Quantum chemistry Ph.D. student awarded prestigious fellowship

  • Jan 16, 2019
  • physics, quantum chemistry, doctoral student, research, Award
  • Homepage News, Faculty & Staff, Research, Students, Chemistry, College of Natural Science, Physics & Astronomy
Headshot of J. Emiliano Deutscha
J. Emiliano Deustua, a quantum chemistry Ph.D. student at MSU, was recently awarded a prestigious Phase-II Molecular Sciences Software Institute Software Fellowship. Photo courtesy MSU.

J. Emiliano Deustua, a Michigan State University Ph.D. student working in the Piecuch quantum chemistry and physics research group, was recently awarded the very competitive and prestigious Phase-II Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI) Software Fellowship by the institute’s Science and Software Advisory Board.

This Phase II award is an extension of MolSSI’s Phase I Fellowship, which Deustua received last summer and ran from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. The Phase II award, which began in January, will extend Deustua’s support by 18 months, through June 30, 2020. This is the first time one of these high-profile fellowships has been awarded to an MSU student.

“It is a great honor to receive such a prestigious fellowship,” Deustua said. “Being recognized for my work and having access to funding is a great privilege, especially for an international student such as myself. I am deeply thankful to the Molecular Sciences Software Institute for this great opportunity.”

The Phase II award is only awarded to Phase I Fellows, who show significant progress during the first phase and propose new ideas for the 18-month extension period.

Deustua’s advisor was equally—if not more—enthusiastic and proud.

“I am thrilled that Emiliano has been awarded a prestigious Phase-II MolSSI Software Fellowship and congratulate him on this wonderful recognition," said Piotr Piecuch, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and adjunct professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the MSU College of Natural Science. “The original Phase-I award was an outstanding achievement. The longer-term Phase-II extension confirms that Emiliano is among the very best doctoral students pursuing computational molecular science in the United States. I am delighted that Emiliano will be able to continue his already successful graduate work with the generous MolSSI’s support. He is making all of us very proud.”

Deustua’s research involves the optimization of current proof-of-concept programs that he developed during Phase I of the fellowship, in collaboration with Piecuch and Jun Shen, MSU senior research associate, based on the merger between Quantum Monte Carlo ideas, such as the Full Configuration Interaction Quantum Monte Carlo methodology, and deterministic coupled-cluster methods pioneered in the Piecuch quantum chemistry and physics research group. His goal is to write high-quality software that will allow the Piecuch group to routinely generate numerically exact or nearly exact molecular electronic energies at a small fraction of the computational cost of methods that aim at similar precision, while providing a software framework for future methods combining stochastic and deterministic quantum chemistry approaches.

“Emiliano’s research performance, especially in the area of combining the stochastic and deterministic methods of quantum chemistry to obtain the numerically exact or nearly exact solutions of the many-electron Schrödinger equation and developing the corresponding software, has been phenomenal,” Piecuch added.

“Professionally, the Phase II Fellowship will allow me to dedicate the entirety of my time to the development of new, open-source, quantum chemistry software that will enable further research,” Deustua said. “Quantum chemistry is an area of theoretical chemistry with great potential that has been receiving a lot of attention with the advent of exa-scale computing. Being able to contribute with my work to this emerging field is a great honor.”

 

Banner image: J. Emiliano Deustua’s receipt of a prestigious Phase-II Molecular Sciences Software Institute (MolSSI) Software Fellowship is the first time one of these high-profile fellowships has been awarded to an MSU student. Photo courtesy MSU.