Unitary Fund

Because evolution is unitary.

Unitary Fund is a non-profit working to create a quantum technology ecosystem that benefits the most people.

Unitary Fund Welcomes New Advisory Board

22 June, 2020

Unitary Fund has grown quickly since its inception as a small microgrant program. We’ve now awarded more than 22 project grants across 14 countries and 4 continents, resulting in 6 publications, more than 11 open source libraries, a venture funded startup, and several folks working full time in the field who got their start with a Unitary Fund grant. Open source projects supported by Unitary Fund have more than 31 contributors, 570 stars and 95 forks on github. All this has happened on just the $40k so far granted.

We believe that these results speak for themselves, and we’re ready to grow them further. To help with this, we have invited 15 members of the quantum technology community to join our volunteer advisory board. Many of them have already been helping behind the scenes at Unitary Fund, reviewing applications and mentoring projects. The group also includes Ntwali and Michał, who themselves were some of the first of our grant winners.

They are all experts in their fields, and they bring experience across the quantum technology stack: various hardware, programming languages etc. They work at academic research centers, national labs, corporate research divisions, and startups, both collaborating on large open source projects and having authored personal projects. Importantly, they all share our commitment to growing the community of open science and technology.

The advisory board will help source and review grant applications, mentor projects, and provide technical advice on Unitary Fund’s research program.

We are grateful for their help and are excited to bring them on board to recognize their contribution.

The Unitary Fund Advisory Board:

Alex McCaskey is a research scientist in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He serves as the Software Lead for the Quantum Computing Institute at ORNL and is the Project Lead for the XACC quantum framework and the QCOR quantum-classical C++ compiler. He received his Masters in Physics from Virginia Tech and BS degrees in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Tennessee.

Amy Brown is a PhD student in quantum computing at USC. She was formerly lead quantum solutions engineer at Rigetti Computing, where she supported and developed the open source quantum programming community. She has spoken on quantum programming at many hackathons and workshops in our community.

Cassandra Granade is a senior research software development engineer on the Microsoft Quantum team, where she leads the libraries effort for the Quantum Development Kit. After completing her PhD in quantum computing at the University of Waterloo, Cassandra worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sydney before joining Microsoft in 2017.

Christa Zoufal is a pre-doctoral researcher in the Quantum Technology group of the Science & Technology department at IBM Research-Zurich. She received an MSc in Physics from ETH Zurich in 2018. Her current research focuses on the exploitation of quantum information theory within the context of machine learning and optimization problems.

Josh Izaac is a physicist at Xanadu Quantum Technologies Inc., where he is a lead developer of the open source libraries PennyLane and Strawberry Fields. He received a PhD in quantum computation from the University of Western Australia. His research interests mainly lie in the characterisation and applications of quantum walks, with specific focus on network analysis algorithms.

Mark Fingerhuth is the co-founder and head of R&D at ProteinQure, a startup using machine learning and quantum computing for the computational design of protein-based drugs. He is co-founder of the Quantum Open Source Foundation (QOSF) and a graduate, as quantum entrepreneur, of the Creative Destruction Lab.

Michał Stęchły is a quantum software engineer at Zapata Computing where he works on research and software tools for variational quantum algorithms. He is also involved in education and popularization of QC through his blog Musty Thoughts and engagement with the Quantum Open Source Foundation.

Nathan Killoran is the Head of Software & Algorithms at Xanadu Quantum Technologies, where he leads the development of the open-source software libraries PennyLane and Strawberry Fields. He received a PhD in Physics from the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, and served postdoc terms in the fields of quantum computing and deep learning.

Ntwali B. Toussaint is a quantum software engineer at Zapata Computing. He is working on making quantum computers available to masses and easier to use for practitioners by creating programming languages for quantum computers. At Zapata, he works on the platform, compilers, and low-level software to help improve algorithm performance.

Peter Karalekas is a quantum software engineer and was previously the quantum software team lead at Rigetti Computing, during which he maintained the open-source library pyQuil and managed development of the Quantum Cloud Services platform. He has been working on quantum software since studying Physics and Computer Science at Yale.

Xiu-Zhe (Roger) Luo is a graduate student at the University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute Quantum Intelligence Lab (PIQulL), Canada. His research interest lies in the intersection of machine learning and quantum physics with numerical approaches. He is also one of the creators of the open-source quantum software library Yao.

Shahnawaz Ahmed is a graduate student at the Wallenberg Center for Quantum Technology at Chalmers University, Sweden. His research interest lies in the intersection of machine learning and quantum computing. He also works on numerical approaches to solve problems in open quantum systems and is a member of the open source quantum toolbox in Python QuTiP development team.

Sukin Sim (Hannah) is currently a PhD student in Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik’s research group at Harvard University and an intern at Zapata Computing. Hannah’s research interests lie in improving the performance of variational quantum algorithms.

Tomas Babej is co-founder and CTO at ProteinQure and one of the founders of the Quantum Open Source Foundation (QOSF). He is a contributor to several open-source libraries in science, such as Astropy, and has worked as a software engineer for RedHat.

Travis L. Scholten is a quantum computing applications researcher at IBM Quantum, where he also works on collaborations for the IBMQ Network. He received his PhD on quantum characterization, validation, and verification from University of New Mexico and a BS in Physics from Caltech. He has been advising the Unitary Fund's grant program since its inception.

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