Physics Post-Doc Lands First-of-its-Kind Fellowship For UCF

Research bringing quantum computers closer to reality recently landed a new Department of Physics graduate a Mathematical and Physics Ascending Postdoctoral Research Fellowship — a first for UCF.

Justin Reyes, Ph.D ’20, received the maximum funding award through the U.S. National Science Foundation to support three years of post-doctoral research. The MPS-Ascend fellowship broadens the “participation of groups that are underrepresented in MPS fields,” according to the NSF website.

Quantum computers skip the traditional binary 1s and 0s and instead perform calculations based on probability. Still in their infancy, fully realized quantum computers hold the potential to unlock incredible advancement in applications like medicine, encryption and communications. Reyes contributes to their development by studying how to mitigate the “noise” of quantum systems using artificial intelligence algorithms.

“We are currently at the cusp of truly useful quantum computers,” said Reyes. “Perhaps my research can be a part of the push to truly achieve the goal of robust and practical quantum computation.”

Reyes graduated with his Ph.D in physics in the summer of 2020 after taking to graduate school to pursue his dreams as a physicist.

“At the time I had many family responsibilities to attend to and the proximity of UCF made it a strong option,” said Reyes. “I have to say that the people I met at UCF, particularly some of the faculty in the physics department, have made all the difference in my education.”

On top of research funding, Reyes will also serve as a mentor for graduate and undergraduate minority groups in the Department of Physics as part of the associated duties with the fellowship.

“I am honored to have the capability to teach and study the subject that, for me, is a pursuit in knowing the mind of God,” said Reyes. “The intrigue of physics is as boundless as the universe is wide.”



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