MIT’s Interdisciplinary Quantum Information Science & Engineering (iQuiSE) program is supported by an Integrative Graduate Education Research and Training (IGERT) grant from the National Science Foundation. iQuiSE is a pioneering doctoral program that is focused on providing the first comprehensive education-to-employment pathway for students in quantum information science and engineering.


The Challenge

The foundations of modern information technology are rapidly changing as a tremendous influx of ideas from quantum physics has led to high performance quantum algorithms, emerging new capabilities for information transmission, and a nascent generation of quantum information processing devices. There is widespread understanding that these fundamental ideas will lead to useful new information technology, and provide computing, communication, and control systems beyond the limits of traditional paradigms, carrying with them profound social implications. Yet, despite increasing demand from industry and national laboratories for graduates prepared to take leadership roles in this emerging field, academia has, thus far, failed to establish educational programs that adequately prepare students for these opportunities. That education requires multidisciplinary preparation, encompassing quantum physics, computer science, mathematics, and engineering concepts, as well as the economic and social implications of new technologies. It is not provided by departmental graduate-degree programs, because such programs do not span this broad range of technical and non-technical material.

MIT’s iQuISE program has brought together faculty from the Physics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, and Nuclear Science and Engineering departments to fill this educational void. iQuiSE combines a unified interdisciplinary curriculum, which crosses traditional barriers between science and engineering, with cohort-development activities and internship opportunities. Its graduates will be deeply knowledgeable in quantum information and equipped with a practical and broad perspective that will allow them to realize the reliable, distributed, large-scale quantum computing systems which will usefully implement quantum algorithms and communication protocols.


The Program

iQuISE is a novel graduate education research and training program in quantum information science and engineering that sits astride the doctoral programs of the five MIT departments with iQuISE faculty: Physics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, and Nuclear Science and Engineering. Graduate students in any of those departments are eligible to become iQuISE Associates, the title used for all students in the iQuISE program, and participate in the full iQuISE program, which is comprised of:

  • Course Q, a cohesive and complete doctoral study initiative in quantum information that is easily integrated into doctoral programs from any of the five departments with iQuISE faculty
  • QIS@MIT, a teaching and seminar program for building a strong quantum information community
  • INQuIRE, an outreach program connecting our government and industrial partners and quantum information research, for students and the public

In Course Q, iQuISE Associates must take five subjects, from a collection of foundational core classes and research focus classes that fit naturally into departmental programs, and get hands-on experience with quantum phenomena like entanglement in the Quantum Information Science Laboratory.

The Fellowship of Quantum Information provides a quantum information community for iQuISE Associates through an IAP cohort development off-site, by means of a research ethics seminar specifically adapted to the needs of the iQuISE community, and via summer internships with one of the program’s industry, government, or academic partners.

QIS@MIT adds to the sense of community within iQuISE through a weekly seminar series featuring world-leading researchers in quantum information science and engineering, and through bi-weekly informal lunches for iQuISE Associates in MIT’s Quantum Information Science Common Room. It also includes teaching opportunities for iQuISE Associates, both as assistants in Course Q subjects, and in a summer course in the MIT Professional Institute.

The iQuISE program’s Industry Networked Quantum Information Resource Exchange (INQuIRE) serves as the focus of outreach activities. All Course Q curricula materials will be made freely available through MIT OpenCourseWare. QIS@MIT seminars will be recorded and webcast. Visitor exchanges with the industry, government, and academic members of the iQuISE Consortium will provide iQuISE Associates with a global perspective on the development of quantum information science.


Join iQuISE

IQuISE is a new program, which is just beginning its ramp-up phase in fall 2008. If you are a graduate student interested in quantum information science and engineering, the iQuISE faculty encourage you to contact any one of us for more information. If you are a prospective graduate student interested in quantum information who is applying for admission to any department with iQuISE faculty, we recommend that you state your interest in the iQuISE program on your application. If you are an undergraduate student who would like to know more about quantum information as a possible field for graduate study, we suggest that you apply for the week-long summer program Quantum Information Science for Undergraduates (QuISU).

“With the NSF’s generous support, which will combine with resources that MIT will devote as well as participation from a broad consortium of government and industry partners, we are going to tackle the educational and learning challenges in quantum information science with an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to training the new generation of QIS scientists and engineers.”

—Isaac Chuang, Director, iQuISE, and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Associate Professor of Physics