Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Professor Receives More Than $1 Million to Study Quantum Entanglement

Allen Ramsey

October 25, 2023

Lu Wei

With support from two grants, Lu Wei is hoping to take baby steps toward understanding the complexities of the phenomena of quantum entanglement.

Texas Tech University's Lu Wei, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, part of the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering, received two separate grants to study different aspects of quantum entanglement. 

Entanglement is a physical phenomenon, where particles of a system can share the same state irrespective of the distance between them. This phenomenon enables a revolutionary advantage over classical computing. 

The first grant, from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will allow Wei to look at entanglement from the theoretical side, while the second grant, from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will be geared toward the applications to quantum algorithms and results verification in collaboration with a DOE lab..  

The two projects, while separate in both funding and mission, allow Wei to have a broad scope of work on quantum entanglement.  

NSF Grant

The NSF awarded Wei $320,057 in a three-year that and targets developing a new theoretic framework for the analysis and design of quantum algorithms by connecting algorithm performance to the degree of entanglement of quantum states.

“We need to better understand the nature of entanglement,” Wei said. “For us, the key is statistical modeling, using mathematical models for entanglement. The overall goal is to lay the foundation to connect these models to the performance of quantum algorithms.

“This proposal basically states that we're taking some baby steps towards making the connection between entanglement and algorithm performance. I think, for me, it could be a lifetime effort in uncovering this connection.”

The project will focus largely on understanding the theory of entanglement estimation, which is based on the concept of generic random states and has become increasingly important in quantum information science.

While this three-year project isn't designed to produce immediate results for the current quantum industry, it may provide a critical step in understanding the fundamental nature of quantum entanglement.

DOE Grant

The three-year grant of $750,000 from the DOE led by Wei focuses on applications to quantum information processing.  

Working with James Osborn from the DOE Argonne National Laboratory, the project focuses on the application of entanglement estimation to the performance of quantum algorithms. 

A key component of the DOE project is the possibility of project results evaluation, verification and benchmarking by utilizing the DOE facilitates in collaboration with Osborn.

“This kind of research can be risky,” Wei said, alluding to the many steps needed to find concrete answers, “but I also appreciate the support from my department and the college in addition to the federal funding agencies.”