Meet Urmila Mahadev: The Graduate Student Behind the Quantum Computation Verification Protocol

Meet Urmila Mahadev: The Graduate Student Behind the Quantum Computation Verification Protocol

Quantum computers are considered as the future of technology. They use concepts like entanglement and superposition to carry out computations. With each passing day more and more research is being done on quantum computation. Researchers believe that in the near future classical computers will become obsolete and everyone will have a quantum computer. Quantum computers are powerful and comparatively a billion times faster than classical computers.

Computations done on quantum computers are very tricky and complex. It is almost impossible to verify if a quantum computation is correct or not. In theory, we know that quantum computers can perform a lot of different types of high-level computations. But, we still don’t have a practical mechanism to verify those computations.

Urmila Mahadev’s Journey into Quantum Computing

Urmila Mahadev, a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley came up with a way to verify quantum computations. When she applied for UC Berkeley, she wrote in her application that she wasn’t interested in quantum computation. However, her determination and will to succeed in life changed her mind. Her doctoral advisor Mr Umesh Vazirani also motivated her. Mr Vazirani’s explanation of quantum computation made it easy for Urmila to understand the concept of quantum computation in detail. She spent eight years in graduate school only to solve the problem of verifying quantum computations.

Quantum computing is one of the most talked about fields of computer sciences but with its most basic question still unanswered. How do you know if the computation performed by your quantum computer is correct or not. While studying at UC Berkeley Urmila Mahadev developed an interest in this problem and dedicated her entire time in graduate school so that she could come up with the solution to her stated problem. She took on this project solo thought, she did have some help from Mr Vazirani and other seniors at Berkeley. As a graduate student, undertaking such a project solo attributed her with enormous respect and credit for all her work.

Verification Method of Quantum Computation

Urmila Mahadev knew that it was too difficult for classical computers to directly verify quantum computations. Mahadev with the help of her doctoral advisor Vazirani came up with a mechanism which uses both classical computers and quantum technology to verify quantum computations. In simple words, she developed a measurement protocol where she used classical computers as a verifier and a quantum prover as a measurement device. The prover measured the qubits and forwarded the results to the verifier which then performed its duties of verifying the correctness of the quantum computation results.

Her efforts have lead her to a lot of prominent platforms. She has also won a lot of awards due to her efforts and study in the field of quantum computation. In theory, Urmila Mahadev’s work can be graded as A++ however the world is still very far away from implanting such a protocol in the physical work. She has gained a lot of praise and appreciation for her efforts in the field of computer sciences. Scientists from all over the world have commended her work on quantum computation and they believe that her work has opened doors for a lot of other related studies in the field of quantum computation.

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