Annual recruitment post

Just like I did last year, and the year before, I’m putting up a post to let y’all know about opportunities in our growing Quantum Information Center at UT Austin.

I’m proud to report that we’re building something pretty good here. This fall Shyam Shankar joined our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) faculty to do experimental superconducting qubits, while (as I blogged in the summer) the quantum complexity theorist John Wright will join me on the CS faculty in Fall 2020. Meanwhile, Drew Potter, an expert on topological qubits, rejoined our physics faculty after a brief leave. Our weekly quantum information group meeting now regularly attracts around 30 participants—from the turnout, you wouldn’t know it’s not MIT or Caltech or Waterloo. My own group now has five postdocs and six PhD students—as well as some amazing undergrads striving to meet the bar set by Ewin Tang. Course offerings in quantum information currently include Brian La Cour’s Freshman Research Initiative, my own undergrad Intro to Quantum Information Science honors class, and graduate classes on quantum complexity theory, experimental realizations of QC, and topological matter (with more to come). We’ll also be starting an undergraduate Quantum Information Science concentration next fall.

So without further ado:

(1) If you’re interested in pursuing a PhD focused on quantum computing and information (and/or classical theoretical computer science) at UT Austin: please apply! If you want to work with me or John Wright on quantum algorithms and complexity, apply to CS (I can also supervise physics students in rare cases). Also apply to CS, of course, if you want to work with our other CS theory faculty: David Zuckerman, Dana Moshkovitz, Adam Klivans, Anna Gal, Eric Price, Brent Waters, Vijaya Ramachandran, or Greg Plaxton. If you want to work with Drew Potter on nonabelian anyons or suchlike, or with Allan MacDonald, Linda Reichl, Elaine Li, or others on many-body quantum theory, apply to physics. If you want to work with Shyam Shankar on superconducting qubits, apply to ECE. Note that the deadline for CS and physics is December 1, while the deadline for ECE is December 15.

You don’t need to ask me whether I’m on the lookout for great students: I always am! If you say on your application that you want to work with me, I’ll be sure to see it. Emailing individual faculty members is not how it works and won’t help. Admissions are extremely competitive, so I strongly encourage you to apply broadly to maximize your options.

(2) If you’re interested in a postdoc in my group, I’ll have approximately two openings starting in Fall 2020. To apply, just send me an email by January 1, 2020 with the following info:
– Your CV
– 2 or 3 of your best papers (links or PDF attachments)
– The names of two recommenders (who should email me their letters separately)

(3) If you’re on the faculty job market in quantum computing and information—well, please give me a heads-up if you’re potentially interested in Austin! Our CS, physics, and ECE departments are all open to considering additional candidates in quantum information, both junior and senior. I can’t take credit for this—it surely has to do with developments beyond my control, both at UT and beyond—but I’m happy to relay that, in the three years since I arrived in Texas, the appetite for strengthening UT’s presence in quantum information has undergone jaw-dropping growth at every level of the university.

Also, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport now has direct flights to London, Frankfurt, and (soon) Amsterdam and Paris.

Hook ’em Hadamards!

16 Responses to “Annual recruitment post”

  1. I Says:

    The CS website for Austin Texas seems to be down, at least in the UK. The physics site is fine.

    You say to apply broadly, but for someone who isn’t a computer scientist it is hard to judge who does good work. Do you know of any international lists of unis with good quantum computing centers?

  2. Scott Says:

    I #1: The CS website was up when I tried it just now. Try again?

    Let me give you a list right now of universities with significant presences in quantum algorithms and complexity and related parts of quantum information—with the huge caveat that I’m leaving out everything I don’t know or am forgetting right now 🙂 I welcome additions.

    US: Caltech, Maryland, MIT, Berkeley, Princeton, UT Austin, Stanford, New Mexico, Louisiana State, UCSB, USC, UC Davis, Yale, NYU…
    Canada: Waterloo, Toronto, McGill/Montreal, Ottawa, UBC, Calgary…
    UK: Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Edinburgh…
    Continental Europe: CWI Amsterdam, LRI Paris, U of Latvia, ETH Zurich, Vienna, Innsbruck…
    Israel: Hebrew University (also Ben-Gurion, Technion)…
    East Asia: I don’t know nearly well enough, but NUS Singapore, Tsinghua, Tokyo, Kyoto…
    Australia: UTS Sydney, Queensland…

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    Thanks Scott for mentioning the University of New Mexico! This year our Center for Quantum Information and Control moved to a gorgeous new interdisciplinary sciences building, and we had Tameem Albash join us as an assistant professor in electrical engineering . We are always recruiting PhD students and we are currently searching for some new postdocs to join our Center for Quantum Information and Control as well:

    We also have a tenure-track faculty search in Computer Science, with quantum information as one of the focus areas:

    and a tenure-track faculty search in electrical engineering with quantum computing as a focus area:

    All the deadlines are December 1st. Quantum complexity theorists, I encourage you to apply!

  4. Lurker Says:

    On a completely unrelated note: have you(or any reader) read Michael Nielsen’s essays

    [Augmenting long term Memory](


    [using spaced repetition to see through a piece of mathematics](

    I’m particularly curious if any professional mathematicians or computer scientists have used anki the way he describes in his second essay. I have(as a middling CS undergrad at a mediocre state school), and it has dramatically improved my performance, but I’m curious if people with real skill find it useful, or share Nielsen’s experience of doing mathematics on a high level.

  5. I Says:

    (I don’t know if its bad form to speak to several people in one post. Sorry)

    Scott #2:
    The website is working fine now.

    Thanks for replying. Assuming they’re people doing work you find interesting, that’s quite valuable to me. That said, Cambridge doesn’t seem to be doing any quantum algorithms or complexity.

    Lurker #4:
    Fellow student and Anki user here. Anki is great for learning, but I’ve never used it for more than short proofs. Have you had any luck seeing through large chunks?

  6. Scott Says:

    I #5: Richard Jozsa and Adrian Kent are in Cambridge (Adrian is more quantum foundations).

  7. Lurker Says:

    I #5: I’ve started to feel comfortable with the ideas in big proofs, so I could clearly explain what each part did and modify it, etc. But I’ve never experienced anything like what he describes with “playing with it in his head.” Even with really simple proofs. Maybe that just takes time? I’ve only been doing it for about a month.

  8. William Hird Says:

    Hi Scott
    Do you have any janitorial job openings there at UT@A ? If I can get some kind of janitorial position there I can pull a “Will Hunting Works The Night Shift” maneuver by solving the last six Clay Millennium math problems and leaving the proofs on the hallway whiteboards in the middle of the night. 🙂

  9. scott Says:

    FYI, your SSL cert has expired so browsers throw a warning and discourage users from loading your site.

    (Please delete this comment. I do not mean for it to be public but there is no other immediately obvious way to quickly contact you)

  10. Scott Says:

    scott #9: Believe me, I’m well aware that my website has been going down every 3 months due to the SSL certificate expiring. See my post about this, The SSL Certificate of Damocles, where I explained that every 3 months, I’d be on the phone with Bluehost, remonstrating with them to please please get the site back up and prevent this from happening again, and every 3 months they’d patiently explain to me that this was just a one-time thing and I was all set and had nothing to worry about from this point forward, and then 3 months later I’d be back on the phone when the site was completely predictably back down.

    This time, though, something different happened. I told the Bluehost tech support guy the above story, emphasizing its darkly comic aspect. And he told me about a SECRET CONTROL PANEL—not the usual Bluehost control panel that I’ve been using for 12 years, but a different one with a bizarre URL that controls things from a higher level and where you can update the SSL certificate and have it actually work. I’m not making this up. It felt like I was a child who finally got to upgrade from a plastic toy cellphone that beeps and boops, to an actual cellphone connected to an actual network. So, fingers crossed! 😀

  11. Laura Mančinska Says:

    Let me also advertise our group and QMATH center at the University of Copenhagen. We are housed within the math department but many of us are interested in CS-related quantum topics. Plus, in CS there is a strong (classical) algorithms group. We have annual PhD (deadline in spring and fall) and Postdoc calls.

  12. asdf Says:

    Scott, you’ve mentioned several times that it would be a fantastic new result in physics if an update to quantum theory came along that showed scaleable quantum computing to be fundamentally impossible. Suppose such an update actually came to pass, e.g. some kind of combinatorial quantum mechanics that unifies and solves all the well known puzzles of particle theory, dark matter, and quantum gravity, and also says that the dimension of the quantum state Hilbert space is exactly 3.575…*10^61 which is the product of the first 37 primes. So Google’s 53-qubit machine works but the fundamental limit is around 200 qubits.

    Surely some Physics Nobels come out of this, but what happens to the rest of the quantum information field? Does everyone else just go home, like in Göttingen after Gödel’s incompleteness theorems shut down the Hilbert program? Or what? Question prompted by your mention of UT’s increased appetite for strengthening its QI presence. Not trying to be a party pooper but just wondering ;).

  13. Michael Says:

    This is awesome, as I just happen to be a high school student looking to apply to UT Austin’s computer science department next year. (I’m not really sure exactly what I want to do, but both AI and quantum computing sound interesting.) Any advice on getting admitted or just how things work in general?

  14. Scott Says:

    asdf #12: I would imagine that we’d morph into a center for studying physics and computation in light of those world-shaking new developments. That might be accompanied by a significant expansion of our group. 🙂

  15. Scott Says:

    Michael #13: Alas, I have almost no idea how undergraduate admissions at UT work. But if you’re interested in CS, be sure to apply to the Turing Scholars honors program!

  16. Vince Says:

    Hi Scott,

    You said, “Course offerings in quantum information currently include…graduate classes on quantum complexity theory, experimental realizations of QC, and topological matter (with more to come). We’ll also be starting an undergraduate Quantum Information Science concentration next fall.”

    Which classes on experimental realizations of QC, and topological matter are you referring to? In the Physics Department?

    By undergraduate QIS concentration, you mean a concentration for CS undergrad majors, correct?


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