Ian MacCormack’s PhD Thesis Defense

8:00–10:00 am

Ian MacCormack’s PhD Thesis Defense


Thursday, October 28, 2021, 8-10 AM CT

In-person Location: MCP 201

and Via Zoom


Entanglement is the most unique and distinguishing feature of quantum mechanics, and is of fundamental importance not only to the theory of quantum information, but to the study of quantum phases of matter. While much work has been done to study the entanglement in the ground states of familiar systems like conformal field theories and gapped topological phases, slightly less attention has been paid to dynamical quantum systems and systems that lack translational invariance. 

In this talk, I will first introduce some basic formalism and intuition related to entanglement in many-body quantum systems. I will then discuss an elegant means of calculating entanglement entropy and other measures in strongly interacting CFTs on curved backgrounds via the Ryu/Takyanagi formula. Next, I will introduce a general formula for the calculation of the entanglement contour, a well-behaved entanglement density function. The contour will be shown to be particularly useful for probing the dynamics of out-of-equilibrium quantum systems. With these dynamical systems in mind, I will present results from calculations of multipartite operator entanglement — a state-independent entanglement measure — in a many-body localized system.

Finally, I will conclude with a brief overview of the possibilities of realizing and probing entangled quantum matter using near-term quantum computers.

Committee Members:

Shinsei Ryu (Chair)

Jeffrey Harvey

Michael Levin

Mark Oreglia

Ian will be joining Menten AI, a startup that uses advanced computing methods to design protein drugs. There, he will be developing and adapting algorithms for near-term quantum computers to aid in the design of complex protein molecules.

Event Type

Thesis Defense

Oct 28