S02/E02: Quantum chess moves for the real-world

Episode two in this latest series of ‘Behind the Scenes’ finds Carla Caro Villanova, a physics student, Spanish Physics Olympiad, prestigious CiMs-Cellex scholar, and a self-declared quantum-computing fan at her faculty in the University of Barcelona. Quantum theory is basically a branch of particle physics popularly described as “spooky science” which allows particles to be in two states at the same time.

She tells our host, journalist Jennifer Barker, about her prize-winning research – yes, she won the 2021 EU Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) using D-Wave’s quantum annealer. Her winning EUCYS work is about optimising quantum processes that mimic nature’s search for the easiest path/most energy efficient landscape (e.g. objects naturally wanting to slide downhill). Once solved, quantum computing can take on larger and more complex problems and get better, faster answers to real-world problems, from climate change prediction and adaptation measures to fail-safe engineering.

A natural communicator and keen for others to understand the power of quantum computing, Carla developed on a ‘gamified’ analogy, the so-called n-Queen problem, which basically asks how many queens can you fit on a chess board before they kill each other. “It’s just a game!” she assures us.

Find out more:

·       Read the Horizon Magazine article on the 2021 EUCYS winners

·       Learn about Carla Caro Villanova’s project

·       Discover the EU Youth Portal

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