At the beginning of the 20th century,
several breakthroughs in physics lead to the
birth of quantum mechanics and, subsequently, to
an improved description of a wide range of
phenomena and to many new discoveries.
Today we benefit in our daily lives from the great technological progress that followed. Despite these dramatic technological advances, it is humbling to note that very few problems can be solved exactly when it comes to the quantum world. For the most part, well defined approximations are used to properly characterize the systems of interest.
problems however, it is well understood that
previously used classes of approximations are
This encompasses the family of strongly correlated systems. Here, the Coulomb interaction is of the same order of magnitude as the kinetic energy or even higher sometimes. While the wide array of energy scales at play in these materials gives them many technologically promising properties such as high temperature superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance, heavy fermions, ..., it is also the reason why their microscopic description has been rather elusive despite decades of efforts.
With the advent
of petascale computing, Computational methods
coupled with analytical approaches have
become valuable tools in the study of
these systems. One important aspect of
Computational Science is that the tools are
constrained by the scaling of the available
algorithms. The interesting phenomena are seldom
accessible through brute force approaches.
Better algorithms are needed.
Quantum Simulators and Quantum Information Processing
On the other hand, great progress has been achieved in our ability to trap and control ultracold atoms in optical lattices allowing the experimental realization of various physical models. These experiments are either intrinsically out of equilibrium or useful in modeling nonequilibrium dynamics. To analyze the results, theoretical predictions are needed and this is another instance in which advances in computer technology provide a useful tool.
the exponential growth of the computer
infrastructure (Moore's law) that we have become
accustomed to is now flirting with physical
limits. This means that a new paradigm will be
required to further advance our computing
abilities. Indeed, along with the aforementioned
quantum simulators, Quantum Computing and
Quantum Information Processing have seen great
strides over the recent years. This is a new
computing paradigm that is being built from the
fundamental principles of quantum mechanics and
the interaction of many-spin (qubits) systems.
My work is
focused on using a combination of analytical and
computational tools to study strongly correlated
quantum systems in and out of equilibrium at the
intersection of Condensed Matter Physics and
ultracold atomic gases. I am also
interested in the dynamics of quantum systems
that are relevant for QIP. In particular, I
study processes that can allow optimal
protection of key properties of qubits from
their fluctuating environment.