Testing the limits of current computers, when applied to problems in the financial domain, and exploring quantum computing models is the objective of a research project by Cláudio Gomes, a student at FCTUC.
The project, which is part of his master’s thesis, deserved the attention of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, which awarded him a scholarship under the “New Talents in Quantum Technologies” program, which aims to “stimulate young people to have an appetite for research in Quantum Technologies, enabling the development of national competences in this area”.
In particular, the study will focus on the problem of optimizing a portfolio of financial assets, that is, “before a set of assets, the objective is that, at each moment, quantum computers are able to decide which assets to buy/maintain/sell in order to maximize profit in a given time horizon”, explains Cláudio Gomes, clarifying that, “for a set of realistic assets and time horizon, the need for computational calculations grows to astronomical values, impossible to perform using a classic computer program”.
Therefore, the strategy is to explore new computing models: “A quantum computer has the potential to solve numerous problems that a classic computer cannot solve in a timely manner. This advantage is known as Quantum Supremacy. In addition to these financial problems, others examples of problems that can benefit from the high calculation capacity provided by quantum computers, include the efficient modeling of chemical reactions and the deciphering of secrets in cryptography”, highlight the student’s advisors, João Paulo Fernandes and Gabriel Falcão, professors of the Computer Engineering Department and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, respectively.
“At a time when more and more evidence is accumulating that quantum computing may reach an industrial impact earlier than expected, it is anticipated that the contributions to be made may show ways to further accelerate that impact,” they add.
The grant has a monetary value of 2,500 euros and a duration of 10 months.
FCTUC professors point out that “these grants are extremely competitive and awarded to a very small number of students and researchers. For this reason, more than the financial value in question, the funding allocated honors and motivates us a lot”.