I'm Mithrandir24601 (if it's not obvious, that's not actually my real name. Finding my real name is left as an exercise for the reader :P Bonus points for those who know both origins of that username) and I have, for some unknown reason, been asked to do the next AMA.
Owing to other commitments, it will be at 8pm (UTC) on the 22nd August.
As far as I'm aware, the idea is that you can answer this with any questions you've got in advance and, during the AMA, I'll do my best to answer the most popular ones (assuming I get any!).
I was born and grew up in the cold but green north coast of Northern Ireland before moving to England to start my degree. I've been there as a student for almost 5 years and will (if all goes well) be here for another 3 years.
I did my Bachelor's in Physics and Computer Science, which involved a very broad mix (for the UK, at least) in basic (relatively theoretical) computer science (I only did it for a year), maths for natural science, programming and of course, physics. I then did a Master's in Mathematical physics and am now a physics (well, quantum engineering) PhD student at Bristol.
Other interests include music, cooking, reading and historical martial arts.
- Quantum Computing
- In my third year of my undergrad, I did a literature review on superconducting quantum computers
- I have spent a week visiting D-Wave (part of the PhD course I do :) )
- I'm a user of IBM's quantum experience
- I'm just finishing a project in t-designs, which are used in randomised benchmarking of quantum chips. This is a fascinating and rich topic, that seems never-ending in depth and detail
- I'd really like to learn about noise (specifically gate-noise) processes on quantum chips
- I'll (most likely) be doing my PhD project on simulating PT-symmetric Hamiltonians on a photonic quantum chip, which will probably also include elements of designing said chips (although I don't actually know anything about chip design)
- (Quantum) Measurements
- My Master's dissertation was on weak measurements. I'm extremely curious about these and my favourite thing from this so far has to be that even classical measurement results can be complex (at least, in certain situations). This might sound weird, but essentially, a measurement of position that is complex arises from a shift in momentum (this is actually what drove me to the above PhD topic)
- Quantum Communications
- Earlier in the year, I did a project on characterising a network for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). Had a great time learning about how light travels through fibre as well as getting measurements of this
- I've also written an essay about QKD using satellites. Again, I could spend ages trying to learn about this, but there was far, far too much for a single essay. This one was more like learning about light travelling many km through free space, as opposed to fibre
- both of the above are really interesting and I wish I knew more about both and could spend a lot more time on this
- Programming (sort of...)
- I've learned (or at least, have some experience in) ML (a functional programming language). I absolutely love functional programming. Learning this taught me how to program a computer much better than any other language
- I've also got some experience in C++, Java and Pascal/Delphi. My favourite of these is easily C++. I do not like Python one bit
- Some programs that I've actually enjoyed writing are (although most of these were for University and so, mostly forgotten): simulation of solar system (I'm still working on improving this!), the knight's tour, drawing parts of the Mandelbrot set, the Ising model on a toroidal lattice and as above, programming hardware to take measurements to characterise a network for QKD (although this was also a bit stressful at times!)
- I play piano, clarinet, sing bass and, my favourite, church organ
- I've also learned a bit of a few other things, but it's been a while...
- I've been in a few school and university orchestras, bands, choirs and musicals (although only playing the clarinet)
- I'm into classical music and classical church music, although will listen to (almost) anything
- I love food. I love cooking. What more is there to say?
- Answer: Tea and chocolate
- Historical Martial Arts
- It started off when I did fencing. I enjoyed it, but got a bit annoyed pretty quickly. Then I tried HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts)... This is as close as we can get to how they used to do swordfighting (it's tricky to put together and figure out how they used to do it for a couple of reasons)
- since then, I've expanded and have done some Wing Chun and currently do Taichi and Kung Fu, which is extremely hard, but very rewarding :)
- I read in practically every spare moment I can get. I'm particularly into fantasy and quite a bit into Sci-Fi. I'm also interested in the Valyrian language, created by David J Peterson for Game of Thrones
- My favourite films are (at the minute) Pan's Labyrinth and Spirited Away. Favourite TV show is Game of Thrones. I also do a little bit of gaming on the side, when I couldn't be bothered to read
- Born really from my time in undergrad as a chapel clerk, I have an interest in theology and religion. I don't know as much about it as I'd like, but I've had many interesting discussions with those who do
- Little known fact to those who only know me online is that I find the service of Compline (particularly as we did it in undergrad) the most beautiful thing ever :)