12 things a quantum information theorist should do at least once

By popular demand

  1. prove (or disprove) something by going to the Church of the Larger Hilbert Space
  2. apply amplitude amplification in a non-trivial way
  3. convince yourself you’ve proven that NP is contained in BQP, or at least that you have a poly-time quantum algorithm for graph isomorphism or dihedral HSP
  4. upper- or lower-bound a fault-tolerance threshold
  5. use the stabilizer formalism
  6. make use of convexity
  7. pick a random state or unitary from the Haar measure
  8. use an entropic quantity
  9. estimate or compute a spectral gap
  10. impress people in field X with your knowledge of something that everyone in field Y takes for granted, where X and Y are chosen from {CS, physics, some area of math, etc.}.
  11. confuse people in field X about the point of what you’re doing, when it’s a common goal in field Y.
  12. have a paper unjustly rejected or accepted by PRL.

Thanks to Ashley Montanaro for suggesting the first three.

13 Replies to “12 things a quantum information theorist should do at least once”

  1. What I hit: 1, 3 (So many F-in times), 4 (only one half), 5, 7 (but not by hand), 9, 10 (soooo many permutations), 11
    Is 2 possible?

  2. I don’t think you can get credit for #1 until you also prove (or disprove) the negative of the proposition you previously proved (resp. disproved).
    But I’m well on my way to 5, 6, 8, 10 and 11.

  3. I like the idea of having a paper accepted unjustly—truly an important part of growing up. But what about sending a paper that belongs in IEEE or PRL to Nature or Science instead because you want to make a bigger splash?

  4. Great post Steve!
    Seeing Mike commenting above reminded me:
    13. Prove something totally non-trivial by invoking the singular value decomposition at an opportune moment. Miraculous use of your favourite resolution of the identity would also qualify (a “hail Mary” with Schur’s lemma would also be acceptable).
    I am right this moment preparing a talk that will hopefully do 10 but will probably do 11.

  5. I’ve done: 1, 2, 3 (but only as an undergrad — does that count? 🙂 ), 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12. Still need to bound a fault-tolerance threshold and estimate a spectral gap.

  6. If you have a physics background, obtain a result in computer science that has nothing to do with quantum mechanics in any way. If you have background, obtain a result in physics that has nothing to do with computation in any way.
    Very close to getting the first one of those! (does having co-authors smart enough to actually do the “obtaining” count?)

  7. I was just wondering if you might be interested in a theory I have…. Please be patient I’m bad with grammar but I think my ideas have some scientific and psychiatric merit. I guess you can say I’m a free lance student, searching for a connection between electromagnetic waves and neural peptides, to Hypnosis. I think that neural peptides can actually fly out of the body along electromagnetic waves and possess the cells and nerve endings of other living beings…… I’m also trying to prove the connection to Quantum mechanics and paranormal activity. I have been doing a lot of research into neural peptide healing as well and believe that the FDA is hiding the cure for cancer, hepatitis and HIV from the public and should be charged with mass murder. If you look into Dr. Burzinsky’s work on youtube you would be appalled. Even Fibro Malaysia and dark cloud type depression can be explained by the idea that electromagnetic wave clusters can have traces of neural peptides intentionally sent by other people to deceive torment and enslave their victims nerve endings, totally “Planet of the apes” style…
    What I’m actually trying to say is, I believe I am being haunted by living people. They mess with my pluming and electrical appliances in my house. As a matter of fact during the process of writing this letter the computer has shorted out five times, I have even changed computers and had to re-write the whole thing to get it out to you. They get me both sick, nauseated and I have strange pains, bad smells like poop in my mouth, and moments of extreme rage and confusion…… I observe this strange rage in other people around me as well. This has caused me to lose jobs, friends and places to live. I have determined that I have fallen victim to psychic harassment, Sadly enough I think that one of these people has learned this skill while being enrolled in a all boys Catholic school during his childhood. They call it Demon sparing or exorcism.. Like they are learning Kung Fu or something. Even though they are actually learning to conger Demons to take advantage of the weak and misguided and scare the holy hell out of people. Or maybe they are just crazy smart sociopathic predatory, ape people, I don’t know…. I think they where originally trained to enforce the commandments with this knowledge but sometimes they start to make there own rules, I guess. One man in particular makes my cloths move around and is constantly forcing thoughts of rape and sodomy on me, even while I’m at work, sometimes I don’t sleep he will make my bed jump and make my nerves hurt. I feel that most psychotherapist in my area are not capable of understanding or diagnosing what is happening to me. I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve this kind of hell… I figure the best way to fight for change is to come forward about the abuse, just like rape or child molestation you have to fight for social change before you can really see results. Who knows, maybe someday they could get DNA off of the foreign neural peptides that posses me and prove that I am being hurt by someone and it’s not just my own brain chemistry or imagination. I just thought you might find my story interesting and if you want, you should check out the movies “What the bleep do we know” and “the secret” if you haven’t seen them yet….Anyways, thank you for your time and expertise ….. Anything you can do to help would be very much appreciated.

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