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Distinguished Professor Peter Drummond

Professor and Science Director, CQOS
PhD, Waikato University, New Zealand; A.M., Harvard University, United States; B. Sc (Hons), Auckland University, New Zealand


Professor Drummond was educated at Auckland and Waikato University in New Zealand, and at Harvard University in the USA. He has worked as an academic at Auckland and Queensland Universities, and as a researcher at Rochester University. He has been a visiting scientist at IBM Research Laboratories (USA), and NTT Basic Research Laboratories (Japan). He has also been a  visiting professor at Waikato University (NZ), Erlangen University, Heidelberg University, and Ecole Normale Superieure (France). He is currently University Distinguished Professor and Science Director of the Center for Quantum and Optical Science at Swinburne University of Technology, and Divisional Associate Editor for Physical Review Letters, the most cited journal in physics.

Over 245 research papers are published in refereed journals, with 14,900 Google scholar citations, and a Hirsch h-index of 62, as well as a co-authored and an edited research textbook. One public domain software package, XMDS, resulting from this work (maintained elsewhere) has had over 40,000 downloads, with a second, xSPDE, now publicly available on github. A central research theme is the dynamics of many-body quantum systems. This is a challenging frontier in theoretical physics, often thought to be computationally intractable.

Drummond developed the positive-P phase-space representation, leading to the first exact stochastic equations for bosonic (integer spin) quantum fields, as well as other techniques. The results have been experimentally verified in numerous experiments around the world, including a co-authored front cover paper in Nature. This work is now featured in several texts as the preferred technique for exact computer simulations in large quantum optical systems. This was applied to non-equilibrium phase-transitions, including the first three-dimensional quantum theory of superfluorescence, which led to the discovery of a new laser: the superfluorescent mode-locked laser, that has been experimentally demonstrated.

The first exact simulation methods for quantum fields were obtained using these techniques, which were tested in quantum soliton squeezing experiments at IBM, MIT and the Max-Planck Institute. Quantum phase-space methods were shown to be applicable to ultra-cold atomic physics, including both integer spin bosons and half-integer spin fermions. This has been applied to the important Bose-Hubbard model, to the first exact computational simulations for the formation of a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), to quantum collisions of unprecedented numbers of 150,000 atoms in a milllion modes, and to atom interferometer quantum noise, tested in an experiment having the world's longest coherence time for any BEC interferometer.

In fundamental tests of quantum physics, the first macroscopic, multi-particle Bell inequality was obtained, which was verified experimentally at Oxford. Work on quantitative tests for the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paradox led to the first experiments testing Einstein's original ideas, at Caltech, as well as the world’s first Bell inequality for continuous variables, and a new fundamental quantum uncertainty principle for spin, with direct applications to improved quantum interferometry and precision measurement. More recent work is on quantum simulations of entanglement and steering in optomechanics, and on simulating new types of quantum computers, including boson sampling quantum computers.

Research interests

Scientific Computing and Visualisation; Ultracold Quantum Gases; Ultrafast Laser Science and Spectroscopy; Quantum information; GPU and advanced HPC algorithms

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Coordinating Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Higher order stochastic differential equation simulation: A higher-order stochastic differential equation is one derived from a Fokker-Planck equation of third or higher order. These unconventional equations occur when modeling nonlinear quantum many-body systems. The thesis topic is to investigate the limits of these equations, through developing numerical algorithms and applying this method to interacting Bose-Einstein condensates.

Quantum entanglement in planar nano-mechanical systems: Nano-mechanics represents an exciting new opportunity in quantum physics, with macroscopic mechanical oscillators being cooled to the quantum ground state. We have carried out successful first principles simulations of nanomechanical entanglement. This project will extend these simulations to study a new system: an extended array of nano-mechanical oscillators coupled to a planar cavity.

Stochastic bridges: time reversible stochastic processes: The most challenging problem in quantum theory is the treatment of reversible, unitary evolution, in large interacting systems. The new methodology to be investigated here is the stochastic bridge: a stochastic process with defined end-points in the past and in the future. This allows time to be treated in a reversible way, thus creating a new conceptual approach to quantum dynamics.

Fields of Research

  • Degenerate Quantum Gases And Atom Optics - 020601


  • 2013, Swinburne, Vice-Chancellor's Research Excellence Award, Swinburne University of Technology
  • 2009, International, Visiting Professor, Heidelberg University
  • 2008, National, Boas medal , Australian Institute of Physics
  • 2007, International, Visiting Professor, Ecole Normale Superieure
  • 2007, National, Moyal medal , Macquarie University
  • 2004, National, Massey medal, Australian Institute of Physics
  • 2003, National, Academy Fellow, The Australian Academy of Science
  • 2002, International, Forschungspreis, Senior Research Award, German Humboldt Society
  • 2001, National, Fellow, The Australian Institute of Physics
  • 2000, International, Fellow, The American Physical Society
  • 1972, Other, Teaching Fellow, Harvard University
  • 1971, International, Fulbright Scholar, United States of America
  • 1971, International, Frank Knox Fellow, Harvard University
  • 1970, National, Postgraduate Scholar, New Zealand
  • 1970, Other, Physics Prize, Auckland University


Also published as: Drummond, Peter; Drummond, P. D.; Drummond, Peter D.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, contact us to update.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2018: Australian Quantum Gas Microscope *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme
  • 2015: Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships Program scholarship for Ria Rushin Joseph Akkara *; Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships Program
  • 2013: Quantum properties of high-spin ultra-cold matter *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2012: Visiting Researcher Scheme 2012 - Fialko *; Research Advisory Group- Visiting Researcher Scheme 2012

* Chief Investigator

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