PI
Physics

Boris Blinov
Project Committee
Participating Faculty
Physics

Xiaosong Li
Project Committee
Participating Faculty
Chemistry

Rachel Lin
Project Committee
Participating Faculty
CSE

Peter Pauzauskie
Project Committee
Participating Faculty
MSE

Veronica Smith
Lead Evaluator
data2insight

Partners

Advisory Boards

Internal Advisory Board

Marjorie Olmstead
Physics

Jim Pfaendtner
ChemE, DIRECT, QuantumX

Eve Riskin
ECE, College of Engineering

External Advisory Board

Dave Bacon
IonQ

Danna Freedman
Northwestern University

Lorenza Viola
Dartmouth College