Humble appointed director of the Quantum Science Center

August 9, 2022 – Travis Humble has been appointed director of the Quantum Science Center, which is headquartered at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. QSC is a multi-institutional partnership encompassing industry, academia and government institutions tasked with uncovering the full potential of quantum materials, sensors and algorithms.

Travis Humble. Credit: Carlos Jones, ORNL.

Humble was named associate director in 2020 when the DOE established this five-year, $115 million project as one of five national research centers for quantum information science. Humble stepped down as interim director in January following the departure of former QSC director David Dean.

“I look forward to working with this amazing team of scientists and engineers at the forefront of quantum science and technology,” he said. “QSC provides a wonderful opportunity to engage the best and brightest in our country to solve some of the most interesting scientific problems of our time.”

As interim director, Humble has overseen QSC’s three main focus areas: discovery and development of quantum materials, quantum algorithms and simulation, and quantum devices and sensors for discovery science. In his new role, he will continue to work with QSC partner institutions including ORNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Purdue University, Microsoft and IBM.

A distinguished ORNL scientist, Humble also directs the lab’s Quantum Computing Institute and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s Quantum Computing User Program. QSC uses DOE user facilities, including the OLCF, to solve research problems.

Humble joined ORNL in 2005 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and became a staff member in 2007. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a master’s and doctorate in theoretical chemistry from the University of Oregon.

As QSC director, Humble will prioritize the development and application of quantum materials for quantum computing and quantum sensing to support scientific discovery, improve the country’s security and energy efficiency, and ensure economic competitiveness. Other goals include demonstrating the benefits of early quantum computers and advancing methods to study the fundamental physics of quantum matter.

By addressing the current quantum challenges and expanding people development activities with a focus on recruitment and training, Humble expects QSC’s leadership role in the ongoing quantum revolution to continue to grow.

Humble is also an Assistant Professor at the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Editor-in-Chief for ACM transactions on quantum computingco-editor for quantum information processing and co-chair of the Quantum Initiative of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Now in his 17th year at ORNL and more passionate than ever about the future of quantum technology, Humble is positioning QSC to shape quantum research and technologies on a national and international scale.

“Quantum science and technology are transformative paradigms, and we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible,” he said. “QSC will bring new discoveries in materials, computing and sensing that will advance a deeper understanding of these ideas and prepare us for the next generation of quantum technologies.”

The QSC, an ORNL-led national DOE research center for quantum information science, conducts cutting-edge research in national laboratories, universities and industrial partners to overcome important obstacles related to the resilience, controllability and ultimately the scalability of quantum technologies in the quantum state. QSC researchers design materials that enable topological quantum computing; Implementation of new quantum sensors for characterizing topological states and detecting dark matter; and design of quantum algorithms and simulations to enable better understanding of quantum materials, chemistry, and quantum field theories. These innovations enable QSC to accelerate information processing, explore the previously unmeasurable, and better predict quantum performance across technologies. For more information visit qscience.org.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science, the largest single funder of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The DOE’s Office of Science works to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information visit https://energy.gov/science.


Source: ORNL

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