Australia is quickly becoming the next hub for quantum technology. From the Sydney Quantum Academy to the Quantum Australia conference, the “land down under,” is drawing in collaborations and talent to build next-generation quantum technology. Amidst the many individuals working toward these goals is Dr. Marika Kieferova. She is a lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney and a researcher at Google Quantum AI. With both an academic and industry position, Kieferova is able to truly fulfill her deep passion for quantum.
Like many others, this passion started during Kieferova’s schooling. According to Kieferora: “As an undergraduate, I was very interested in modern theoretical physics which is underpinned by quantum mechanics. In my second year, I chose a research project in quantum information, which I saw as a stepping stone toward particle physics. However, I never took that second step because I enjoyed quantum information and quantum computing so much. I very quickly started working in the area of quantum algorithms, because it combines quantum mechanics, mathematics, and computer science with elegant simplicity.” As she continued her education, Kieferova took two industry internships at Microsoft Research and Zapata Computing while a Ph.D. student. Though she enjoyed the industry side of quantum, Kieferova ultimately decided to stay in academia. “I enjoy teaching and I think it’s important to educate the next generation of quantum experts,” she explained. “So, I wasn’t looking into entering the tech space, but Google reached out to me with a role to support the quantum computing community in Australia. I long admired the Quantum AI team, so I jumped at the opportunity to join them.”
Now having two stimulating positions, Kieferova finds her days quite full of activities. “I work as a lecturer (similar to an assistant professor in North America) at the University of Technology Sydney,” she added. “I conduct research, supervise students, and teach quantum computing together with my colleagues at the Center for Quantum Software and Information.” For her industry position, Kieferova gets to do things a bit differently. “In my Google Quantum AI role, I coordinate partnerships and initiatives in Australia that are part of the Digital Future Initiative– Google’s $1 billion investment in Australian infrastructure, research, and partnerships,” said Kieferova. “Australia is an exceptional pioneer in many aspects of quantum computing theory and I am excited to be contributing to the effort.” Thanks to Kieferova’s hard work, many partnerships and collaborations have been created within the Australian quantum community.
With her fingers in so many different pies, Kieferova also understands she has an influence as a woman in these many spaces. Thanks to her many connections, she is excited to see that the quantum industry in Australia is already hard at work making the community more inclusive for all backgrounds. As Kieferova explained: “Programs in Australia such as the Superstars of STEM are addressing the stereotypes around women in STEM and also providing role models for girls in all areas, while Google’s exploreCSR program is working with universities to encourage and equip more underrepresented groups to pursue computing research. I’m also happy to see more opportunities for women to learn and support each other in quantum, for example, the recently launched Quantum women network.” With this new hub of quantum technology steadily growing, experts like Kieferova are glad that inclusion and equity are taken into consideration to make the growth more sustainable and long lasting.