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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

New perspectives on algorithms and complexity from string theory

Dr Ramgoolam has worked with “Research Features” to produce an expository article for general audiences on his recent research with an international team of collaborators. The research is developing novel applications of string theory ideas to understand the complexity of classical and quantum algorithms related to symmetries. 

String theory for builders

String theory for Builders by Dr Sanjaye Ramgoolam


The mathematics of symmetry, also known as group theory, is widely used as a tool in the solution of complex problems in many areas of theoretical physics, including string theory. A sequence of papers by Dr Ramgoolam and an international team of collaborators have employed ideas from string theory and quantum physics to solve topical questions at the interface of mathematics and computer science, pertaining to the complexity of algorithms related to fundamental aspects of symmetries themselves. Key initial results are the development of quantum mechanical systems where the quantum states are superpositions of combinatorial objects called ribbon graphs and the discovery of a duality relation, based on topological quantum field theories, between rows and columns of character tables of finite groups. This is ongoing research and the article provides an accessible account of the motivations, background and overview of the programme for a general audience with interest in science.

The full article is available Research Feature



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