Andrew Keller

Andrew Keller 2017-01-13T10:06:13+00:00

Project Description

Andrew Keller

Andrew Keller

“I work at the interface between theory and experiment. Right now, our group is launching an experimental effort to explore some quantum information using qubits, which are two-state systems—the quantum version of a classical bit. …For us, analog quantum simulation will be an important stepping stone on the way to performing quantum computations, as we will be able to benchmark our capabilities and gain experience. In doing so I hope to make some connections to the condensed matter research I was doing in graduate school, and interface with theorists here in the IQIM and elsewhere.”

  • IQIM Postdoctoral Scholar in Quantum Optics
  • PhD, 2015
  • Stanford
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Interview

What is your current research?

I work at the interface between theory and experiment. Right now, our group is launching an experimental effort to explore some quantum information using qubits, which are two-state systems—the quantum version of a classical bit. We want to use superconducting qubits, together with microwave waveguides and cavities, for both analog quantum simulation and quantum computation. In an analog quantum simulation, you couple some elements together in such a way that you emulate another quantum system or model, simply by virtue of what the elements are and how you’ve connected things.

Analog quantum simulations can yield new insights, but a world of possibilities opens up with quantum computation. We are developing our fabrication, software, and instrumentation to study new ideas in quantum error detection and correction, some of which are being developed right here at Caltech. For us, analog quantum simulation will be an important stepping stone on the way to performing quantum computations, as we will be able to benchmark our capabilities and gain experience. In doing so I hope to make some connections to the condensed matter research I was doing in graduate school, and interface with theorists here in the IQIM and elsewhere.

What drew you to this work?

I’ve wanted to become a physicist since I took advanced physics classes at my high school, the Illinois Math and Science Academy. As far as this project is concerned, I became interested because I was impressed with how superconducting qubits can be used as a platform for many experiments with very different aims, even with a modest number of qubits. There have been numerous proposals that consider coupled qubits using models borrowed from condensed matter physics, as well as models from quantum optics. Much like my graduate work, there is a lot of physics one can study with just one good device! Of course, it’s important for us as experimentalists to push on the limitations of our devices in order to make progress and be comfortable in drawing conclusions if and when we outpace theory.

What do you do when you’re not doing physics?

I got married and moved here last summer, so we’ve had half a year to settle into life in Los Angeles. It’s a great place for dining and trying different cuisine. The LA Philharmonic has some great concerts too and is easy to get to from Pasadena. We’ve been trying to hike whenever we get a chance, usually up by Pacific Palisades but sometimes farther out of LA.