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Scientist, Quantum in Mountain View, CA at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 11/12/2018

Job Snapshot

Job Description

USRA’s Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) operates a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA’s Ames Research Center that conducts strategic multi-disciplinary, integrative research and science that supports NASA’s long-term mission requirements.  Research focuses on testing and evaluating emerging quantum hardware, investigations of quantum mechanisms that may be used to provide a quantum advantage, development of new algorithms and software for quantum computing, and application of quantum computing to a range of real-world problems involving planning and scheduling, machine learning, and fault diagnostics.  The team works in partnership with a number of organizations from academia, industry and the U.S. Government.

Position Summary:

The Senior Research Scientist for Quantum Computing and Optimization will work at the forefront of research in the theory of quantum enhancement of computation.  The goal of the research effort is to improve current models of quantum computing (in particular gate-model and quantum annealing).

This could involve design of experiments to run on emerging hardware to give insights into quantum approaches to problems of interest to NASA and other partners from the U.S. Government, academia and industry. The researcher explores the physics of quantum algorithms, the robustness of the hardware, develops best practice programming techniques for quantum hardware, and illuminates the inner workings to better understand the mechanisms (e.g. entanglement, co-tunneling, many-body effects etc.) that can be used to provide a quantum computational advantage.

Example research problems include:

  • Follow, understand and review the technological developments in the sector of quantum computing, and related tangential domains, including the emergence of other post-moore computing platforms.
  • Develop new analytical, or experimental, or numerical techniques to better analyze realistic quantum computational paradigms.
  • Invent and analyze new quantum algorithms or protocols of computation.
  • Develop, and test applications of quantum computing for specific sponsor problems such as those involving planning and scheduling of unmanned aerial systems and autonomous mobile robots, data analysis, and a number of other partner problems in the domain of optimization and machine learning.
  • Develop beyond-state-of-art classical computing techniques (optimization, machine learning)

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Contribute technical content to research proposals, research publications, technical briefings, and white papers.

Other job related duties as assigned

Required Qualifications:

  • At least three years of Postdoctoral work and publication experience in the field of Quantum Physics, or Applied Mathematics, or Applied Computer Science  
  • A strong track record of research success as evidenced by publishing related work in peer reviewed journals, and contributing to obtaining new funding in the areas above.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills.


  • Ph.D. degree in Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, or Computer Engineering  


Desired Experience:  

  • Experience developing analytical and numerical models and algorithms, quantum and classical
  • Experience building theoretical or software tools that enable effective use of near-term quantum hardware
  • Experience with optimization and/or machine learning methods


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:  

  • Ability to work independently and effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Ability to prioritize tasks, coordinates work of others, and meets multiple deadlines.



  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office or similar and its applications.
  • Understanding of the near-term hardware platforms of quantum computing, specifically superconducting-qubit based chips

Working Conditions:

This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, etc. This is largely a sedentary role.

Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity


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