JKU Computer Scientist Wins IBM “Quantum Computer” Competition

A scientist at the JKU won IBM’s recent competition to find the best quantum computer compiler.

[Translate to Englisch:] v.l.: Zulehner, Wille

Researchers and scientists around the world are working feverishly to develop quantum computer technology as well as the corresponding technologies and methods. While physicists have initially dominated developments in the field, the topic is now becoming increasingly more relevant for computer science. Ultimately, the new computer technologies should be able to run corresponding programs and algorithms.

In order for this to work, however, the respective “quantum programs” have to be “processed” for the respective machines. Analogous and conventional computers have so-called compilers available. Compilers for quantum computers are in the early stages of development. To encourage further development, IT giant IBM created the QISKit Developer Challenge and asked programmers from around the world to develop efficient compilers for quantum computers that would optimize both quality and the runtime.

JKU doctoral candidate Alwin Zulehner (Institute of Integrated Circuits; dept. head Prof. Robert Wille) emerged as the competition winner for his work that was also a part of his dissertation. As a team member at the institute, Alwin Zulehner’s solution is a particularly clever combination of different high-end computer science methods. The jury was impressed and IBM remarked: “We chose Alwin as the winner becauase he not only gave us a solution that was at least 10% better than those submitted by others, but also because his code could be executed more than six times faster.”

This is the second time in the past few months that the JKU’s Institute of Integrated Circuits has been praised by a ‘big player’ for its work on quantum computers. In March, researchers at the institute were presented with a Google Research Award for their work on simulating quantum computers. In the field of developing methods for future technologies, computer sciences in Linz is emerging as a high quality contender and world leader.