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PhD on Variational Quantum Optimal Control on Rydberg-atom quantum processors

PhD on Variational Quantum Optimal Control on Rydberg-atom quantum processors

Irène Curie Fellowship
Mathematics and Computer Science


Recent advancements in Rydberg atoms along with the spectacular degree of experimental control of state-ofthe-art platforms have made it possible to realize quantum gates with high fidelity, and therewith drawing the advent of universal quantum computers closer to reality. Yet, quantum computing is still in the so-called noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) era, where the number of available error-free qubits is modest and quantum algorithms have yet to outperform their classical counterparts in practice.

Concurrently, the development of hybrid and near-term quantum algorithms, such as variational quantum eigensolvers (VQE), has been progressing at an enormous pace with the goal of allowing for quantum advantage in the NISQ era. This development, however, has mostly been independent of the developments in quantum computing hardware. In particular, many of these algorithms have yet to be tailored to the Rydberg platform. For instance, standard VQEs make use of digital quantum circuits that rely on digitized quantum gates, while the physical control of qubits in Rydberg systems is governed by laser pulses which are inherently analog in nature.

Together with the supervisor, the PhD student will bridge the gap between digital gate-based VQEs and actual analog pulse-based control mechanisms in Rydberg platforms and will do so by introducing a Rydberg-atom pulse-based Variational Quantum Optimal Control (VQOC) framework. This framework brings together recent progress in the understanding and control of Rydberg platforms and the well-developed theory of quantum optimal control to allow for the deployment of consistent and inconsistent error-robust algorithms onto Rydberg platforms. The outcome of this project serves not only to fill an important gap between theory and hardware for Rydberg platforms, but also provides an approach for modeling VQEs on open quantum systems, and ultimately a strategy for constructing optimized quantum circuits in the presence of decoherence.

Next to these research activities, you will participate in educational activities performed at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, which include assisting in the teaching of undergraduate and master’s students.


We are looking for a candidate that meets the following requirements:

  • A Master’s degree in Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, or related fields.
  • Strong knowledge of optimal control theory, functional analysis, and quantum physics is highly desirable.
  • An interest in cross-topic collaboration between mathematics and physics.
  • Affinity with high-level, mathematics-oriented programming languages (Python, etc.).
  • Good communicative skills in English, both in speaking and writing.
  • Candidates from non-Dutch or non-English speaking countries should be prepared to prove their English language skills


A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale 27 (min. €2,541 max. €3,247).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Informatie en sollicitatie

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 

Curious to hear more about what it’s like as a PhD candidate at TU/e? Please view the video.


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact dr. Oliver Tse (o.t.c.tse[at],

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR Services (HRServices.MCS[at]

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. Your application must contain the following documents (all in English):

  • Cover letter (1-page max), which includes a motivation of your interest in the vacancy, a preference for one of the two projects, and an explanation of why you would fit well for the project.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae.
  • A transcript of your grades (Bachelor's and Master's degrees).
  • A copy or a link to your Master's thesis. If you have not completed it yet, please explain your current situation.
  • Name and contact information of two references.

Please note that a maximum of 5 documents (max. 2 MB each) can be uploaded. If you have more than 5
documents, you will have to combine them. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
If you are interested, we invite you to apply as soon as possible by using the ‘apply now’ button. Applications
per email will not be considered.
We will start considering applications and interviewing immediately upon receiving an application.