Student dives into quantum computing and wins Regeneron Prize | Top stories

Anisha Musti, a junior from Edgemont High School, attended the prestigious Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Atlanta, Georgia in May. Although she always thought she was more of a child of the humanities, Musti won third place in cybersecurity from the National Security Agency’s Research Directorate, an achievement that stems from her interest in science. since college.

When Musti joined the college science research club in eighth grade, she got her first taste of competitive science. His environmental science project turned natural waste into energy using a microbial fuel cell and won an award at the Tri-County Science and Technology Expo.

“I got hooked on this idea of ​​science after that because the fair was my first experience, and I think winning definitely made me more interested,” Musti said.

Although she had already planned to enroll in the science research program in her second year, Musti learned about quantum computing through YouTube in her first year. The idea of ​​harnessing the laws of quantum mechanics to create more secure information transmission was relatively new, and Musti quickly chose it as his research topic.

“There are so many opportunities in this area that can be exploited. Everyone has a chance to have such a big impact and be at the frontier of technology,” Musti said.

Quantum computing uses particle information such as spin state or rotation to send a message. After imprinting two particles through quantum entanglement, the particles can theoretically share information regardless of distance.

“There is a real kind of teleportation in the world of quantum mechanics, and it’s not necessarily what we can imagine. It is not the transport of matter like humans or animals, but the transport of information,” Musti said.

While entanglement should allow information about one particle to appear on the other, external forces in real life can interfere with the process.

“The greater the distance traveled by these two particles, the more difficult it becomes for them to stay in this entanglement. [state]. We can do an operation on one of them, and it pops up on the other one but doesn’t stay there very long because other things get in the way,” Musti said.

In his award-winning project, “Designing a Quantum Teleportation Circuit on Novel Qubits”, Musti sought to improve the quality of quantum entanglement by building a circuit using simulations and his computer that allows manual tuning of the particle’s frequency during entanglement.

With the patience and mentorship of New York University physics professor Javad Shabani, Musti took inspiration from past circuit design and made adjustments through trial and error. She also took courses in quantum mechanics to learn the theories necessary to understand her project. Her operating circuit took her to ISEF, which Musti described as a “surreal experience” that is “impossible to forget”.

“There is this possibility of completely secure information and communications. This is why so many key industry players are so interested in the idea of ​​quantum teleportation and its use for cryptography,” Musti said.

After discovering his passion for scientific research, Musti concluded that there is a big misconception that people have to be exclusively STEM or humanities kids.

“The biggest discoveries and the biggest breakthroughs happen with intersectionality. Being someone who comes primarily from a humanities background and then goes into STEM, it gives you a new approach and a way to do it. to think that someone who might be trapped in a field,” Musti said.

Sherry J. Basler