The Quantum Epsilon Project
Reality’s quantum nature is its most inexplicable feature. The outcome of every observation we make can ultimately be written on classical pieces of paper. Why would understanding this classical data merit nonclassical logic? This puzzle has pushed a heated search for fundamental physical principles to justify why reality is quantum mechanical. The Quantum Epsilon Project seeks to explain this paradox from philosophical principles. We ask, could Occam’s razor – the desire for the simplest model to explain what we observe – isolate quantum theory? This research is supported by the John Templeton Foundation. 

Using Quantum Theory to build more efficient simulators of complex systems
What are the signatures of impending economic turmoil or meteorological disasters? Many pressing problems in science and society necessitate day to day predictions on systems of immense complexity. This motivated Complexity theorists to design sophisticated techniques for inferring predictive models from observational data. Yet inexplicably, even provably optimal constructions are inefficient – they track information which is statistically uncorrelated with the future behaviour. Here, we ask if such inefficiencies can be mitigated via quantum processing, and thus bring the benefits of quantum technologies to to modelling of complex systems. This project is supported by the National Research Foundation of Singapore. 

What are the resources behind Quantum Advantage?
Quantum computers are heralded to do many things that classical computers cannot, but what resource powers this advantage? For a long time, people thought that the main culprit is quantum entanglement – the unique quantum phenomena where the realities of two spatially separated particles are closely linked. Yet we now see that this may not be the full story. DQC1, for example, seems to allow us to compute the normalized trace of an exponentially large matrix in efficient time – and yet contain negligible entanglement. Meanwhile quantum illumination allows the better detection of faint particles far away in regimes so noisy that entanglement cannot survive. What other resources are associated with improved quantum advantage? We are interested in this question both for practical and foundational concerns. On the one hand, it can lead to noise resilient quantum technologies; on the other it may tell us fundamentally what is quantum. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation of China. 