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PhD Student on the subject of "Quantum Algorithms in a practical setting”

The main goal of this PhD project is to develop new quantum algorithms and applications for quantum computers, with a particular focus practical problems and …

meer dan 3 jaar geleden


Science Park, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur
€ 2291 - € 2937 per maand


The main goal of this PhD project is to develop new quantum algorithms and applications for quantum computers, with a particular focus practical problems and realistic problem instances.

We foresee three research directions for this project:

Research direction 1: Tools for developing quantum algorithms

One potential area for applications of a quantum computer is that of optimization problems. But the search for application areas does not limit itself to these kinds of problems.

The designs of new (quantum) algorithms has always two important ingredients:

  1. Design and analysis (efficiency) of new quantum algorithm
  2. Optimality of the designed quantum algorithms

It is thus both important to develop algorithmic tools but also to establish methods to show that certain algorithmic tools are optimal. In particular showing optimality is usually very hard. It usually boils down to some version of the P versus NP problem. In order to still be able to say something, a theory of intractability has been developed and reasonable assumptions with great exploratory power have been made. The goals of this direction is to develop such a theory in the quantum setting.

Research direction 2: Understanding quantum algorithms in a practical setting

Often algorithms are studied in the worst-case setting. This means that the algorithms will have the guarantee that they have a certain performance guarantee (e.g. running time) on all possible instances of the computational problem. However, in practice one does not need an algorithm that runs fast on every input, one merely needs one that runs fast on a large set of instances that occur in practice. In this direction we want to study quantum algorithms with realistic input distributions.

Research direction 3: Apply learning theory to develop new quantum algorithms

The third direction deals with applying the paradigm of learning theory to that of quantum algorithms. But in a way that is opposite to what is usually done. We want to use classical learning theory to develop new quantum algorithms that can run on small quantum hardware that is becoming progressively available. Systems of 20-50 qubits are advertised by companies like IBM, Intel, and Google. It is a major open question in the field to find applications for these small systems and using classical learning theory may be a fruitful way forward.


The research will be in collaboration with one or more of the following researchers: Jop Briët, Harry Buhrman, Peter Grünwald, Stacey Jeffery, Maris Ozols, Christian Schaffner, Michael Walter, and Ronald de Wolf.

The position is funded by the Bosch Foundation, and can start as soon as possible.

Candidates are required to have a master degree in the area of computer science, mathematics, or physics. A strong track record is needed in or related to the computer-science aspects of quantum computing and quantum information theory. Needed qualifications for candidates include proven research talent and good academic writing and presentation skills. Candidates are expected to have an excellent command of English.


The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labor Agreement for Research Centers ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The initial labor agreement will be for a period of 18 months. After a positive evaluation, the agreement will be extended by 30 months. The gross monthly salary for a Ph.D. student on a full-time basis is €2,291 during the first year and increases to €2,937 over the four years period. Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.

Please visit our website for more information: www.cwi.nl/terms-of-employment

Additional information

Please send your application with a detailed resume and motivation letter to apply@cwi.nl.

For more information about the vacancy, please email Harry.Buhrman @cwi.nl.

For more information about CWI, please visit www.cwi.nl or watch our video “A Fundamental Difference”.