Barbara Terhal

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Barbara M. Terhal
Nationality The Netherlands, Dutch
Alma materUniversity of Amsterdam
Known forCoining the term "entanglement witness"
Quantum computing
Spouse(s)David DiVincenzo[citation needed]
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics (theoretical)
InstitutionsRWTH Aachen University Forschungszentrum Jülich
University of Amsterdam
Delft University of Technology
California Institute of Technology

Barbara M. Terhal (born 1969) is a theoretical physicist working in quantum information and quantum computing. She is a researcher at the Forschungszentrum Jülich (Jülich Research Center),[2] a Professor in the EEMCS Department at TU Delft, as well as the Research Lead for the Terhal Group at QUTech.[3] Her research concerns many areas in quantum information theory, including entanglement detection, quantum error correction, fault-tolerant quantum computing and quantum memories.

Education and early life[edit]

Barbara Terhal was born in Leiden, 1969.[4] Already in her early school days, she enjoyed mathematics, physics and solving puzzles.[5]

Terhal completed her PhD Cum Laude on "Quantum Algorithms and Quantum Entanglement"[6] at the University of Amsterdam in 1999, making her the first person to receive a PhD in quantum computing in the Netherlands.[3] As part of her thesis, she coined the term entanglement witness[6][7] and proposed their use as alternatives to Bell tests for entanglement detection.

Career and research[edit]

After her PhD, Terhal joined the IBM Watson Research Centre in Yorktown Heights, New York[8] and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as a postdoctoral researcher. Between 2001 and 2010, she worked at IBM on a number of topics, including low-depth quantum circuits or stoquastic Hamiltonians, perturbative gadgets for quantum simulation and quantum complexity theory. She also developed quantum protocols for remote state preparation, quantum locking and quantum data hiding.[3]

In 2010, Terhal became a professor in theoretical physics at RWTH Aachen University. In addition, she holds another position at the Forschungszentrum Jülich since 2015.

Since 2007, Terhal has been a fellow of the American Physical Society and has held the post of Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada since 2014.[9] She is also a professor at QuTech in Delft since 2017.[8]

Terhal's current research focuses on quantum error correction and its realisation in solid-state qubits.[5] She is also interested in quantum complexity theory and how it can be used to demonstrate the power of a quantum computer.[5]


Barbara Terhal has received the following awards:

  • Awarded the Outstanding Innovation Award by IBM Research in 2007[10]
  • Elected a Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Canada in 2014[10]
  • Selected as Outstanding Referee by the American Physical Society in 2015[11]
  • Elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2020.[12]


Her publications include:

  • B.M. Terhal, “Bell Inequalities and The Separability Criterion”, Physics Letters A 271, 319 (2000)[13]
  • B.M. Terhal and D.P. DiVincenzo, “Adaptive quantum computation, constant depth quantum circuits, and Arthur Merlin games”, Quant. Inf. and Comp. 4:2, pp. 134–145 (2004)[14]
  • B.M. Terhal, “Quantum Error Correction for Quantum Memories”, Rev. Mod. Phys. 87, 307 (2015)[15]

She has also written an essay on the fragility of quantum information.[16]


  1. ^ "Barbara-M-Terhal". RWTH Aachen Research Group. Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Forschungszentrum Jülich - Staff - Barbara Terhal". Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  3. ^ a b c "Terhal Group - QuTech". QuTech. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  4. ^ "Barbara Terhal". QuTech. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  5. ^ a b c "Six Questions with: Professor Barbara Terhal". Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b Terhal, Barbara M. (2000). "Bell inequalities and the separability criterion". Physics Letters A. 271 (5–6): 319–326. arXiv:quant-ph/9911057. Bibcode:2000PhLA..271..319T. doi:10.1016/S0375-9601(00)00401-1.
  7. ^ "Physicists Find a Way to See the 'Grin' of Quantum Gravity | Quanta Magazine". Quanta Magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  8. ^ a b "Barbara M. Terhal - RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY Institute for Quantum Information - English". Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  9. ^ "Barbara Terhal". Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  10. ^ a b "Awards - RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY Institute for Quantum Information - English". Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  11. ^ "Physical Review Journals - Outstanding Referees". Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  12. ^ "Barbara Terhal". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020.
  13. ^ Terhal, Barbara M. (2000-07-10). "Bell inequalities and the separability criterion". Physics Letters A. 271 (5–6): 319–326. arXiv:quant-ph/9911057. Bibcode:2000PhLA..271..319T. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/S0375-9601(00)00401-1. ISSN 0375-9601.
  14. ^ Terhal, Barbara M.; DiVincenzo, David P. (2002-05-21). "Adaptive Quantum Computation, Constant Depth Quantum Circuits and Arthur-Merlin Games". arXiv:quant-ph/0205133. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Terhal, Barbara M. (2015-04-07). "Quantum error correction for quantum memories". Reviews of Modern Physics. 87 (2): 307–346. arXiv:1302.3428. Bibcode:2015RvMP...87..307T. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.87.307.
  16. ^ Terhal, Barbara M. (2013-05-17). "The Fragility of Quantum Information?". arXiv:1305.4004 [quant-ph].

External links[edit]