Alumni profiles

Developing quantum leaders

Our graduates and postdoctoral fellows are regarded as role models, visionaries and leaders of the quantum industry by their peers. Our graduates leave campus and become global citizens who impact academic, industry and government sectors. They inspire future quantum innovators with their passion, purpose and intellect. IQC alumni spur quantum advancements in a broad range of fields including banking, communications, space exploration and technology. See what some IQC alumni are doing now and let us know what you are up to!

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Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2007
Current employer and position University of Texas at Austin, Professor. Thought leader.
Alum profile

Scott Aaronson

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at IQC in 2007, Scott Aaronson accepted the position of Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He moved to the University of Texas at Austin as David J. Bruton Jr. Centennial Professor of Computer Science and as the founding director of UT Austin's new quantum computing center. 

His research interests include the capabilities and limits of quantum computers and computational complexity theory. His recently published book Quantum Computing since Democritus provides insight and perspectives into “the deepest ideas of math, computer science and physics.” Aaronson is also known for his blog Shtetl-Optimized about quantum computing and quantum information science. Aaronson credits his time at IQC for “bringing him out of his shell” and also where he learned to drive.


Degree and year Master's 2014
Current employer and position Research Staff Member at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
Alum profile

Srinivasan Arunachalam headshot

Srinivasan Arunachalam finished his master’s degree in Combinatorics & Optimization (Quantum Information) at IQC in 2014. He then moved to the Centrum Wiskune & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam for his PhD and finished a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT. 

For Arunachalam, IQC was the top choice for studying quantum computing because of the unique graduate program offering. Prior to starting his master's degree, he had the opportunity to work with faculty member Michele Mosca. He credits the research experience along with the in-depth lectures on quantum computing for playing an important role in motivating his current research.

Now working as a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, Arunachalam focuses on quantum algorithms and learning theory. He continues to collaborate with IQC researchers.


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2014-15
Current employer and position Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of South Florida & Director of the USF Center for Cryptographic Research
Alum profile

Jean-Francois Biasse

Jean-Francois Biasse is a professor of mathematics and director of the Center for Cryptographic Research at the University of South Florida where his current research focuses on the upcoming transition to new public key cryptographic primitives.

Biasse chose a postdoctoral fellowship at IQC because he wanted to work with cryptography experts that were specializing in PQC (post-quantum cryptography). Working with Michele Mosca, Biasse was able to make significant contributions to the design of quantum algorithms shortly after starting at IQC.

“IQC really had a defining role in my journey as an academic because it helped me acquire new quantum computing skills that are essential to my research agenda,” said Biasse. He's used the skills he gained while at IQC  to develop quantum algorithms for the design and analysis of cryptosystems that resist attacks from quantum adversaries.

Biasse continues to work with IQC researchers with a focus on cryptography.


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2013
Current employer and position University of Ottawa, Associate professor and University chair
Alum profile

Anne Broadbent

Technological advances will see the need for a deeper theoretical understanding of quantum information at all levels, predicts Anne Broadbent, Assistant Professor and University Research Chair in Quantum Information Processing at the University of Ottawa. Broadbent was a postdoctoral fellow at IQC until 2013. She held an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship and was also a CIFAR Global Scholar. Her research focused on quantum cryptography and developing methods for delegating private quantum computations and quantum one-time programs.

Broadbent acknowledges the value of exposure to a broad range of research topics and experience in training students during her time at IQC. Now leading her own research group at the University of Ottawa, Broadbent continues to push the limits of our understanding of how quantum information provides advantages in all aspects of cryptography. She has also further developed techniques for outsourcing quantum computations in terms of quantum homomorphic encryption, as well as verifying remote quantum computations.


Degree and year Master's 2010
Current employer and position

Technical Support, Maplesoft

Jeremy Chamilliard headshot

Jeremy Chamilliard joined the IQC community as a communications co-op student and went on to complete his fourth-year undergraduate research project and a master’s degree in physics under Dr. Raymond Laflamme, before working as a lab technician with Dr. David Cory. He has since transitioned to industry and now supports the global customer base at Maplesoft, an early startup from the University of Waterloo. In his current role, Chamilliard helps spread math to students, teachers and professionals around the world.

Chamilliard’s time at IQC was spent designing, constructing and troubleshooting an electron spin resonance spectrometer. He describes the work as very experimental and hands-on, continually pushing the limits of possibility in creating quantum devices. The problem-solving skills and experience he gained at IQC has been highly beneficial to his career path, as he now troubleshoots Maplesoft’s computer algebra system.

I hope to influence Maplesoft to be as smart and efficient as they can be, and to reach even more users.”


Degree and year Master's 2002, PhD 2007
Current employer and position Google, Technical lead manager
Alum profile

Donny Cheung

Donny Cheung was one of the very first graduate students at IQC. “It’s been amazing to watch IQC grow,” recalled Cheung. He remembers the excitement surrounding the official launch of IQC in 2002 and moving into the first IQC graduate student office space in the Math and Computer building at the University of Waterloo.

Under the supervision of researcher Michele Mosca, Cheung’s research focused on approximate phase estimation algorithms, the quantum separability problem and quantum cellular automata. Cheung found the free and open flow of discussion on challenging problems and interesting ideas among researchers rewarding. The interdisciplinary research environment at IQC encouraged him to think broadly while considering connections between different scientific fields at the smallest scale. Cheung takes a similar research-based approach to challenges in his current role as a software engineer at Google where he is working on the Google Cloud Platform.


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2014
Current employer and position French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Research engineer
Alum profile

Audrey Dot

During her time as a Postdoctoral Fellow at IQC, Audrey Dot was using four-wave mixing in optical fibre to convert a single photon into a pair of photons. Dot, along with her supervisor Thomas Jennewein, PhD student Evan Meyer-Scott and colleagues at McGill University, Montreal, sent a single photon through the optical fibre with a strong pump beam to produce a pair of photons with increased efficiency compared to previous methods. Dot then brought her knowledge and research skills to the smart thermostat company Qivivo, where she worked on machine learning algorithms as a Physicist Engineer.

Now she is at the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in France, an industrial research centre. She is working on 3D time-resolved diffused optical tomographic reconstruction for medical applications, a process used to model organs like the heart in order to find problems such as tumours and occlusions quickly and without intrusion.


Degree and year BASc 2005, MSc 2007, PhD 2012, Postdoctoral Fellow 2012 - 2013
Current employer and position

CEO & Co-Founder, KETS Quantum Security Ltd

Chris Erven headshot

Dr. Chris Erven was inspired by IQC’s Dr. Michele Mosca during his undergraduate degree in engineering at Waterloo, seeing quantum information and cryptography as an opportunity to combine the intricacies of quantum physics with the hands-on practicality of engineering. Erven then earned both his masters and doctoral level degrees at IQC under Dr. Gregor Weihs and Dr. Raymond Laflamme. His work on quantum key distribution (QKD) systems included developing a working real-time system between rooftops on the UW campus (CEIT, BFG, RAC) and the Perimeter Institute, and from the RAC building to fields surrounding it. In one memorable investigation, Erven describes placing half of his experimental set up in Dr. Raymond Laflamme’s office, IQC’s Executive Director at the time — a testament to IQC’s collaborative and tight-knit culture.

After leaving IQC, Erven recognized a gap between academia and industry and co-founded the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre (QTEC), a quantum startup incubator, at the University of Bristol while working their first as a Postdoc and then Lecturer. In parallel, he also founded KETS Quantum Security with 3 co-founders to commercialise their pioneering work in chip-based quantum cryptography. As CEO, he sets the strategic direction of KETS and spends his days talking with investors, customers, and managing the team. “I hope that my work has an impact on commercializing quantum-safe security,” says Erven. “In today’s world, we don’t go 30 seconds without touching digital technology of some kind, all of which is networked, none of which is quantum-safe. KETS aims to change that.”

Erven credits UWaterloo and IQC with his entrepreneurial inspiration, having “caught the bug for startups” during his coop terms as an undergraduate, and as a student in the early days of IQC. He saw IQC as an “academic version of a startup”, encouraging an open mindset to start new projects without being afraid to fail. Also, being so close to RIM and hearing multiple talks from its founder Mike Lazaridis, who also gave IQC its start, was a huge inspiration.


Degree and year PhD 2013
Current employer and position

German Aerospace Center, Research Scientist

Alum profile

Agnes Ferenczi

When faced with a challenge, Agnes Ferenczi sees an opportunity for discovery. Currently, Ferenczi is working with the German Aerospace Center as a Research Scientist, working in the field of Quantum Communication Systems (satellite quantum key distribution (QKD)). Previously, she investigated a variety of areas including machine learning, software development, user experience and search algorithm implementations at Cliqz, a search engine and browser company focused on privacy. She's used the research tools and skills she developed during her PhD research on quantum cryptography with IQC researcher Norbert Lütkenhaus.

With an emphasis on security proofs for quantum cryptography systems, Ferenczi adapted quantum theories to match current experimental capabilities, bridging the gap between theory and experimental reality. Her PhD research included a revision to the phase encoded BB84 protocol where quantum information is transmitted using photon polarization. In this scenario, one party sends out two laser pulses. One laser pulse stays the same and the other weakens, a result that was not initially accounted for in the theoretical proof. “We adapt the proof to allow for imperfections in the experimental environment,” said Ferenczi. Simplifying the proof for experimental implementation often improves accessibility for experimentalists.


Degree and year Master’s 2008, PhD 2012
Current employer and position

Associate Professor, University of Technology Sydney and Centre for Quantum Software and Information


Chris Ferrie headshot

Dr. Chris Ferrie began his quantum journey at IQC as a graduate student with Professor Joseph Emerson. During this time, he published his first academic paper and learned the research skills he continues to use in his day-to-day work. He remembers growing his network of friends and colleagues within quantum in a collaborative atmosphere full of the world’s experts; something he considers equally as important as the technical skills he developed.

Ferrie is now a professor at the University of Technology, Sydney, where he researches applications in characterizing, controlling, and improving quantum technology through the design of automated and intelligent learning protocols. He also has a passion for communicating science and has written sixty books for children and adults, including Quantum Physics for Babies. “I started writing children’s books for my own children because I could not find any books about science for young kids. I write about complex topics because it’s fun and interesting, but also because I believe anyone can understand them when phrased in an engaging and welcoming way.”

Looking forward, Ferrie hopes his research will lead to enabling scalable methodologies to access critical information needed for building practical quantum technology.


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2011
Current employer and position IBM, Fellow and Vice-president quantum computing
Alum profile

Jay Gambetta

Jay Gambetta completed his postdoctoral fellowship at IQC in 2011 with a research focus on quantum information processing with superconducting qubits. Since leaving IQC, he continues to investigate this area as a Research Staff Member at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Gambetta’s work with superconducting qubits is promising for the future of quantum computation and the development of a quantum computer. He spends his free time outdoors hiking and cycling with his family.


Degree and year Master's 2006, PhD 2009, Postdoctoral Fellow 2016
Current employer and position

ConsenSys, Cryptographer

Alum profile

Gus Gutoski

Gus Gutoski is using the skills he gained at IQC to develop quantum-safe security for conventional computing systems at ISARA, a Waterloo-based company founded in 2015. While earning his Master’s and PhD degrees at IQC, Gutoski studied quantum computational complexity theory and the mathematical foundations of quantum information. Then, during his time as a postdoctoral fellow, he gradually shifted focus to quantum cryptography.

“At IQC, I acquired a level of academic maturity that made it easy to identify and transfer the relevant skills and knowledge I already possessed and to identify and acquire the new skills and knowledge necessary for quantum-resistant cryptography,” he said. This foundation eased his transition to ISARA where he evaluates and improves cryptographic algorithms. He is excited to investigate his ideas about improving lattice-based signature schemes in the near future. In the long-term, he expects that the past two decades of rapid progress in the mathematic and computational aspects of quantum information science will continue.

When he’s not working on cryptography, Gutoski can be found camping in the woods or playing ultimate Frisbee. 


Degree and year Master's 2011, PhD 2014
Current employer and position Senior Researcher at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), QuSoft group
Alum profile

Stacey Jeffery headshot

Stacey Jeffery has published research on quantum homomorphic encryption, solved a fifteen-year-old open problem about quantum walk algorithms and founded a network for women in quantum computing in the Netherlands.

Her path to quantum research began at IQC. “I took an undergraduate course on quantum computing while studying computer science at the University of Waterloo, which led me to become an undergraduate research assistant at IQC with Michele Mosca,” Jeffrey said. “I guess I liked it so much I didn't leave until I had finished a PhD.”

Jeffery’s deep interest in quantum computing led her from Waterloo to Pasadena (Caltech) to her current work as a Senior Researcher at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam where she continues to do theoretical research in quantum algorithms with an eye toward making tools that make it easier to design future quantum algorithms.

Jeffery acknowledges that the community at IQC played an important role in her success. “[IQC] had a fantastic community of other students from whom I learned a great deal,” she said. “There were always people visiting from other institutes, and often workshops or conferences being hosted at IQC. This, as well as a travel allowance to go to conferences and visit other groups, helped me to grow a strong network by the time I finished my PhD, which has been crucial to my career.”


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2011-16
Current employer and position Professor, Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University
Alum profile

Zhenfeng Ji

Zhengfeng Ji has made significant contributions to quantum complexity theory over the last decade. Now a professor at the Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Ji’s interest in this field started during his time as a postdoctoral fellow at IQC. Influenced by mentors Richard Cleve and John Watrous, Ji began working on nonlocal games, now an important topic in quantum complexity theory.

The focus of Ji’s contributions has been on multi-prover interactive proofs (MIP*). Together with his collaborators, Ji has given a complete characterization of the complexity of MIP*, showing that it is as hard as the Halting problem. “The result is a surprise in quantum complexity theory and has deep connections to computer science, mathematics and physics,” said Ji.

Ji credits his postdoctoral fellowship at IQC as a critical period in his career. It helped develop his taste and persistence for research, which has contributed to his ongoing professional success. Now as a professor at Tsinghua, he remains connected to IQC as an IQC affiliate and a research collaborator. Ji recently collaborated with both Debbie Leung and John Watrous, IQC faculty members, on separate papers.


Degree and year PhD 2007
Current employer and position Program Director, Applied Quantum Computing Challenge Program, National Research Council
Alum profile

Phil Kaye

Phil Kaye embodies the interdisciplinary nature of quantum research. Before earning his doctorate in Computer Science at IQC in 2007, Kaye completed his undergraduate degree in Systems Design Engineering, followed by a Master’s in Mathematics. He credits his education at IQC for giving him the scientific background and strong professional network to be able to bring an expert perspective to his career.  

Through Kaye’s career he has helped shape the policies that have allowed IQC and Canadian universities to remain at the forefront of quantum information processing. Kaye published a textbook with Raymond Laflamme and Michele Mosca, contributed to the founding of the Quantum Industry Canada consortium, and played an instrumental role in developing the National Quantum Strategy for Canada.

In his current role with the National Research Council Kaye leads the Applied Quantum Computing Challenge program. It’s the first Challenge program dedicated to applied quantum computing. The program supports applied quantum applications and software with grants and funding contributions.

 “The impact of my work is in supporting the ecosystem through program development, stakeholder engagement, and supporting a range of Government of Canada quantum initiatives,” said Kaye. “My years at IQC also allowed me to build a strong network of professional relationships with leaders in Canada’s quantum community, and these connections are very important to my current work.”


Degree and year MMath 2010, PhD 2014
Current employer and position

Research Scientist, Google Quantum AI

Robin Kothari headshot

Robin Kothari is currently a Research Scientist at Google Quantum AI, and previously worked at Microsoft Quantum. He is excited about finding and understanding both the power and limitations of quantum computing, so that we can identify use cases for solving interesting problems. His research interests span the quantum intersection of computer algorithms and complexity theory, which led him to IQC for both masters and doctoral level degrees since IQC had expert professors in both areas who he could learn from.

Kothari remembers IQC as a place filled with quantum experts, and everyone who studied quantum science has passed through IQC at one time or another. “One of the unique things about IQC that I really enjoyed was that as a student, I had access to all of these experts coming through the Institute.” He credits his time at IQC as setting him up for success in the field of quantum computing.


Degree and year PhD 2008
Current employer and position

Managing partner, Quantacet
Director of the quantum strategy, ACET

Martin Laforest headshot

Dr. Martin Laforest first came to IQC as a graduate student in 2003, inspired by the new application of quantum mechanics in computation. During his degree, opportunities to help with VIP tours and workshops at IQC led him to recognize his passion for explaining quantum and scientific outreach. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship, Laforest returned to IQC to develop and lead the newly formed scientific outreach program.

IQC really gave me the means and ambition to realize out of the ordinary projects. I am extremely proud of IQC's flagship educational programs, QSYS, USEQIP and Quantum for Educators (formerly Schrodinger's Class), which are known around the globe and became the gold standards of quantum education.”

Now, in his current endeavours, as the managing partner of the quantum-focused investment fund Quantacet and the Director of Quantum Strategy for ACET, a deep-tech incubator based in Sherbrooke, Québec, Laforest helps young companies bringing quantum technologies in the marketplace. Additionally, Martin is also involved in the deployment of Kirq, a quantum communication testbed across Québec. Despite the variety of different roles he has taken on, Laforest describes the constant in his career path as helping quantum technologies have a positive impact on the world throughout his roles; first through research, then in scientific outreach, and now by helping grow the quantum industry and startups.


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2012 - 2017
Current employer and position

Associate Professor, Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech)

Dawei Lu at a soccer stadium wearing an IQC t-shirt

As a postdoctoral fellow working with IQC’s Dr. Raymond Laflamme, Dr. Dawai Lu recalls being challenged to triple the capacity of qubits controlled by the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) setup he was working with. After overcoming considerable challenges with the help of Laflamme’s leadership, the pair set a world record of controlling 12 spin-based qubits in 2012.

“It was both aspirational and intuitive to join IQC and have the privilege of learning from Professor Laflamme. IQC is a unique space for young scholars, offering unparalleled opportunities for engagement in multifaceted collaborations.”

Lu is now a professor at Southern University of Science and Technology where he researches nuclear and electron spins in diverse systems with a goal of realizing universal quantum computers. He credits his time at IQC with shaping his core research objectives, as well as teaching him how to be a good mentor to his students.


Degree and year Master's 2012, PhD 2018
Current employer and position IBM Q, Microwave design engineer
Alum profile

Thomas McConkey

Under the supervision of IQC researcher Matteo Mariantoni, Thomas McConkey worked on the development of a scalable 3D wiring, which they named the quantum socket, to overcome one of the scalability problems of superconducting qubits.

Now a Microwave Design Engineer at IBM Q, McConkey says it is the “small nudges” throughout his academic career that have spurred his journey in quantum information science and technology research. He credits his own nudges—reading The Fabric of Reality by physicist David Deutsch, joining the IQC community, and connecting with IBM researchers at the APS March Meeting—for steering him towards an industry career path.


Degree and year PhD 2017
Current employer and position National Institute of Standards and Technology, Postdoctoral researcher
Alum profile

Cory Rae McCrae

While completing her PhD studies at IQC, Corey Rae McRae’s research was focused on the 3D packaging and integration of superconducting quantum circuits, and materials in superconducting quantum circuits. Her experimental work in the Digital Quantum Matter lab with researcher Matteo Mariantoni included the simulation, design and development of fabrication processes for superconducting microwave resonators and the design of a superconducting capping and bonding method that is compatible with superconducting quantum circuits.

Currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado, McRae is working with state-of-the-art fabrication techniques to build robust qubits as she continues research towards the realization of an extensible universal quantum computer.

McRae credits IQC for her career preparation in the quantum computing field. “When I started at IQC, I knew very little about quantum computing and quantum information,” she said. “IQC provided me with a well-rounded view of these areas and how they fit together, an integral step for a career in quantum information science.”


Degree and year Master's 2009, PhD 2013
Current employer and position University of Coppenhagen, Associate professor
Alum profile

Laura Mancinska

Prior to her move to Copenhagen in 2017, she held postdoctoral positions at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT), National University of Singapore and the School of Mathematics, University of Bristol.

Today, Laura is an Associate Professfor in the University of Coppenhagen's Faculty of Mathematical Sciences. There she continues to explore the field of quantum information and computing, which is an emergent area formed at the intersection of physics, mathematics, and computer science. Her main focus is the phenomenon of quantum entanglement and how it can be harnessed in operational and cryptographic applications. 


Degree and year Master’s 2009, PhD 2013 
Current employer and position University of Amsterdam, Assistant Professor and QuSoft, Researcher 
Headshot of Maris Ozols

Dr. Maris Ozols found himself as an IQC graduate student through what he describes as “a sequence of accidents”. After choosing computer science as an undergraduate because that’s what everyone else was studying and it aligned with his interests, he found a quantum computing professor who would take him on as a research intern. This professor also had connections with an IQC researcher, who took Ozols on as an intern the next summer. After coming to IQC during his undergrad, “the rest was history!” 

Ozols is now a professor at the University of Amsterdam, where his research combines optimization and representation theory with applications in quantum information. In his research, his focus is building mathematical and computational tools to share with other people. His goal is to discover something beautiful with his research and help others go further, creating new techniques and models which can enable solving large classes of problems. 

“My work at IQC laid the foundation for quantum algorithms and quantum information, both of which I am now working in,” said Ozols. “It was a great place to build an academic network and connections, and fostered a sense of community within quantum. Once you live in Waterloo long enough, you meet enough people, and that gives you the feeling that you’re at home.” 


Degree and year PhD 2012
Current employer and position

California State University, Department of Physics; Assistant Professor


Gina Passante

During her PhD studies at IQC, Gina Passante’s research focused on detecting and measuring quantum correlations in a class of quantum computers known as Deterministic Quantum Computation with One Quantum Bit (DQC1), a type of system with “mixed qubits” – Passante’s interest was in qubits that could not be entangled. She found that there are quantum correlations that go beyond what can be seen in the classical world in mixed state quantum computers.

Now working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, Passante is part of the Physics Education Group where she is contributing to improving the education of future physicists. Passante explores how students learn quantum mechanics. “With the emergence of quantum technologies, it is more important than ever to better educate physics majors in this area,” she says. She plans on continuing her research in this field and broadening her scope to include how a quantum mechanics curriculum might one day be incorporated into high school classrooms. As a creative outlet, Passante enjoys knitting and sewing, and is an active volleyball player.


Degree and year Master's 2017
Current employer and position

Satellite management and control software, Systems engineer

Alum profile

Helen Percival

Now a Systems Engineer at SED Systems, a satellite communications and management company, Helen Percival applies the skills she gained working on large projects at IQC with supervisor Christopher Wilson. Her Master’s research was focused on using experimental superconducting qubits for microwave control.

“During my time at IQC, I found my passion for engineering design,” Percival says. “It prepared me for working in an interdisciplinary field, tying different concepts together while keeping the big picture in mind.”


Degree and Year

Postdoctoral Fellow 2007 – 2009

Current Employer and Position

Amazon Web Services, Director of Quantum Computing

University College London, Professor of Physics of Information

Simone Severini

Dr. Simone Severini learned about the field of quantum computing in 1997 and became hooked. A year later, he visited the UK to talk with people working in quantum information, including then PhD student Michele Mosca, who soon became one of the founding members of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing. A decade later, Severini also joined IQC, as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Mosca, where he worked at the interplay of combinatorics and quantum physics.

Following his postdoctoral research at IQC, Severini held several academic positions before becoming a manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS). In his current position, Severini’s goal is to accelerate innovation in quantum technologies. He describes his role as one where he can hope to contribute positively to science with a deep impact, “without writing scientific papers.”

At AWS, Severini has worked to design and develop their quantum strategy. He contributed to the launch of Amazon Braket, a managed quantum computing service that gives researchers and developers access to different types of quantum hardware, as well as helped structure the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab that works with customers to research and identify the most promising future applications of quantum computing for them. Severini also co-founded both the AWS Center for Quantum Computing and the AWS Center for Quantum Networking, both of which work with academia to address different challenges for the future of quantum computing.

“IQC helped me to appreciate the importance of collaboration and teamwork for the first time in life,” said Severini. “When you are in a building and you can talk to computer scientists, quantum physicists, mathematicians, and many people with different backgrounds, something is ought to happen. You find common interests or complementary skills.”  


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2013
Current employer and position IBM, Research staff member

Sarah Sheldon

During her most recent return to IQC, former postdoctoral fellow Sarah Sheldon instructed a session on IBM’s Quantum Experience, a cloud-enabled quantum processor, with a room of Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP) participants. Sheldon is part of the experimental quantum computing team at IBM Research that is currently pursuing a quantum computing architecture based on superconducting qubits and error corrections through surface code. She is developing new calibration and characterization techniques to better understand the errors present in the quantum system.

“The research I did while at IQC was very relevant for my current position with IBM,” said Sheldon. She earned her PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Nuclear Science and Engineering with advisor David Cory. Sheldon studied nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron spin resonance (ESR), focusing mostly on dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) and quantum control. As a postdoctoral fellow at IQC, Sheldon was exposed to different approaches to quantum computing research that motivated her to select a research group that incorporated both theory and experiment, engineering as well as basic science. “Quantum computing is such an interdisciplinary field. I think it’s beneficial to be in a research community like IQC or IBM where there are many people with wide-ranging interests and backgrounds within the broader field.”


Degree and Year

PhD 2013, Postdoctoral Fellow 2013 - 2015

Current Employer and Position

Research Scientist, Chalmers University of Technology

Daryoush Shiri

As a PhD student and postdoctoral fellow at IQC, Dr. Daryoush Shiri was given the freedom to learn and explore, reinvigorating his passion for problem solving and research. He also had the opportunity to teach two graduate mini-courses. Combined, these experiences all led him to his chosen career path as a combination of research and teaching, and Shiri is now a research scientist at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. There, his research focuses on the design and simulation of microwave superconducting circuits for quantum computing applications, he supervises graduate students, guest lectures, and has also co-authored the soon-to-be-published book “Quantum Mechanics for Engineers and Material Scientists”.

“I try my best to transfer the lessons I learned from my great mentors at Waterloo, in both Electrical and Computer Engineering and IQC, to my students, but I always see myself as a curious student. Research surprises you, it’s like walking into an unknown territory. Keep your eyes open for moments when an idea or a solution comes to you from a totally unexpected resource.”

Shiri remembers IQC as an open and friendly environment, where he could ask questions and discuss science with anyone. He appreciated the interdisciplinary nature and culture of respect and diversity at IQC, which make IQC a unique role model for other research centres. “IQC staff were always available for help and support, like family members. I miss them all.”


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2012
Current employer and position Raman Research Institute, Associate Professor

Urbasi Sinha

Former IQC postdoctoral fellow Urbasi Sinah’s research focused mainly on quantum optics-based tools used to perform fundamental tests of quantum mechanics. During her time at IQC, Sinha developed a holistic approach towards her research that she finds useful in her current role as Associate Professor at the Raman Research Institute in India. “At IQC I learned how to accept success and failure with equal gusto and carry on enthusiastically with results both big and small,” says Sinha.

Currently, a major aspect of her research involves manufacturing and employing single photons and entangled photons produced by spontaneous parametric down conversion towards experiments in quantum information and computing. One of her experimental projects explores the use of multiple slits as possible qudits and investigating higher dimensional quantum correlations through studies of entanglement-based phenomena.

Sinha expects to see exceptional progress in quantum information science experiments, theories and simulations over the next 5 to 10 years, predicting advances in error correction by solid state qubit researchers as well as an increasing number of novel qubits used in quantum information processing which will cumulatively bring us a step closer to the quantum computer.

In the news: Asia’s Scientific Trailblazers - Urbasi Sinha


Degree and year Master's 2014
Current employer and position

Reflector Entertainment Ltd., Game Designer


William Stacey

William Stacey studied quantum cryptography with faculty member Norbert Lütkenhaus. His research focused on analyzing the security of a Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) protocol, using a trusted third party to extend the distance of performing secure quantum communication to a global scale.

Studying at IQC taught Stacey how to approach new problems that, coupled with strong math skills, he acknowledges is a powerful toolset useful for both academic and industry career paths. It’s opened the door for Stacey to pursue his passion as a video game designer working for companies like Behaviour Interactive, Hibernum Creations, Spinpunch Inc. and, most recently, Reflector Entertainment. His career highlight so far was realizing a childhood dream—working with Wizards of the Coast on a Magic: the Gathering game.


Degree and year PhD 2009
Current employer and position University of Waterloo, Faculty of Mathematics; Associate professor

Douglas Stebila

After completing his PhD in 2009 with a focus on cryptographic key exchange protocols, IQC alumnus Douglas Stebila ventured down under to Brisbane, Australia for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Queensland University of Technology. Stebila was a Senior Lecturer at QUT investigating provable security of real-world cryptographic protocols – specifically looking at the security properties of protocols used in web browsers and other online communications. As quantum computing evolves and impacts classical cryptography, Stebila hopes to contribute to the development of new standards for cryptographic protocols. When he’s not exploring future possibilities of security protocols, Stebila enjoys scuba diving in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

On July 1, 2018, Stebila joined the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Mathematics as an associate professor in the department of combinatorics and optimization.


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2013-16
Current employer and position Assistant professor, Department of Computer Science, Portland State University

Fang Song headshot

Fang Song has constructed novel quantum cryptographic primitives, including work in zero-knowledge proof systems and pseudorandom quantum states, and designed efficient quantum algorithms which offer guidance on the development of next-generation quantum-safe cryptosystems.

"IQC helped me form a broader view of the possible directions my research could entail,” said Song. The breadth of research in quantum information processing (QIP) and first-hand data from experimentalists helped to refine the theoretical foundations of Song’s work and kept him connected to real-world problems.

Song’s PhD at Penn State exposed him to high level research and led him to choose IQC for postdoctoral work where he found top researchers from diverse backgrounds worked together and collaborated in an organic way. Now, as a professor in the department of computer science at Portland State University, Song’s work investigates how quantum computing changes the landscape of cryptography and complexity theory in a rigorous way.


Degree and year Postdoctoral Fellow 2013
Current employer and position

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Senior Scientist


Nathan Wiebe

Nathan Wiebe, currently an Associate Researcher in the Quantum Architectures and Computation group at Microsoft Research, finished his postdoctoral fellowship at IQC in 2013. Since then he has continued his research on quantum simulation algorithms and the foundations of quantum thermodynamics, and ventured into quantum machine learning algorithms and quantum circuit synthesis. Wiebe credits his time at IQC for the opportunity to build connections with world-renowned researchers who exposed him to new ideas, an experience that has contributed to his chosen career path in industry research. The IQC Graduate Student Association invited Wiebe back to IQC in October to share his experience in industry research with current graduate students as part of the Quantum Industry Lecture Series. Looking ahead, Wiebe predicts the landscape and scope of quantum information research to continue changing as more industry partners invest in the field.