Current Position: Simons Quantum Postdoctoral Fellow at Simons Institute and UC Berkeley
PhD Dissertation Title: Quantum algorithms for linear and nonlinear differential equations
PhD Advisor: Dr. Andrew Childs
Application Area (during AMSC studies): Quantum Computing
What is your current position? How did you come to know about this position, and what do you like about it?
I am an incoming Simons Quantum Postdoctoral Fellow at Simons Institute and UC Berkeley in 2022 fall. It is a joint appointment at the Math Department and the Theory CS group. I learned about this position from my advisor Andrew Childs. I was very fortunate to receive many prestigious postdoctoral offers at MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and other universities. It was a really hard decision. Finally, I chose Berkeley because it offers a broad range of resources as well as opportunities to interact with talented researchers from diverse backgrounds. I think it is a great chance to investigate interdisciplinary research in quantum computing. I also like the colorful life in the Bay Area. Nevertheless, I appreciate that MIT allows me to defer the offer to the future, so that I can be more flexible and well-prepared while looking for faculty jobs.
What are your favorite memories of your graduate school experience? What about from the AMSC program specifically?
I am grateful to the AMSC program for providing high-quality and various courses, seminars, and research interaction teams. I have had the privilege of studying under many brilliant faculties, and I appreciate their willingness to share knowledge and skills with me while also broadening my views. I would like to thank Jessica Sadler, the AMSC program coordinator, in particular. Whenever I was looking for assistance, she was always there to offer help. I have enjoyed the wonderful days spent with my colleagues. We had lunches and dinners, played board games, and laughed together when we passed exams. These five years could not be so enjoyable without you guys.
In what ways did the AMSC program (specifically outside of basic academics) help prepare you for your current position?
I have benefited significantly from the flexibility in designing my own graduation track, such that I have become the first applied math student to study quantum computing. I think the reputation of the AMSC program was helpful when Andrew agreed to become my advisor, even though he never had a math student at UMD before. I took the classes about differential equations, numerical analysis, and scientific computation, which enlightened me to solve a long-standing open problem in the field of quantum algorithms, and I had a publication in PNAS as a result. When I applied for postdoctoral positions, the research and communication training I had during graduation years came in handy in the interviews and job talks.
What advice would you give to current students?
Don’t be shy. Don’t be afraid to ask naive questions during the courses and seminars. Don’t be scared to talk to professors and colleagues. For international students, speak loudly and feel comfortable to repeat your words. Try to practice your communication skills any chance you get. Remember that every talk may be your job talk. Believe in yourself, have faith in your abilities, and keep moving forward.