Accelerating Thermonuclear Plasma Fusion with the Help of Quantum Computing
In a recent series of articles, the most representative of which are (1): "Dyson maps and unitary evolution for Maxwell equations in tensor dielectric media, Physical Review A 107, 042215, 2023" and (2) "Quantum computing perspective for electromagnetic wave propagation in cold magnetized plasmas, Physics of Plasmas 30, 122108, 2023", Mr. Efstratios Koukoutsis (EK), who is a PhD Candidate and Professor Emeritus Kyriakos Hizanidis (KH) both affiliated with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering succeeded in stimulating the interest of the international scientific community in USA and Europe.
The first of these articles received wide publicity in the US this summer, while the second, published a few days ago, has been selected as Editors Pick of the most representative international journal of the scientific area, Physics of Plasmas, and graces the cover of the December issue. This important scientific contribution is the culmination of the long-term cooperation of Prof. Emeritus Kyriakos Hizanidis with one of the most important scientific centers on a global scale, the Plasma Science and Fusion Center/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PSFC-MIT). Specifically, one of the two main contributors-collaborators, Dr. Abhay K. Ram is affiliated with PSFC-MIT, while the other one is Professor George Vahala from William & Mary.
The scientific research area of the highlighted publications can be described as the pursuit for exploitation of quantum computing on the scientific and technological forefront, in this case, the endeavor for beneficial thermonuclear plasma fusion. Quantum computers offer the tantalizing possibility for exponential faster computations the so called “quantum advantage” over their classical counterparts. However, in order to harness their power which naturally emerges from the physical laws of quantum physics for classical physical problems it is required to translate the classical equations into a a proper quantum-like form. The authors have achieved such a Schrodinger representation for the Maxwell equations through a Dyson map and subsequently proposed a quantum implementation based on qubit lattice algorithm (QLA) that can be also tested on classical supercomputers. Those considerations then are extended to the study of electromagnetic wave propagation in dispersive dielectic media such as plasmas, a field of paramount importance in the realization of plasma fusion.
It is noteworthy that the research achievements of EK and KH have been immediately recognized with the funding endorsement from the EUROfusion Consortium for the European Enabling Research proposal titled as "Application of Quantum Computing to Plasma Fusion" with Principal Investigator the recently elected Assistant Professor of School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Mr. Christos Tsironis. This proposal is a partnership between the NTUA group which leads the effort and the Group of Lasers and Plasmas (GOLP) of the Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon-Portugal.
(1) PRA paper: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevA.107.042215
(2) PoP paper: https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0177589