QuICS Doctoral Student Awarded Booz Allen Hamilton Fellowship

August 31, 2015

A physics graduate student in the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS) will benefit from a fellowship established by Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading technology-consulting firm based in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

Doctoral student Michael Jarret is the first recipient of the Booz Allen Hamilton Quantum Information Fellowship, which provides significant support for a University of Maryland student working on the theoretical aspects of quantum computation.

These aspects include exploring the use of quantum-mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data.

Booz Allen Hamilton provided $110,000 in June to establish the fellowship.

“Booz Allen Hamilton is proud to offer our support,” says Joseph “JD” Dulny III, a lead data scientist in the company’s Strategic Innovation Group. “We believe this partnership is a wonderful opportunity to be involved with cutting-edge research and knowledge-sharing within the quantum computing community.”

A key part of the fellowship, Dulny says, is its requirement that the recipient gain hands-on experience alongside Booz Allen technologists.

“We think these types of interactions will help to unify academic and industrial research in quantum computation. Collaborations like this one will better help us to solve real-world critical problems,” he says.

Jarret says he is pleased that Booz Allen Hamilton is taking an interest in quantum computing.

“This fellowship is a terrific opportunity and should open up the possibility for some exciting collaboration and industry outreach going forward,” he says.

As part of his fellowship, Jarret will spend time working on theoretical aspects of quantum computation while actively observing and participating in experimental research within the Strategic Innovation Group’s lab. He will also receive mentorship from a member of the Strategic Innovation Group.

QuICS co-directors Andrew Childs and Jacob Taylor chose Jarret for the fellowship after consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton.

“We thought Michael would be a perfect candidate,” Childs says. “He has done excellent work on quantum adiabatic optimization, applying tools from spectral graph theory to analyze the performance of adiabatic algorithms.”

Stephen Jordan, Jarret’s adviser and a physicist in the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), says Jarret is well-deserving of the fellowship.

“The analysis of quantum adiabatic optimization algorithms is an area in which progress is only possible through perseverance and single-mindedness,” Jordan says. “Michael excels in these qualities.”

QuICS is a partnership between the University of Maryland and NIST. It is one of 16 centers and labs in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld