A quantum leap for classical data

Posted on 25 July 2019

The Department of Computer Science will lead on a €2.6m project to develop powerful new methods of reading and classifying ‘classical’ data using quantum techniques.

Classical data is the type of information stored by existing methods, such as on a hard-drive, CD-ROM or other common digital memory, but it can also be associated with other physical systems, such as the structure of biomedical materials.

The Quantum Readout Techniques and Technologies (QUARTET) project will be led by Professor Stefano Pirandola. The work will enable improved computer information readout, pattern recognition and even radar detection using more complex quantum resources and detectors.

Professor Pirandola says the project has the potential to make York a leader in a number of research areas relating to quantum sensing and metrology and will build on the University’s growing reputation for applications relating to quantum cryptography and networks.

He explained: "Quantum-enhanced pattern recognition could have remarkable long-term applications in biology and medicine.

"It has the potential to enable non-invasive analysis of very fragile biological samples or human tissues, and better recognise hidden patterns associated with bacterial growth or cancerous cells. Such results could provide future non-invasive techniques of medical imaging for private and public hospitals."

The technology could also be used in national security areas: “The creation of a working quantum radar prototype could have major applications for aircraft detection, tracking and other security technology.”