Director's Message to UMIACS

As we race toward the end of the semester (and calendar year), good news continues to populate our newsletter. From prestigious faculty awards to fresh interdisciplinary collaborations to learning more about our newest colleagues, I am always impressed by the breadth and impact of our research community.

The newsletter also includes several items highlighting our activities in quantum. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to watch a feature video on the NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Robust Quantum Simulation, known as RQS.

Launched two years ago with a $25 million award from the National Science Foundation, this multi-institutional effort is focused on developing quantum simulation devices that can understand, and thereby exploit, the rich behavior of complex quantum systems.

RQS is one of several distinct quantum collaborations administratively housed within UMIACS. We also support the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science, known as QuICS, which is a partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Our quantum efforts include almost a dozen federal scientists embedded full-time on the University of Maryland campus. This powerful collaboration between academia and government has proven beneficial in myriad ways, not the least of which is rapidly advancing the cutting-edge science and scholarship needed to develop meaningful quantum computing platforms and applications.

Many of these federal scientists have adjunct appointments in UMIACS, allowing them to write grant proposals with Maryland faculty and interact with our talented graduate students.

The decision to place RQS and QuICS within UMIACS was not a random one. Both senior UMD administrators and the federal agencies supporting these efforts are aware of our track record in managing large, multi-institutional awards. This is an area where UMIACS truly excels—keeping track of complex financial agreements, managing equipment and lab spaces, securing the proper paperwork for employing diverse groups of faculty, staff and students, and so much more.

Quantum is flourishing at the University of Maryland—and within UMIACS—because of solid leadership (thank you, Andrew Childs and Yi-Kai Liu), stellar faculty, and very capable postdocs and graduate students. It is also successful because of the excellent support staff we have in place to help manage these initiatives—people like Kuljeet Kaur, Yerty Valenzuela and Andrea Svejda.

A good example of the excellence of all our staff is our facilities manager J’Vaughn Holmes, who is profiled in the newsletter. We are fortunate that every UMIACS staff member—whether it's administrative, technical or communications—shares the same commitment to quality service and "can do" attitude that J’Vaughn exemplifies. Stay tuned for more stories on our support personnel—we plan to highlight their activities in upcoming issues of the newsletter. Have a great Thanksgiving break!

Mihai Pop, UMIACS Director