Professor, University of Cambridge
Frank Verstraete is a physicist working in the field of quantum physics. He did his PhD in Leuven, was a postdoc at the Max Planck Insitute with Ignacio Cirac, was a research scholar at Caltech with John Preskill, and led the theoretical quantum physics group at the University of Vienna from 2006-2019. He founded the Quantum Group at Ghent University in 2012, where he has been the recipient of several large-scale grants, including 2 ERC grants (QUERG, ERC starting grant; QUTE, ERC consolidator grant) and an Odysseus grant (3.8 M€). Currently, he is the Leigh Trapnell Professor of Quantum Physics at the University of Cambridge. He has been one of the key researchers in developing the theoretical and computational aspects of entanglement and quantum computers with a view on their applications in condensed matter physics, statistical physics, quantum chemistry and high energy physics. He has devised novel algorithms for the quantum simulation of strongly correlated quantum systems on quantum computers which solve the infamous “sign problem”, he pioneered the topic of quantum Hamiltonian complexity, and introduced a paradigm-shift through the discovery of dissipatively driven quantum computation. As a second focus, he made central contributions to the theory of quantum entanglement, and built a fundamental new framework in the form of tensor networks for describing quantum correlations. The description of correlations in many-body systems has been the central problem in theoretical physics for almost 100 years, and tensor networks are providing a new language for tackling this problem; his research is centered around the development of the grammar and semantics of this nenew language. Tensor networks are leading to a novel type of representation theory for tensor categories, and as such lead to a synergy of the fields of conformal field theory, topological field theory, quantum groups, and computational physics.