Simons Foundation Lectures are free public colloquia related to basic science and mathematics. These high-level talks are intended for professors, students, postdocs and business professionals, but interested people from the metropolitan area are welcome as well.
Simulating quantum mechanics on classical computers appears at first to require exponential computational resources, yet at the same time rapid progress is being made in accurate simulations of the quantum properties of realistic materials. How is this discrepancy resolved? Professor Chan will explain why, for many purposes, the exponential complexity of quantum mechanics is an illusion, and how the simple structure of quantum states can be captured through different mathematical formalisms, including that of tensor networks. Chan will then briefly discuss how this translates into new tools of numerical simulation, and highlight applications to the first-principles study of biological systems, molecular crystals and high temperature superconductivity.