The UW–Madison Physics Department and the Wisconsin Quantum Institute are pleased to welcome 18 students to the M.S. in Physics – Quantum Computing program. These students make up the third cohort to begin the program and are the largest entering class to date.
“We are really pleased and proud that the MSPQC program continues to grow and prosper in its third year,” says Bob Joynt, MSPQC Program Director, professor of physics, and WQI member. “We look forward to providing a great experience for the class of 2021. A particular focus this year will be the formation of collaborative teams that will push forward research in quantum computing.”
Of note, three women are in the entering class, marking the first time that women have enrolled in MSPQC. Other facts and figures about this year’s cohort include:
11 students are coming directly from completing their Bachelors
Three students have Master’s degrees
Six students have at least four years of professional experience, and four of those students have over 10 years professional experience
15 are international students, and seven of those students have attended U.S. institutions for previous studies
The students’ academic backgrounds include physics, astronomy, engineering, and business administration.
The department is following University guidelines and is planning for students to join us in Madison this fall, with in-person instruction. Over the summer, students can attend optional virtual orientation sessions to prepare for the program.
“The pandemic imposed restrictions on our admissions and recruitment activities which forced us to work virtually, but I believe these barriers made our programming more accessible and led to the most diverse and determined incoming cohort of MSPQC students to date,” says Jackson Kennedy, MSPQC coordinator. “Although I have been able to meet our incredibly talented students virtually, I cannot wait to greet them in-person this Fall as we celebrate a long-awaited return to campus.”
In addition to Joynt, the department thanks the other faculty who serve on the MSPQC admissions committee — Alex Levchenko, Robert McDermott, Maxim Vavilov and Deniz Yavuz — for application review. We also thank Michelle Holland and Jackson Kennedy for organizing recruiting efforts.
The MSPQC program welcomed its first students in Fall 2019 – the first-ever class of students in the U.S. to enroll in a quantum computing M.S. degree program. The accelerated program was born out of a recognized need to rapidly train students for the quantum computing workforce and is designed to be completed in 12 months. It provides students with a thorough grounding in the new discipline of quantum information and quantum computing.
MSPQC student Jacques Van Damme publishes first-author paper with WQI faculty
Congrats to Jacques Van Damme, a member of the first class of MSPQC students who graduated this past August, on his first-author publication! The study, published in Physical Review A, is titled, “Impacts of random filling on spin squeezing via Rydberg dressing in optical clocks.” Co-authors include WQI faculty members Mark Saffman, Maxim Vavilov, and senior author Shimon Kolkowitz. | Link to the PRA publication
Two WQI students named to QISE-NET’s Fall 2020 cohort
Two WQI graduate students, Chuanhong (Vincent) Liu (McDermott Group) and Cecilia Vollbrecht (Goldsmith Group), have had their projects awarded funding through QISE-NET, the Quantum Information Science and Engineering Network. Run through the University of Chicago, QISE-NET is open to any student pursuing an advanced degree in any field of quantum science. Liu, Vollbrecht, and other students in their cohort earn up to three years of support, including funding, mentoring and training at annual workshops. All awardees are paired with a mentoring QISE company or national lab, at which they will complete part of their projects. Liu and Vollbrecht explain their projects below.
Chuanhong (Vincent) Liu | McDermott Group | Mentoring partner: NIST
“The Single Flux Quantum (SFQ) digital logic family has been proposed as a scalable approach for the control of next-generation multiqubit arrays. With NIST’s strong track record in the field of SFQ digital logic and the expertise of McDermott’s lab in the superconducting qubit area, we expect to achieve high fidelity SFQ-based qubit control. The successful completion of this research program will represent a major step forward in the development of a scalable quantum-classical interface, a critical component of a fully error-corrected fault-tolerant quantum computer.”
Cecilia Vollbrecht | Goldsmith Group | Mentoring Partner: NIST
“The goal of my proposal is to develop a coupled cavity array that will allow us to simulate complex quantum phenomena. With the partnership between NIST and Prof. Goldsmith’s group I can combine the expertise of both groups to create an array where we characterize energy transfer and loss pathways, couplings, and coherence. The knowledge gained from these experiments will help to make a highly controlled cavity quantum electrodynamics platform.”
Two students earn 2020 QISE-NET awards
Two physics graduate students, Xiaoyu Jiang and Abigail Shearrow, have had their projects awarded funding through QISE-NET, the Quantum Information Science and Engineering Network. Run through the University of Chicago, QISE-NET is open to any student pursuing an advanced degree in any field of quantum science. Jiang, Shearrow, and other students in their cohort earn up to three years of support, including funding, mentoring and training at annual workshops. All awardees are paired with a mentoring QISE company or national lab, at which they will complete part of their projects. Jiang and Shearrow explain their projects below.
Xiaoyu Yang, Saffman Group | Mentoring partner: Argonne National Lab
“The research I proposed aims to, with the help of Argonne National Lab’s computational expertise, build a platform that models and simulates the performance of the atomic qubit array (AQuA) experiment in Prof. Saffman’s lab. This could help us to understand the effect of various technical problems, such as laser noise, in the experiment, and guide us in improving the gate fidelities. On the other hand, the platform could also be a useful tool in simulating and designing novel quantum gate protocols and quantum algorithms that can be performed on AQuA.”
Abigail Shearrow, McDermott Group | Mentoring Partner: Google
“We are developing a new type of superconducting qubit that provides protection from noise and decoherence at the hardware level. Our near-term goals are to prepare quantum superposition states and to transfer them into the protected regime where we will look for extended energy relaxation and dephasing times. We will next implement protected gates, which we will characterize by doing interleaved randomized benchmarking.”
First cohort of students dives into new quantum computing master’s degree
The inaugural MS in Physics–Quantum Computing is the first program of its kind in the U.S. It addresses an emerging workforce need by preparing students to enter this rapidly growing and highly complex field. Most of the students will complete their degrees August. We checked in with them after their first semester to see how their studies were going.
Interested in earning a Master’s in Quantum Computing? Visit go.wisc.edu/MSPQC for more info.