When Mohammad Javad Khojasteh arrived at MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) in 2020 to start his postdoc appointment, he was launched to a completely new universe. The area he knew greatest could possibly be defined by “classical” physics that predicts the conduct of extraordinary objects with near-perfect accuracy (suppose Newton’s three legal guidelines of movement). But this new universe was ruled by weird legal guidelines that may produce unpredictable outcomes whereas working at scales usually smaller than an atom.
“The rules of quantum mechanics are counterintuitive and seem very strange when you first start to learn them,” Khojasteh says. “But the more you know, the clearer it becomes that the underlying logic is extremely elegant.”
As a member of Professor Moe Win’s lab, known as the Wireless Information and Network Sciences Laboratory, or WINS Lab, Khojasteh’s job is to straddle each the classical and quantum realms, with a purpose to enhance state-of-the-art communication, sensing, and computational capabilities.
Growing up in Iran, Khojasteh knew he wished to be a scientist from an early age. In highschool, he grew to become captivated by physics specifically. He was a first-generation faculty graduate, incomes a twin bachelor’s diploma in electrical engineering and math from Sharif University of Technology, earlier than finishing his PhD in electrical and pc engineering at University of California at San Diego (UCSD). There, he labored on the intersection of robotics and machine studying, creating instruments to guard towards cyber threats in addition to learning-enabled planning algorithms for autonomous robots to function safely in altering real-world eventualities. After graduating from UCSD in 2019, he remembers calling house to share the excellent news: “Mom, I’m officially a doctor now.”
After a stint at Caltech, the place Khojasteh collaborated with NASA researchers to develop planning and management algorithms to enhance off-road autonomous driving and construct robots for life-detection missions on different planets, Khojasteh moved throughout the nation to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to hitch LIDS and the WINS Lab.
“LIDS has always been at the center of the decision-making and information science field,” he says. “As an undergraduate, and later as a PhD student, I remember reading papers and textbooks by LIDS professors, so getting the chance to collaborate with these renowned researchers during my postdoc has been really exciting. LIDS is such an interesting and vibrant environment.”
Until this level, Khojasteh had centered totally on classical programs reminiscent of autonomous autos, though he’d all the time maintained a eager curiosity in quantum programs. In the WINS Lab, he may lastly give attention to each pursuits in tandem.
There’s a quantum revolution on the horizon, he explains, that can remodel the way in which gadgets carry out sensing, computation, and communications duties. Problems that take classical computer systems years to unravel can be baby’s play for the large-scale quantum computer systems slated to return on-line within the subsequent few a long time. For instance, these new-wave quantum computer systems will permit biologists and chemists to higher simulate molecular interactions to design new medication – and even assist engineers to design higher batteries. These machines will even leverage the legal guidelines of quantum physics to advance medical analysis and medical care.
In Khojasteh’s phrases: “This quantum revolution will change lives and help us to better understand the world around us.”
Because he was nonetheless so new to the sphere of quantum mechanics when he arrived within the WINS Lab, Khojasteh started by studying and discussing associated papers along with his lab mates to stand up to hurry. In the meantime, he began engaged on a challenge associated to classical programs, serving to robots to navigate whereas preserving their places secret to thwart potential safety breaches.
As Khojasteh started to grasp the principles of the quantum universe, he took on a second challenge that has since grow to be his most important endeavor, aimed toward creating data-driven strategies to regulate the fundamental models of data that feed quantum computer systems.
While classical computer systems retailer data as electrical pulses that signify ones and zeroes known as “bits,” quantum computer systems use quantum bits, or “qubits,” which could usually be subatomic particles. Based on their distinctive quantum mechanical properties, qubits can signify further values in addition to simply 0 or 1: They can even signify each 0 and 1 on the similar time in several weights (a phenomenon referred to as superposition that may result in computational benefits). However, as a result of the dynamics of quantum programs are so troublesome to foretell, controlling the state of those qubits isn’t any simple feat. While conventional approaches depend on manually designed fashions, Khojasteh’s technique makes use of a hierarchical design that layers exploratory management, quantum tomography, Hamiltonian studying, and data-driven management strategies to extra exactly tune the dynamics of those qubits, permitting quantum computer systems to function extra effectively.
“I’ve learned so much from Professor Win,” Khojasteh says. “There are very few research groups with a foot in both classical and quantum physics, so working in his lab has been an amazing opportunity.”
With roughly a 12 months left in his postdoc appointment, Khojasteh has begun contemplating his subsequent profession steps. He plans to use to analysis scientist jobs in business, in addition to school positions. Becoming a professor would permit him to proceed educating, which he’s loved immensely throughout his time at LIDS. In addition to serving as a educating assistant, he has additionally volunteered for MIT’s Summer Research Program (MSRP), which empowers college students from traditionally underrepresented teams in science to grow to be researchers. Khojasteh mentored one MSRP scholar for over a 12 months, and the two even co-authored a research collectively.
Whether he pursues a profession in academia or business, Khojasteh goals to proceed performing basic analysis in quantum programs. His interdisciplinary background in physics, arithmetic, engineering, robotics, machine studying, and quantum mechanics has endowed him with a multifaceted perspective, which he applies to each analysis downside he encounters.
“I’m somebody who enjoys crossing the imaginary boundaries between the fields and trying different methods to address a research question,” he says. “Everyone at LIDS also really values this interdisciplinary approach, which gives them a broad vision to conduct really interesting research and solve important problems.”
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