School student takes Quantum Computing to final round of SET Student of the Year Award

Computational Physics student Flaviu Cipcigan reached the final of the Science, Engineering & Technology (SET) Student of the Year Awards with his work on Quantum Computing. Here he tells us what was involved.

It all started with my Computational Physics Junior Honours Project, where I had the opportunity to learn about Quantum Computing and its applications. My interest in Quantum Computing continued after the project, leading to an EPSRC (Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council) vacation scholarship and a Senior Honours Project, both under the supervision of Dr Elham Kashefi and Prof. Tony Kennedy. In these projects, I looked at the theoretical and experimental aspects of the subject (the latter in collaboration with Dr Philip Walther and Ms Stefanie Barz, University of Vienna), gaining a broad understanding of its present state and the direction it is heading in.

Based on the latter two projects, Dr Kashefi nominated me for the SET Awards. The first round consisted of a short report detailing what was involved in the projects and their importance. This took me to the final round of the Awards, where three students from each category were invited to give a presentation at the Institute of Physics in London. The award ceremony was organised in the evening of the interview and was my personal highlight of the SET Awards, as I had the opportunity to talk to a wide range of great academics and industry leaders.

I was very honoured to represent the schools of Physics and Informatics at such a unique event and to highlight the importance of collaborations between disciplines. Quantum Computing is a great medium for this, since its challenges can only be solved with input from both disciplines, both of which are close to my heart.