Ronald de Wolf appointed Professor at University of Amsterdam

Publication date: 10-03-2011

As of 1 March 2011, Ronald de Wolf from CWI in Amsterdam is appointed Professor in Theoretical Computer Science, in particular algorithms and complexity, at the University of Amsterdam. It is a part-time appointment for one day a week.

De Wolf’s activities focus on quantum computing. This is a relatively young area, which consists mostly of theoretical research. It uses quantum effects of elementary particles. One of these effects is entanglement. Entangled particles can have a large distance while still influencing one another in ways that do not transfer information. This is demonstrated both theoretically and practically. Entanglement can cause much stronger correlations between particles than classical physics allows. Recently, De Wolf and his colleagues found examples where the 'distance' between quantum and classical correlations is nearly at its maximum; in these examples, the quantum systems behave as nonclassically as possible.

Another subject on which De Wolf’s research focuses is the use of quantum techniques in classical computer science. This way, De Wolf hopes to achieve further cross-fertilization between these two areas, with the aim to make quantum computing more relevant even if a large-scale quantum computer would never be built. In addition, De Wolf works on topics in classical computer science, such as error-correcting data structures: data structure models that continue to function in the presence of noise.

De Wolf carried out his doctoral research at CWI and the University of Amsterdam, where he graduated cum laude in 2001. His thesis got him the 2003 Cor Baayen Award from ERCIM – the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics – for 'the most promising young researcher in computer science and applied mathematics from one of the ERCIM countries' in that year. After one year of postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley (USA), and another four years of postdoctoral research at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), De Wolf got a permanent position at the latter. He is member of the renowned CWI research group 'Algorithms and Complexity' headed by Harry Buhrman. In 2008, De Wolf received an NWO Vidi grant of 600,000 euro’s to perform further research on quantum computing.

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