I’m a theoretical physicist based at the University of Sheffield as part of the LDSD group. EPSRC recently awarded me an early career fellowship for my research project Towards fault-tolerant quantum computing with minimal resources.
My research concerns the information processing properties of quantum systems, especially in the presence of noise. I study and devise different approaches to quantum computing and communication, trying to design the simplest possible device for experimentalists to then build. There are many parallels with conventional computing, but also many extra obstacles. Noise is a more prominent issue as a quantum system is damaged whenever it interacts with its surroundings. Also, unlike classical information, quantum information cannot be copied and so we can’t simply make multiple backups of our quantum data! Despite all these obstacles, quantum technologies can be made immune to unwanted interactions, thermal noise, and other imperfections of the real world. That this is possible was probably one of the biggest surprises of quantum theory in the last 20 years, and remains a linchpin of all quantum technologies. Whilst my main interest is in developing viable quantum technologies, I’m also interested in some more philosophical and mathematical problems in quantum physics, such as non-locality and resource theory.
I was born in the city of Cardiff in Wales and lived there for the following 18 years. In 2001 I moved to study for a Masters degree in Physics and Philosophy at Bristol University. Both these subjects helped nurture my love for all things quantum.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I was thirsty for more and in 2005 I began a DPhil in the QuNaT group at Oxford University. I had the pleasure of being supervised by Simon Benjamin and Pieter Kok, and in 2008 I completed my thesis entitled “Distributing Entanglement for Quantum Computing”.
For two years after my DPhil, I held a research fellowship awarded by the Royal Commission for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and hosted by the Physics and Astronomy Department of University College London. There I worked with members of the quantum information theory group, in particular with Dan Browne. My next step was to Germany, where I collaborated with Jens Eisert and other group members. The group was initially based at Potsdam University, but soon moved to the nearby Freie Universität Berlin.
I moved to Sheffield in 2014 to work with Pieter Kok and Keith Burnett. From April 2015 I have been be an independent research fellow, starting my own group.