Jonathan P Olson (Jonny)

Jonathan P Olson (Jonny), Ph.D.

Associate Director for Quantum Science IP & Founder

Before working in IP, he had nearly a decade of experience in finding use cases for near-term quantum devices. He received a PhD in Physics from Louisiana State University in 2016, having developed improved methods for quantum metrology that use readily available optical photonics systems and contributing to the theory of Boson Sampling, the first-ever proposal for quantum supremacy. Subsequently, Jonny worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in the Aspuru-Guzik group where he developed two NISQ quantum algorithms – the quantum autoencoder and quantum variational error corrector. Since moving full-time to Zapata in early 2018, he has developed other variational algorithms including compressed unsupervised state preparation (CUSP) algorithm for improving quantum circuit compilation, the variational quantum factoring (VQF) algorithm for factoring on a NISQ quantum computer, a proposal for a quantum optical neural network (QONN) architecture, and variational quantum unsampling (VQU). He has recently become registered to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Question & Answer

Why have you chosen a career in quantum?

I have always enjoyed thinking about ideas and phenomena that are counter-intuitive, and how we can transform our thinking so that those ideas become intuitive. Quantum physics is renowned (or maybe infamous) for its counter-intuitive concepts, which largely come from the notion that we do not interact with a quantum world on a regular basis. I hope to someday bring enough understanding to quantum that we will no longer see it in this way!

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

My first-ever experience with quantum was in cryptography and Shor’s algorithm.  I’m looking forward to when we cannot imagine modern information security without quantum technology.

What’s your superpower?

I have an exceptional ability to empathize with the way and the why most people think the way they do. I’m also pretty good at defusing tense situations. I should probably have been a diplomat…

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Never Split the Difference” (which might be better stated “never simply split the difference”)