Kaitlin Gili

Kaitlin Gili

PhD Student University of Oxford; Zapata Computing External Collaborator
Kaitlin is a current PhD student at the University of Oxford in the field of quantum machine learning with a full fellowship from the U.S. Army Research Office. Alongside her PhD, she is a research collaborator with the quantum start-up Zapata Computing. Her research and publications focus on developing tools, designing new algorithms, and benchmarking generalization performance for classical and quantum generative models. She has previously conducted research at Los Alamos National Laboratory, IBMQ, and research universities across three continents. She received my Bachelors in Physics from Stevens Institute of Technology and graduated with high honors. In addition to research, she is enthusiastic about outreach and encouraging others to join fields in STEM, especially women and non-binary individuals.

Question & Answer

Why have you chosen a career in quantum?

The fact that we can use individual atoms or alternative quantum elements to store and process information has always blown my mind. We are using the basic elements of nature to better understand nature itself. I don’t see how anything could be more fascinating to understand or explore.

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

I would love to develop a better understanding of how quantum circuits learn data and generate data. What are the fundamental principles that make quantum models potentially better than classical ones? What can we use these models for when we’re able to scale them? Will quantum AI ever reach a point where these devices are able to be individually creative?

What’s your superpower?

Productivity with a side of goofiness. My superpower has always been my ability to multi-task and get things checked off of the to-do list, while having a goofy and positive mindset.

If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

If I had a time machine, I would love to go back and meet some of my ancestors. I know that 50% of my roots are in Italy and 50% probably came over to the US, in its early days, from somewhere in Europe. I don’t know very much about my family history, and so if I could meet anyone, I would like to meet some of the people who were a part of my own personal history.

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

Put relationships at the center of everything you do. Take the time to learn about yourself and your values, and make choices that are well-aligned. Get comfortable with uncertainty. Give yourself grace and the space to be grateful.

What are people often surprised to know about you?

I love to write and freestyle rap. One of my favorite things to do at work social events is to challenge my colleagues to rap battles. I am happily waiting for the day that someone takes me up on the challenge!