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Obituary: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Thomas Neuhaus († 1 June 2015)

Photo Dr. Thomas Neuhaus

On June 1, 2015, Dr. Thomas Neuhaus unexpectedly passed away at the age of 58.

Dr. Thomas Neuhaus was not only a respected physicist but also a dedicated teacher for his students and colleagues. Many of them have learned from him how to efficiently use the Monte Carlo method. Thomas became well-known as one of the co-inventors of the multicanonical simulation method in 1991, a truly seminal work which has now more than 2500 citations.

Thomas Neuhaus began his studies in physics at the RWTH Aachen in 1975. Under the supervision of Prof. Jiri Jersák he wrote his master thesis on a spin-dependent generalization of the linear potential in between quarks. Also at the RWTH Aachen, Thomas later obtained his Ph.D. with honor “summa cum laude” in 1985. In his doctoral research he studied, with the help of supercomputers, phase transitions in quantum electrodynamics and in Higgs models on the lattice.

After obtaining his Ph.D. Thomas took up a two-year postdoctoral position at the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute in Tallahassee, USA before returning to Germany to obtain his university teaching degree (“Privatdozent”) from the University in Bielefeld in 1992. In the following years he worked at different institutions, including the Universities of Bielefeld, Wuppertal, Florida State and Helsinki, the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and the RWTH Aachen. In 2005 Thomas joined the John von Neumann Institute in Jülich to work on the simulation of biological systems in the research group “Computational Biology and Biophysics”, headed by Prof. Ulrich Hansmann. In 2009 Thomas became member of the research group “Quantum Information Processing” headed by Prof. Kristel Michielsen. Most recently he came up with some models to test the quantum character of adiabatic quantum computers. Thomas also performed preliminary simulations on the D-Wave TwoTM System, a commercially available adiabatic quantum computer from D-Wave Systems, Inc. His models are currently under study by the other group members who will continue with his work.

Thomas will also be remembered by many colleagues both inside and outside Jülich Supercomputing Centre as a professional thinker. Several times a day he made quite long walks with his hands behind his back and deeply sunk in thoughts. These walks were a boost for his outstanding scientific creativity.

The staff of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre, especially those in the Quantum Information Processing group and Computational Science division who were privileged to benefit from his insights first-hand, will all sorely miss him.