Quantum Innovators in computer science and math participants

Shima Bab Hadiashar, Institute for Quantum Computing Richard Jakob Kueng, California Institute of Technology
Juani Bermejo-Vega, Freie Universität Berlin Tamara Kohler, University College London
Benjamin Brown, The University of Sydney Srijita Kundu, National University of Singapore
Chris Cade, Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica Saeed Mehraban, California Institute of Technology
Ángela Capel Cuevas, Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas Geoff Penington, Stanford University
Patricia Contreras Tejada, Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas Daniel Stilck França, University of Copenhagen
Alexandru Gheorghiu, California Institute of Technology Yuan Su, University of Maryland
Marek Gluza, Freie Universität Berlin Tina Zhang, California Institute of Technology
Christoph Hirche, University of Copenhagen Sisi Zhou, Yale University

Shima Bab Hadiashar, Institute for Quantum Computing

I am a fourth-year PhD student at the Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, working under the supervision of Prof. Ashwin Nayak. I completed my bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran, and I obtained a master’s degree in Combinatorics & Optimization (quantum information) at the University of Waterloo. My research interests include Quantum information Theory and its applications in complexity theory specifically in Communication Complexity and Quantum Learning Theory. 

 Juani Bermejo-Vega, Freie Universität Berlin

I am a Spanish physicist and computer scientist working on quantum computation, simulation, foundations and complexity theory. My recent work has focused on quantum computational devices showing quantum advantages, and resource theories of quantum computational power. In the past, I have also worked on the classical simulation of quantum computing.

I am currently a Marie Curie - Athenea3i fellow at University of Granada, Spain. From 2016 to 2018, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. From 2010 to 2015, I worked on my master and PhD theses at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Munich, Germany.

I advocate for equity, diversity, and labor rights in quantum science and technology. I am cofounder and steering-board member of the quantum information workshop “Q-Turn: changing paradigms in quantum science”, which promotes diversity, inclusion, equal opportunity, working conditions and responsible research. I am cofounder and former member of the Max Planck Equal Opportunity group (2014-2018).

I graduated in physics (2010) and computer science (2011) from the University of Salamanca, Spain. As an undergraduate student, I received a first prize in the XX Young Investigator Contest (XX Certamen de Jóvenes Investigadores, 2008) for the work “Treatment of preterm infants: a natural approach” on design of non-invasive neonatal intensive care units.

I am a trans woman and my pronouns are "she/her".


Benjamin Brown, The University of Sydney

My research is focused on quantum error correction. Like modern information processing technology, the best models we have for realising a quantum computer rely on exotic properties of different phases of matter. Much of my work exploits the physics of different quantum phases of matter to find new ways of constructing a robust quantum computer that can be scaled to solve arbitrarily large problems. Over my career I have looked for ways of improving decoding algorithms for topological codes to increase the threshold error rate below which a scalable quantum computer can operate. Additionally, several of my recent results have explored how to perform fault-tolerant logical operations with different quantum error-correcting codes. I have also spent time working on the problem of finding a self-correcting quantum memory.

I currently work as a postdoctoral fellow in the quantum information theory group at the University of Sydney. Before moving to Sydney in 2017 I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Niels Bohr International Academy at the University of Copenhagen. I also held the Doctoral Prize Fellowship at Imperial College London to pursue my doctoral research further. I received my doctorate from Imperial College in 2014. 

Chris Cade, Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica

I am a postdoc at Centrum Wiskunde and Informatica, Amsterdam, working on quantum algorithms and complexity theory. Before this, I worked at Phasecraft Ltd. as a quantum software developer, focusing on applications of near-term quantum devices, and before that, I was a PhD student at the University of Bristol, supervised by Ashley Montanaro. My thesis focused on quantum algorithms and complexity in non-standard models of quantum computation, and included applied topics, such as space-efficient quantum algorithms for graph problems, and more theoretical ones, such as studying the effect of ‘post-selection’ in classical computing. I am interested in all aspects of quantum algorithms and complexity, and also classical complexity theory, and more recently in the potential applications of near-term quantum devices. Before moving to Bristol, I obtained an MEng in Computer Science from the University of York, and then spent a year as a research associate in the YCCSA group at York, working on virus bioinformatics.

Ángela Capel Cuevas, Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas

I was born in 1992 in Linares, Spain. In 2009, I started my Mathematics degree at UGR (Universidad de Granada), and I finished it in 2014. In 2010, I started a Physics degree at the same university, and I am currently finishing it at UNED. I had my first contact with research during the summer between the fourth and fifth year of my Mathematics degree, when I obtained a ‘JAE-Intro CP’ scholarship to study at ICMAT, for two months, some topics related to complex geometry, under the supervision of Luis Álvarez Cónsul. During the following year, I benefited from a ‘Beca de Colaboración’ to study some topics about general relativity under the supervision of Bert Janssen (UGR).

In 2014, I moved to Madrid to study the Master in Mathematics and Applications at UAM (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). In September of 2015, I presented my Master Thesis, ‘Norm- attaining operators’, which was written under the supervision of Miguel Martín (UGR) and José Pedro Moreno (UAM), and dealt with the problem of the density of the set of norm-attaining operators between two Banach spaces in the set of bounded linear operators between the same spaces.

I am a member of ICMAT since September, 2015, supported by a four-year fellowship from "la Caixa-Severo Ochoa international PhD program". I am currently working in my PhD under the supervision of David Pérez García. My general research line lies in the interactions between quantum information theory and quantum many-body physics. More specifically, my thesis focuses on characterizing the velocity of convergence of the dissipative evolution of an open quantum many-body system to its thermal state.

Patricia Contreras Tejada, Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas

I am a researcher at ICMAT – Institute of Mathematical Sciences, funded by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and working under the supervision of Carlos Palazuelos and Julio de Vicente. I am a member of the mathQI group at Complutense University in Madrid (UCM).

I finished the Master of Science in Mathematics and Physics (a Bachelor with integrated Master’s degree) at the University of Bristol with an urge to understand the foundations of quantum mechanics better, both mathematically and conceptually. I knew I had questions, but I didn’t know what those questions were exactly. The Master of Studies in Philosophy of Physics at Balliol College, University of Oxford filled that gap perfectly. At last I was able to put my questions into words.

I have now returned to Madrid to pursue a PhD in the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics, where I hope to partially answer some of those questions by studying the mathematical structure behind nonlocality and entanglement. I am currently working on ordering the set of multipartite entangled states, and characterising which multipartite states exhibit genuinely nonlocal correlations. I am also exploring how nonlocality gives rise to epistemic disagreement.

While the core of my PhD is mathematical, I am still an active part of the philosophy community and continue to present some of my work at philosophy of science conferences. In this line, I am interested in (in decreasing order of expertise) interpretations of quantum mechanics, emergence (or lack thereof) in fundamental interactions in physics, and the role of philosophy of language in scientific theories.

Website: patriciacontrerastejada.wordpress.com
Email: patrcont@ucm.es
Twitter: @_PatriciaCT

Alexandru Gheorghiu, California Institute of Technology

I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at Caltech. I obtained my PhD in computer science from the University of Edinburgh in 2018, under the supervision of Elham Kashefi. My work is primarily at the intersection of quantum cryptography and quantum complexity theory. I've mainly worked on protocols for quantum verification that involve a client (or verifier) delegating quantum computations to a quantum server (or prover) and being able to check the correctness of the results.

During my PhD I focused on the robustness of these protocols with respect to noisy quantum operations and varying trust assumptions. In my current work, I've been focusing more on developing efficient and modular instantions of such protocols using techniques from post-quantum cryptography. Recently, I've also branched out into other directions such as applications of complexity theory to physics, Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum (NISQ) computing and foundations of quantum mechanics.

Marek Gluza, Freie Universität Berlin

Having grown up in a scenic mountain region in southern Poland, close to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, I moved on to Cracow taking up physics studies at the AGH where I have finished my bachelor thesis on modelling heavy-ion collisions under the supervision of prof. P. Bozek. This was an intense study period which also included a one year Erasmus exchange in Heidelberg where I picked up additional knowledge on mathematics and experimental physics. During my masters in the group of prof. J. Eisert at FU Berlin I began my first research project concerning convergence to local equilibrium of closed quantum systems. While the task itself was challenging and it took considerable effort and team work to eventually crack the core question, I got drawn into the question: How to generalize our result? This brought me to study many-body physics with its bevy of various approximations from a mathematical physics perspective under the influence of the developments in quantum information theory. Proving an extension remains elusive but the quest for solving my pet-problem has continued into my PhD studies and brought me to publish on various interdisciplinary subjects such as computational complexity of tensor networks, matrix analysis applied to neutrino physics, many-body localization, holography or quasi-particle tomography in quantum simulators.

I love taking up different view points ranging from mathematical physics, quantum information or computational complexity theory all the way to pragmatic engineering and experimental perspectives, and being allowed to do that is my only condition to take up a project. I believe that our most important challenge on the way towards achieving fault-tolerant quantum computation is, ironically, the man made climate warming.

Christoph Hirche, University of Copenhagen

Christoph Hirche is a Postdoctoral researcher at QMATH, University of Copenhagen (Denmark), in the group of Matthias Christandl. His current research focuses on entropic quantities in quantum information theory. In particular, he works on properties and applications of quantum entropies related to communication, discrimination and machine learning. Christoph obtained his PhD from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), specializing in quantum information theory, with a thesis on quantum hypothesis testing and recoverability of quantum information. Prior to his PhD studies, Christoph obtained Bachelor and Master degrees in Physics from the University of Hannover (Germany) with a focus on capacity achieving quantum codes.

Richard Jakob Kueng, California Institute of Technology

Born and raised in Austria, Richard Kueng received a BS in Interdisciplinary Sciences (Chemistry) and a MS in Physics from ETH Zurich (CH). He has worked at the Universities of Cambridge (UK), Freiburg (DE), Sydney (AU), Berlin (Free University, DE) and Cologne (DE), where he received his Dr.-rer.nat (Ph.D) degree in December 2016. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at Caltech and pursues an interdisciplinary line of research that addresses topics in signal processing, information theory and quantum mechanics with an emphasis on convex optimization and high-dimensional probability theory. He has contributed to more than 30 scientific articles addressing a variety of different topics. These range from quantum algorithms to activity detection in wireless networks and the mathematics of voting.

Richard Kueng is also a dedicated teacher and mentor with more than 10 years of experience. Lecture notes accompanying his most recent course – Quantum and classical information processing with tensors – can be found on the IQIM classes page: https://iqim.caltech.edu/classes.

Tamara Kohler, University College London

Tamara Kohler is currently a PhD candidate working with Dr. Toby Cubitt at University College London. Her research interests are topics in quantum information theory, and their applications to holography, quantum technologies, and condensed matter physics. Her recent work includes a project constructing toy models of holographic duality between local Hamiltonians, which involved applying techniques from Hamiltonian complexity and Hamiltonian simulation theory to holographic quantum error correcting codes. She has also worked on constructing classical translationally invariant `universal Hamiltonians’ - Hamiltonians which can simulate all other classical physics.

Srijita Kundu, National University of Singapore

Srijita is a fourth-year PhD student at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore, where she is supervised by Prof. Rahul Jain. She is originally from India, where she did a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Physics and Computer Science at the Chennai Mathematical Institute. She is interested in classical and quantum query and communication complexity, and in particular information theoretic techniques for these problems.

Saeed Mehraban, California Institute of Technology

I am a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute for Quantum Information and Quantum Matter at the California Institute of Technology. My research interests include quantum computation, complexity theory and approximation algorithms. Prior to Caltech I was a PhD student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT advised by Aram Harrow and Scott Aaronson. I completed a B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and a B.Sc. degree in physics from Sharif university of technology, Tehran, Iran. I also enjoy art and making art.

Geoff Penington, Stanford University

Geoffrey Penington is a PhD student at Stanford University working in the fields of Quantum Information and Quantum Gravity. He has worked on Quantum Shannon Theory, Topological Quantum Error Correction, Quantum Chaos, Morse Theory, Holography and the Black Hole Information Problem.

Daniel Stilck França, University of Copenhagen

Daniel was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1991. He studied mathematics at the Technical University of Munich. There, he also did his PhD under the supervision of Michael Wolf. He is currently a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen in the group of Matthias Christandl. His main research interests are quantum information theory and quantum algorithms.

Yuan Su, University of Maryland

Yuan Su is a fifth-year PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, researching quantum computing under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Childs. He received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and his master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from Peking University. His research focuses mainly on the theoretical side of quantum simulation, with the purpose of understanding and optimizing the performance of quantum algorithms for simulating quantum physics. He is a recipient of the 2019 Google PhD Fellowship in quantum computing.

Tina Zhang, California Institute of Technology

Tina Zhang is an undergraduate at Caltech, majoring in physics and supervised by Prof. Thomas Vidick of the Computing and Mathematical Sciences department. Her research interests lie with quantum cryptography and related fields in theoretical computer science; she is particularly interested in zero-knowledge protocols and in the classical verification of quantum claims. She has been the recipient of the 2018 Richard G. Brewer and 2019 C. S. Shastry annual prizes which are awarded by the Caltech Department of Physics.

Sisi Zhou, Yale University

Sisi Zhou is a 4th-year PhD student in Physics at Yale University and is currently a visiting student at The University of Chicago. She is supervised by Prof. Liang Jiang and is working on quantum metrology and quantum error correction. She was born and raised in Nanjing, China. She graduated from Nanjing University with a B.Sc. in physics and joined the Physics Ph.D. program at Yale in 2016. During her undergraduate years, she worked on quantum measurements, quantum walks and Hamiltonian simulation.

Educational programs

QKD - Quantum Key Distribution Summer School

USEQIP - Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing

QCSYS - Quantum Cryptography School for Young Students

Quantum Innovators logo

Schrödinger's Class button