The Advanced Quantum test bench powers the quantum



The Advanced Quantum Testbed (AQT) at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) is a research and development program in quantum information sciences (QIS) funded by the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program of the Department of United States Energy. Launched in 2018, AQT develops superconducting circuits and processors for quantum computing and implements quantum algorithms for various applications in materials science, nuclear physics, among others.

Since its founding, the collaborative vision of AQT has included scientists from different backgrounds and fields. David Iván Santiago is the Technical Manager at AQT and oversees the programmatic technical needs of the program. Santiago also heads the Quantum Information Science and Technology (QuIST) group in the Applied Math and Computational Research division of the Berkeley Lab.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Santiago describes his early days in physics: “I was curious and loved math from a young age. to apply mathematics since I was young to understand the natural world. “

Santiago received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. He later pursued his doctorate in astrophysics and cosmology at Stanford University in California. Its focus was the theory of general relativity and the origin of the universe.

As he progressed through his 5-year academic career and postdoctoral research, Santiago shifted to condensed matter physics to explore the quantum behavior of states and transformations of different materials.

After five years of study and research, Santiago decided to leave academics for the private sector in a transformative period in his life. In 2009, he joined a small company as a science adviser where he supported two US government agencies – the Department of Defense and the Office of the National Director of Intelligence. As a consultant, David evaluated various scientific projects in the physics of materials and electronic devices.

“I found a niche in quantum computing gradually and organically. It was not a decision based on a clear prior interest or passion. I understood it through my background in physics and mathematics, but actually I learned on the job so I was able to work on advancing some of the early processors and quantum devices, ”he said.

In 2016, Santiago changed jobs in the private sector to continue modeling experiments and hardware for quantum computing.

“To run a quantum algorithm, for example, you have to know the physics of materials in order to make a quantum device. So quantum computing was something that I started to like because I always want to learn how things work on different levels. ,” he said.

During his time in the private sector, Santiago met Irfan Siddiqi, university researcher at the Berkeley Lab and director of the AQT. Eager to reorient himself towards basic sciences and research and development, Santiago joined the AQT team in 2018.

“Physics – as a field of research and development – is not very present in the public consciousness, and yet its principles and advances are found in our modern livelihoods, cell phones, computers, etc. I would like to see quantum computing reach its potential and be able to contribute to its growth through programs such as AQT, which support the wider community of users and nurture diverse talents, ”said Santiago.

The AQT opened its test bed to the national and international community in 2020, offering free and open access to the entire IT stack to users. Startups, national laboratories and university researchers collaborate directly with the AQT team for up to six months. Seeking to publish in the best peer-reviewed scientific journals, experiments are tailored to user needs and specifications at no additional cost. In addition, users can conduct experiments on the AQT test bed with technologies developed elsewhere.

The AQT aims to be a collaborative crossroads for the entire national and international community and prepares new generations of researchers from various backgrounds. The program recently announced its open call soliciting new research proposals. The deadline for submitting a Brief Letter of Intent (LOI) is November 5. For more information on how to get started, visit:


Founded in 1931 on the belief that the greatest scientific challenges are best met by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been awarded 14 Nobel Prizes. Today, researchers at the Berkeley Lab are developing sustainable energy and environmental solutions, creating useful new materials, pushing the boundaries of computing, and probing the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists around the world rely on the laboratory facilities for their own scientific discoveries. Berkeley Lab is a national multi-program laboratory, operated by the University of California for the Office of Science, US Department of Energy.

The DOE’s Office of Science is the largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and strives to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

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