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"Quantum computing has long seemed like one of those technologies that are 20 years away, and always will be."

I've just completed a PhD in this area, and I've never heard this sentiment before. It seems quite unlike fusion research, which is famously always 50 years (?) away. Quantum computing research is proceeding at a rapid pace, and actually it is perhaps only 20 years old in total. Although Feynman considered something akin to a quantum computer in the 80's, it really wasn't until the 90's that quantum error correction became a thing. So it really is a very young field of research. The "old-timers", they are all about 40 years old now, unlike other areas of physics where the oldies really are very old!




In my experience, this view is very prevalent, especially in physics departments. Once you hit the job market it is one of the questions you'll have to answer during interviews, so be prepared! I do agree that there is steady progress, which definitely has helped the field. Context: worked in quantum computing for 10+ years (and was a prof).


Wow, very surprised to see you here. Your code plays a prominent role in my thesis... Hi!


I've just completed my PhD as well. My research was all computational and consisted mainly of molecular dynamics simulations and machine learning. However, I did a lot of quantum chemistry work (QMC, DFT) as well and have taken QM classes — quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, density functional theory. Any other knowledge that would be relevant for quantum computing I've learned on my own (Nielsen and Chuang, etc.)

I'd really like to work for one of the quantum computing companies (Rigetti, etc.) or research groups (QuAIL), but I'm not really sure how to proceed in applying to these places given that my background isn't exactly quantum computing research. Since you have experience in this area, would you have any tips on how to apply to one of these groups? My current line of thought is to just apply directly via their websites, and if I don't hear anything back, begin contributing to the relevant Github quantum computing projects as proof of capability. Would you have any suggestions for a better approach?


Hi Xcelerate, Will Zeng from Rigetti Computing here. While you're right that it is a bit of a move, backgrounds in computational chemistry are very interesting to us as quantum simulation, especially electronic structure, is a big application area for near term QC.

If you or anyone else with similar background is looking to get into quantum computing, then send along your resume at will@rigetti.com


Sounds great! I'll do that.


Congrats on your PhD. Can you suggest any review articles for those of us who would like an overview of the current state of the art? Thanks!


I agree with your comment, but just a small nitpick: Peter Shor and Umesh Vazirani are probably much older than 40 :P


Yeah let me add to your list: John Preskill, Alex Kitaev, Reinhard Werner...

But these guys transferred sideways to (aka. invented parts of) quantum computing.


> It seems quite unlike fusion research, which is famously always 50 years (?) away.

Close. It's been 10 years away for 50 years. :)

(Although more like 65 now).




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