Thomas Elliott


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Simulating quantum dynamics on a classical computer bears a resource cost that grows exponentially with the size of the system; studying systems of more than a few particles quickly becomes intractable. Yet, underpinning this is a fascinating duality - the very properties of quantum systems that make them appear complex to classical systems can be exploited to efficiently study complex classical systems with quantum devices. My research approaches this duality from both sides.

Under the broad umbrella of ‘quantum simulation’, I investigate how quantum technologies can be used to emulate and study the behaviour of complex systems, and conversely, seek to understand which structures of quantum dynamics makes them appear complex to classical hardware. I am interested in the foundational aspects of this, such as the insight this provides into the intrinsic computation of dynamical systems, as well as the practical applications for stochastic modelling and machine learning - particularly in terms of adaptive systems (or ‘agents’).

Broadly then, my research can be summed up by two central questions:

1) What makes a quantum system appear 'complex'?

2)  What can we do with this complexity?

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Areas of expertise

  • QC Physics
  • Quantum Physics
  • Quantum Information Processing
  • Quantum many-body theory
  • Quantum Systems
  • Quantum Thermodynamics
  • Quantum Optics
  • Quantum Computing


  • Quantum Theory
  • Quantum Information
  • Quantum Simulation
  • Quantum Algorithms
  • Quantum Many-Body Systems
  • Complex Systems


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