Research group name: Engineering Quantum Systems (EQuS)
Hometown, Country: Mountain Lakes NJ, USA
Academic history prior to coming to MIT: B.S. in Physics, B.S. and M.Eng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
What brought you to MIT?
When I was applying to graduate school, I knew that I wanted to work on experimental quantum computing, preferably with trapped ions or with superconducting qubits. There are many excellent research groups in these fields, but I was drawn to MIT because it has groups working in both areas, which approach quantum information processing from an engineering perspective.
What problem are you trying to solve with your current research and what are some possible applications?
Our research centers around trying to create scalable quantum information processing systems using superconducting circuits as quantum bits (qubits). Quantum systems are inherently susceptible to noise, because most systems that display quantum behavior have small energy scales. My work is focused on managing those errors: I am trying to reduce some kinds of noise by treating the surface of the qubit chip, and I am implementing some of the building blocks that we will need for quantum error correction algorithms. Reducing the effects of noise will be key for making quantum systems that are large enough to solve useful problems.
What interests you most about your research?
When I was an undergraduate taking classes in computer science, I was a little wistful about the ‘golden age’ of classical computer development around the 1960s to the 1980s. The process of developing the hardware. architectures and paradigms of classical computing was compelling for me, and I felt like I had joined the field after it had become pretty settled. At the same time, I loved quantum physics — I found it to be beautiful and satisfying.
Now I have the opportunity to build towards a golden age of quantum computing! There are many hard problems in this field, but I think there is also a great potential to impact the world positively. Besides, experimental physicists get to play with all of the best toys.
What are your future plans?
After I graduate with my Ph.D, I hope to continue working on engineering scalable quantum information processing systems. Currently, I envision myself working in industry or at a national laboratory. I think it would be very cool to continue my work at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, though it might also be nice to leave the Boston area for a few years.