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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y014456/1
Title: Quantum Algorithms for Gravitational Wave Data Analysis
Principal Investigator: Croke, Dr S
Other Investigators:
Messenger, Dr C Speirits, Dr FC
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr FJ Hayes
Project Partners:
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2024 Ends: 30 June 2027 Value (£): 937,242
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Algebra & Geometry Quantum Optics & Information
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Oct 2023 EPSRC Physical Sciences Prioritisation Panel A October 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Quantum computational devices have seen rapid development in recent years, with the first claimed demonstrations of quantum devices performing calculations significantly faster than any classical computer, as well as first demonstrations of repeated, real-time quantum error correction. Applications have been suggested in a variety of fields, ranging from quantum chemistry to financial markets to the automotive industry, but the first convincing demonstration of quantum advantage for a problem of real world interest is yet to be achieved. In this project we will construct and study quantum algorithms for detection and analysis of signals in noisy data. Signal processing is a ubiquitous problem in the physical sciences, with applications in e.g. radar, sonar, audio signal processing, and to gravitational wave data analysis, which will form a test case for our study. The gravitational wave data analysis problem has certain features that suggest quantum algorithms may offer a novel solution to current computational bottlenecks.

The first direct detection of gravitational waves, ripples in spacetime, occurred just a few years ago in 2015, opening up a new window on the Universe. In the short time since then, detections of certain classes of sources have become routine, however weaker signals remain difficult to detect in noisy data. The data analysis required for detection and analysis of source parameters is extremely computationally intensive, and the sensitivity of searches for certain classes of signals (e.g. continuous wave sources) is currently computationally limited. Improved computational techniques could lead to faster identification of signals, allowing for faster follow-up with conventional telescopes, and could even enable the detection of signals that would otherwise be overlooked. Planned improvements to detectors over the coming years, as well as new space-based instruments such as LISA, will only compound the data analysis challenge.

The investigators have recently shown that one of the first known quantum algorithms, Grover's search algorithm, can in principle speed up signal detection from noisy detector data, the first proposed application of quantum computation to matched filtering, a widely used signal processing technique, and to gravitational wave astronomy in particular. However, the algorithm proposed so far requires a large (Megabytes to Gigabytes) fault-tolerant device, likely to remain beyond the reach of technology for several years, if not decades. In this research we will pursue algorithms which have the potential for quantum advantage in the longer term, with large scale, error-corrected quantum processors, as well as construct and implement algorithms feasible with current or near future technology.
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