Quantum Computing Phd: UNM vs LSU vs WashU

In summary, LSU has a reputation for being a good school for quantum optics and quantum information theory, while UMN has a reputation for doing some of the best work in QC. However, the lack of research in superconducting qubits may be a drawback for someone looking to go into industry.
  • #1
jaziyad
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Hello I am trying to choose a school and am interested in quantum computing theory in the physics department. I haven't decided whether or not I want to stay in academia so I would like the option to go into industry maybe at Google, IBM or a startup. Ideally I'd like the reputation/research to do postdocs at a top school. That being said I am interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics and would like to have some many body or condensed matter theory under my belt to understand the quantum to classical transition in physical systems and computing.

UNM has most of what I want at the Center for Quantum Information and Control but there is a noticeable lack of superconducting qubit research (would that matter for industry?) though they do study ion traps. I know Sergio Boixo from Google attended UNM and some graduates have gone on to IBM. Being from the SF Bay Area, Albuquerque seems somewhat isolated and inactive so I'm not sure if I could adjust to the culture there. That, and the fact that they gave me the least money are my main reservations.

LSU is mostly quantum optics and quantum information theory for quantum communication and photonic quantum computers (less startup opportunities?) but they also have complexity theory and are doing interesting collaborations with gravity theorist, and I could probably study condensed matter or many body on my own (is this viable?).

Lastly WashU in St Louis has a experimentalist doing quantum thermodynamics with superconducting qubits and I would be able to work as a theorist for the group but there is no quantum computing there. Would it be possible to get quantum computing experience in another way or is that a vain hope?'

I'd appreciate any advice you could give me.
 
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  • #2
UMN or LSU (I know Jonathan Dowling at LSU, he's one of the best in the country).
 
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  • #3
Dr Transport said:
UMN or LSU (I know Jonathan Dowling at LSU, he's one of the best in the country).
How much does an advisors reputation matter in getting opportunities? How resonable is it to study topics outside of your advisors expertise?
 
  • #4
jaziyad said:
How much does an advisors reputation matter in getting opportunities? How resonable is it to study topics outside of your advisors expertise?

It is much more important than the reputation of the university.
Are you interested in theory or experimental physics? The former you can do almost anywhere if you find the right supervisor; the latter requires a LOT of resources and equipment these days meaning you would need to do your PhD at a university where there is already a fair amount of activity in this area.
 
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  • #5
f95toli said:
It is much more important than the reputation of the university.
Are you interested in theory or experimental physics? The former you can do almost anywhere if you find the right supervisor; the latter requires a LOT of resources and equipment these days meaning you would need to do your PhD at a university where there is already a fair amount of activity in this area.
I'd like to do theory. But LSU seems to focus on optical quantum computing/ quantum communication which I am less interested in. Though, Id rather live in Louisiana than New Mexico.
 
  • #6
It is important to understand that QC is now a huge field and it is becoming increasingly specialised. Hence, "theory" can mean many different things: it can mean everything from fairly abstract algorithm/QC type work to optimising/programming actual hardware (which tends to be quite platform specific). The general trend is that the field is becoming more applied and engineering focused meaning the type of "foundational " theory people worked on 20 years ago is much less relevant than it was.
Hence, you need to think about what type of theory you are interested in.
Also, quantum comms/QKD has become quite distinct from QC; there is rarely much overlap these days
 
  • #7
jaziyad said:
I'd like to do theory. But LSU seems to focus on optical quantum computing/ quantum communication which I am less interested in. Though, Id rather live in Louisiana than New Mexico.

I'm an LSU Physics grad who has resided in Baton Rouge for many years. It is a great place to live, but as a Louisiana native, the heat and humidity impact me less than folks from other places. I recommend a good long visit before committing.
 
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  • #8
Although I like Prof Dowling, I can't stand the heat and humidity of neither Louisiana nor St Louis, so I'd go to New Mexico. OK, your saying, New Mexico is a desert, but I'll tell you, it is a different heat. when the humidity is low, it isn't too bad (I've spent time int the Kuwaiti desert and Middle East and I could run in the evening in 90+ deg heat).
 

What is quantum computing?

Quantum computing is a field of study that combines principles of quantum mechanics and computer science to develop new methods for solving complex problems that are beyond the capabilities of classical computers.

What are the benefits of pursuing a PhD in quantum computing?

A PhD in quantum computing can open up opportunities for research and development in cutting-edge technologies, such as quantum cryptography, quantum machine learning, and quantum simulation. It can also lead to careers in academia, industry, and government.

How do the quantum computing PhD programs at UNM, LSU, and WashU differ?

The quantum computing PhD programs at UNM, LSU, and WashU may have different focuses, research opportunities, and faculty expertise. It is important to research each program to determine which one aligns with your interests and goals.

What are the admission requirements for these PhD programs?

The admission requirements for these PhD programs may vary, but typically include a strong academic background in computer science, physics, or a related field, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and GRE scores. Some programs may also require prior research experience.

What career prospects are available for quantum computing PhD graduates?

Quantum computing PhD graduates may have opportunities for careers in academia, research labs, government agencies, and tech companies. They may also have the potential to start their own companies or work as consultants in the rapidly growing field of quantum computing.

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