Vihaan Dheer ‘23 

Vihaan developed a novel mathematical model for optimizing operations on a quantum computer.

Why did you pursue this project?
At my core, I am a curious person who tries to "get to the bottom" of everything, and if possible go beyond the level taught in a classroom (or otherwise). My love for sciences like mathematics and physics are at a more fundamental level based on this principle of needing to understand. As a 9th grader trying to determine what I wanted to research for the next few years, I thought about how I always asked the question “why?” to almost everything I learned, especially in my more scientific classes.

The reapplication of this question to as many situations as possible almost always led me naturally to quantum physics in some way. After observing this enough times, I decided I wanted to focus my research in some form of quantum mechanics: even with the supposed difficulty of the field, in some ways it was also the most “basic” as few things in the field were questioned further. While the study of quantum mechanics is far from complete, there is not too much to be done in terms of new, customizable, and solo research projects without access to a research lab, and I wanted the control over my research to be able to choose my own project. Quantum computing seemed like a goldilocks solution to this problem: it was a subfield of quantum physics, it did not require lab research, there were tons of unresolved questions remaining in the field, and it also integrated another one of my interests (that is, computer science). It was not much more work to, based on more specific interests in the subfield, find a more detailed but still relevant and applicable research question to delve into.

WESEF 2022:
Mu Alpha Theta award for use of mathematics
2nd place in Category (Physics and Astronomy) award