Pritzker Molecular Engineering professors David Awschalom and Liang Jiang awarded $1 million for development of South Korea-U.S. quantum center

The National Research Foundation of South Korea (NRF) has awarded two professors from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) $1 million to co-lead the creation of a South Korea-U.S. joint research center dedicated to quantum error correction.

Prof. David Awschalom and Prof. Liang Jiang will serve as co-principal investigators for The Center for Quantum Error Correction, which seeks to improve the fidelity of networked quantum computing systems. The center will receive funding over five years, continuing the long history of scientific collaboration between the United States and South Korea.

Seung-Woo Lee, from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology’s Center for Quantum Information, will serve as the center’s lead principal investigator.

Lijun Ma, from the National Institute of Standard and Technology’s Information Technology Laboratory (ITL), will also serve as a co-principal investigator.

“South Korea has an impressive history of creativity and pioneering innovation in technology, and we are delighted to be partnering with their researchers and students to accelerate quantum science,” said Awschalom.

“The U.S has been leading many parts of quantum science and technologies, and South Korea has started investing in the development of real-world quantum technologies,” said Lee. “I am sure that the globally-renowned U.S partners and many young talents from Korea in our joint research center will create a great synergy in quantum research.”

Quantum technology, including network-based quantum computing, offers enormous opportunities ranging from improved drug development to ultra-secure information networks. To realize those benefits, significant resources are being directed toward solving one of the most pressing technological hurdles in quantum computing: error correction.

Quantum computers process and store information by manipulating quantum states — unique phenomena found at the atomic and subatomic levels. However, those states are extremely sensitive, and tiny vibrations or fluctuations in temperature are enough to destroy the quantum information stored within them, resulting in errors. 

The Center for Quantum Error Correction aims to address this by developing quantum error correction algorithms to be used in combination with solid-state quantum processors.

“It is an exciting time to work with our Korean collaborators to advance quantum error correction, which is crucial for fault-tolerant quantum computing and communication,” said Jiang.

The center was announced Wednesday September 21 at the Korea-U.S. Science Cooperation Center (KUSCO) in addition to five other South Korean-U.S. partnerships. Those included:

  • The Ion-trap Quantum Computing Center with Ewha Womans University and Duke University
  • The Spin Quantum Computing Center with Korea University and the California Institute of Technology
  • The Entanglement-based Quantum Network Center with the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science and The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • The Quantum repeater center The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Harvard University
  • The Quantum sensing center Korea University and The University of California, Santa Barbara and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology