Jhonathan Romero Fontalvo

Jhonathan Romero Fontalvo, Ph.D.

Quantum Research Scientist & Founder

Jhonathan Romero was born and raised in Colombia, where he earned his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Chemistry. Early on, Jhonathan specialized in theoretical and computational Chemistry, which led him to join the Aspuru-Guzik group at Harvard University in 2014. Here his research in Chemical Physics was centered on developing variational quantum algorithms for quantum simulation and machine learning. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2019. In his current role as a research scientist at Zapata, he develops software and algorithms for quantum computers. He also participates in many science outreach initiatives, including Science Clubs Colombia.

Github

https://github.com/jromerofontalvo

Question & Answer

Why have you chosen a career in quantum?

As a scientist, I really enjoy working at the intersection of traditional disciplines. I chose Chemistry for my undergrad, but I could have as well gone for Physics, Math or Computer Science. That inclination was the reason to work on theoretical and computational chemistry, where I had the opportunity to apply all of those disciplines. That also made the transition to quantum computing very natural: I was adding a new model of computation to the mix. However, I did not anticipate how translational research in quantum computing was. Working in this field, I can experience how fundamental research in math and natural sciences translates into solutions for very complex problems in industry. I get to see more directly the impact of science on society, which is very fulfilling.

What is a problem you dream of solving (with quantum)?

I would like to achieve quantum advantage: finding a practical problem for which a quantum computer offers a faster, cheaper or more accurate solution. If the first example turns out to be in electronic structure, I would be twice as happy.

What are a few of your favorite things?

I love cooking and food, listening to music (a fairly diverse set of genres), dancing (especially Latin rhythms), traveling, and all the previous ones in the company of friends and loved ones.