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Quantum scientist wins Euro computing prize

Plans to build bigger computer, do harder sums

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A quantum physicist has scooped a major prize for computing for his work on the edge of both disciplines.

The Royal Society said it had chosen to bestow the €250,000 Royal Society and Académie des Sciences Microsoft European Science award on Professor Giorgio Parisi, professor of quantum theories at the University of Rome La Sapienza, for his "outstanding contributions to elementary particle physics, quantum field theory and statistical mechanics".

The good professor uses computers to double-check his analytical proofs, the Royal Soc says, which along with his evangelising on the need to use computers to motivate further research, has been "of fundamental importance" in his field.

In particular, the science body said the prize was in recognition of his contribution to the theory of phase transitions and replica symmetry breaking for spin glasses.

Of the €250,000 purse, €7,500 goes to the winner, with the remainder going to support the winner's ongoing research.

Prof Parisi says he'll use the cash to develop a beast called IANUS. this is a "next-generation field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based machine", the Royal Soc explains in a statement. "It will allow the computation of Boolean variables that will be able to simulate complex systems."

And who are we mere mortals to argue with something like that? ®

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