Mr I. Akhalwaya

Mr I. Akhalwaya

Current Studies:
PhD: Theoretical Physics (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal)

Short Bio:

Ismail was born on the 2nd February 1983 in Durban, South Africa. He has lived in many of the major South African cities and thus feels even more proudly South African. His schooling years were split between Johannesburg and Durban, followed by four years in Cape Town, while studying towards his BSc and BSc Hon (UCT). He enrolled for his Masters studies under Prof Petruccione in 2005 but spent most of that year collaborating from afar in Grahamstown. He was back in Durban for 2006 to complete his two year M.Sc. in Theoretical Physics. In 2007 he got a taste of living outside South Africa by spending the year at Cambridge University as a research visitor. Ismail is currently enrolled for a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics in the field of Quantum Computation & Information at the Center for Quantum Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Career Vision:

Ismail hopes to make substantial research and pedagogical contributions to South Africa’s Science & Technology and Higher Education arenas.


Ismail pursues his enjoyment of learning and deeper understanding and his desire to contribute to society, by engaging in fundamental physics research. He strives to turn theoretical research into practical solutions and thus directly contribute to society’s technological progress. Through his concern for South Africa’s Tertiary Education development and transformation, he expresses his passion for sharing knowledge by teaching and collaborating at university and reaches out to the general public including the underprivileged.

Awards and Prizes since 2004:

2008                NRF Grant Holder & UKZN Graduate Award

2007                Canon Collins Mamphela Rampele & UK Chevening

2007                M.Sc. cum laude

2005-2006      NRF Scarce Skills Masters & UKZN Graduate Award

2005                Postgraduate Research Day: 2nd Best Thesis Presentation

2004               NRF Scarce Skills Honours & UCT Honours Award

Publication with abstract:

“Qubits in a random environment”

I Akhalwaya et al 2007 Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and

Theoretical 40 8069-8080 doi:10.1088/1751-8113/40/28/S15


Decoherence phenomena in a small quantum system coupled to a complex

environment can be modelled with random matrices. We propose a simple

deterministic model in the limit of a high dimensional environment. The

model is investigated numerically and some analytically addressable questions

are singled out.

Title of Masters thesis:

“A Single Qubit in a Random Environment, from Random Matrices to Free Probability” (2005, 2006, 2007)

Talks and seminars within the group:

Seminar Series: Ismail Akhalwaya, Quantum Computing and the Turing Machine Part I. (F3-340, 2006-03-09)

Seminar Series: Ismail Akhalwaya, Quantum Computing and the Turing Machine Part II. (F3-340, 2006-03-16)

Talk: Ismail Akhalwaya, (Seminar Room, 2006-08-17)

A Single Qubit’s Environment: Starting with finite random matrices and ending with free probability.

Seminar: Ismail Akhalwaya, (Seminar Room, 2006-11-16)

A Single Qubit in a Random Environment: From Random Matrices to Free Probability.

Talk: Ismail Akhalwaya, (Seminar Room, 2007-10-30)

UK Visit Overview : and Depolarizing Channels

Talk: Ismail Akhalwaya, (Seminar Room, 2008-02-07)

Quantum Channels With Memory : Monte Carlo Simulation And Hidden Markov Processes

Conference contributions and attendance

2008    Accepted to present at upcoming QCMC; University of Calgary, Canada

2007    PAQ Conference; Royal Society, London, UK

2007    Open Quantum Systems Workshop/Conference; KUL, Belgium (Presented)

2006    Theoretical and Experimental Foundations of Recent Quantum Technologies; Protea Hotel Edward, Durban

2006    Quantum Information Workshop/Conference; Trieste, Italy

2006    SAIP; Cape Town (Presented)

Research and Workshop visits:

2008    Workshop on SA HPC; CHPC, Cape Town (Presented)

2008    One month Academic visit; K. University Leuven, Belgium

2007    Royal Society Workshop between Imperial College (UK) & CQT (UKZN); Protea Hotel Edward, Durban (Presented)

2006    One month Academic visit; K. University Leuven, Belgium

2006    Quantum Information Summer School; Trieste, Italy

2005    16th Chris Engelbrecht Summer School; Drakensberg, SA

Previous Education:
Undergradute Studies:
B.Sc. : Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science (University of Cape Town)
Postgraduate Studies:
B.Sc. Honours: Mathematics of Computer Science with Physics (University of Cape Town)
M.Sc. : Theoretical Physics (Cum Laude, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal)

Research Interests:

* Channel Capacity
* Decoherence
* Random Matrix Theory
* Monte-Carlo Simulations

Contact Information:
Room H3-23, H Block
School of Physics
Westville Campus
University of KwaZulu-Natal

Tel       : +2731 260 1578
Fax      : +2731 260 7795
E-Mail  : akhalwaya AT