I'm listening to Valley of Genius on audiobook (after seeing a tweet about it by @DynamicWebPaige), and it is really adding to my conviction that the being part of the quantum computing community is about as close as you can come today to reliving the early days of computing.
There are some obvious parallels: we're still in the early days of the technology, when there are still questions about technical and commercial viability, but also when firsts are happening regularly. Quantum supremacy, @AndreasAtETH's multi-fridge setup, bosonic codes, etc.
But at the same time, there are also parallels between the communities. Both in Valley of Genius and Where The Wizards Stay Up Late, it is clear that a lot of early innovation in computing and networking came from academic research groups and PhD students, just as with QIP today.
Another thing that strikes me as interesting is the small connected community. The nascent quantum computing industry is extremely connected. Although we're not all in one place (there's no quantum Silicon Valley yet), we've been drinking beer at the same conferences for years.
I hadn't really noticed this until moving full time into @horizon_quantum, but the reality is that if you've been active in quantum computing you probably know people at most of the major companies and better funded startups in the space.
Everyone has crossed paths: @lingtv (Tencent) and I did out PhDs together and Man-Hong Yung (Huawei) visited then. I applied for a postdoc with @dabacon (Google), overlapped as postdocs with @jaygambetta (IBM) at IQC.
Even for startups this is true: Terry Rudolph (PsiQ) interviewed me for my Merton JRF. Chris Monroe (IonQ) is on the SAB at CQT where I was a PI. @_cweedbrook (Xanadu) visited my group, and I've had papers with founders of Zapata and AQT, and the CEO of Entropica was my postdoc.
Also, Honeywell is back! Their mini-computers were a key part of ARPANET, and now their ion-traps are pushing quantum volume records.
So, if anyone is out there wondering how they can relive the glory days or be part of the next revolution, come work on quantum computing. QC needs engineers just as much as it needs scientists, and exciting developments are happening every day.
One final thing to mention is that the focus at most of the serious players is on the technology at the moment. They are serious science and engineering efforts with strong technical leadership, so it’s really a chance to build hard things with good people.
You can follow @jfitzsimons.
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