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CQT welcomes alumnus back as National Research Foundation Fellow

Mile Gu takes appointment with CQT and the Nanyang Technological University under NRF's prestigious fellowship scheme

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22 February 2016

Mile Gu, Research Assistant Professor at CQT on an NRF Fellowship

Mile Gu, a former CQT research fellow, has won a five-year fellowship from Singapore's National Research Foundation. He is now a Research Assistant Professor at the Complexity Institute of Nanyang Technological University and the Centre for Quantum Technologies.

Mile Gu, a former CQT research fellow, is one of seven scientists to be awarded the prestigious National Research Foundation (NRF) Fellowship in 2016.

He joins the Complexity Institute of Nanyang Technological University as Nanyang Assistant Professor and the Centre for Quantum Technologies as Research Assistant Professor with effect from 22 February.

"It’s a very nice surprise and very exciting to have this Fellowship. The competition was remarkable," says Mile.

Mile won the NRF Fellowship for a project bringing together complexity and quantum science. "At first glance these fields seem to have little in common. Quantum systems are microscopic; complex systems are macroscopic interacting systems like economies or climate. But these two sciences both use the common language of information theory," says Mile, "some of the tools map between them."

He is interested to discover, for example, if a complex classical system such as the weather could be more efficiently simulated with a quantum approach. The fellowship supports the work for five years.

The title of Mile's NRF project is "Enhancing the Efficiency of Modelling and Simulating Complex Systems via Quantum Mechanics". Mile and his collaborators also have funding from The John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organisation based in the US, for a project called "Occam's Quantum Mechanical Razor". He says these two projects are complementary: the research supported by NRF will consider how tools of quantum information apply in complexity science, while the Templeton grant supports work applying the tools of complexity theory in quantum systems.

Mile, originally from New Zealand, was a Research Fellow at CQT in Vlatko Vedral's group from 2012 to 2014. He then joined the faculty of Tsinghua University in Beijing as Assistant Professor, supported by China's Thousand Talents Plan.

Commenting on what has drawn him back, Mile says "As a theorist, I do research based on ideas. When I was here before, CQT really provided the perfect environment to generate new ideas – there were lots of visitors and opportunities to bring in collaborators. Singapore, being at this crossroads with researchers from all over the world, is a really nice place to discuss interdisciplinary ideas. Now that I am with the Complexity Institute too, I will also be able to go back and forth, bringing ideas from one camp to the other."

CQT also hosts two other NRF Fellows who received their awards having been researchers with the Centre: computer scientists Troy Lee and Joe Fitzsimons received NRF Fellowships in 2013. Troy is now a Principal Investigator with CQT and Assistant Professor at NTU. Joe is a Research Assistant Professor with CQT and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.