Quantum Computing: USC, Oregon, New Mexico

Which school should I attend?

USC
2
40%
University of Oregon
1
20%
University of New Mexico
2
40%
 
Total votes: 5

djh101
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:08 pm

Quantum Computing: USC, Oregon, New Mexico

Postby djh101 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:32 pm

Hello, PhysicsGRE. April 15 is fast approaching and I'm currently torn between USC, U. Oregon, and U. New Mexico to pursue a quantum computing Ph.D. They all seem pretty appealing, so I could certainly use some help in deciding. Is anyone else doing quantum computing? If so, where were you accepted and where do you plan on attending? I'll be going to New Mexico tomorrow and Oregon on April 2 (they're cutting it close); USC isn't having an open house, but since I live nearby I intend to see if I can meet with a few professors before the deadline. I don't have a set-in-stone research interest right now, otherwise that would be my deciding factor.

  • USC offered a 1 year fellowship which is very appealing and they seem to have the most funding and the most prestigious faculty. It's also near where I live now (and near all my family) and seems to have pretty diverse research going on. I like how interdepartmental the QI research is, although very little of it seems to be taking place in the physics department (although there are a lot of physics grad students with EE advisers, so that shouldn't be much of a problem). One of the main downsides is that it's in LA (hot, expensive, ugly, not the best neighborhoods nearby).
  • Oregon is easily the nicest location and also doesn't seem to be too expensive and they also offered a signing bonus. Research is mostly condensed matter, but there is a professor doing more theoretical quantum stuff to add some diversity. The main downside is that they don't seem to be explicitly doing any quantum information research but rather happen to have a handful of professors doing related research and listing quantum computing in their research interests. I've also heard there's a lot of hippies in Eugene.
  • I'll probably be able to afford the nicest housing in New Mexico. Michael Nielsen (the guy who wrote the book on quantum computing) got his PhD at New Mexico and his adviser, Carlton Caves, is still a professor there. Quantum information is listed as a research specialization and seems to be a primary focus of the school's physics research, although the set of faculty is fairly small compared to USC. The department doesn't seem to be as well funded as the other two schools, but it is affiliated with the Sandia National Laboratory which is a nice bonus. As another small positive, I managed to score high enough on the GRE to be exempt from the prelims.

Thank you, everyone. Some reflection would really help me in my decision making, though I know acceptances are a sensitive topic and hope I haven't come across as offensive or rude anywhere in this post (having to decide between schools is a problem that I am quite thankful to have).

PathIntegrals92
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:42 pm

Re: Quantum Computing: USC, Oregon, New Mexico

Postby PathIntegrals92 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:54 pm

I think you would have an easier time deciding after visiting. While you wait for that, here's what you can do ( at least this is what I have been doing):

I want to go into industry instead of academia, so I have been taking note of the types of industry/companies that grad students go onto with the potential PIs I am interested in working with. When looking at their research websites, I make note of the type of skills that one needs to learn/uses in the group. I prefer to work in experiment that involves both hardware and software knowledge. I mostly have worked on pen/paper theory, but I would be very open to computational work. If not that, then I will teach myself.

What do grad students typically do over the summer? For one school I visited, some get RAs, some get TAs, some stay and do things for free, some go onto industry internships. The latter is very important for me.


Edit: If you prefer academia ( but I think i remember you saying industry in a post) then it's important to consider typical post doc positions received by the grad students of your PIs ...

djh101
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: Quantum Computing: USC, Oregon, New Mexico

Postby djh101 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:29 pm

PathIntegrals92 wrote:I think you would have an easier time deciding after visiting.


I certainly agree, but by the time I get back from Oregon, I'll only have a little over a week to make my decision which isn't a whole lot of time for discussing and reflecting.

PathIntegrals92 wrote:I think i remember you saying industry in a post


Yes, I'm aiming for industry, but not entirely opposed to academia. It's unfortunate that all the schools that I was accepted to specialize in different things, otherwise this would be much easier. But I suppose you're right, I have visited one school already (Colorado State) and it did give me a lot of helpful insight. Still, I'm curious what other people think. USC really does have an excellent electrical engineering department, but the thought of having to live in LA for another 5-6 years (I don't even live in the city currently, just the county) is pretty depressing, especially after visiting Fort Collins.

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Quantum Computing: USC, Oregon, New Mexico

Postby TakeruK » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:54 am

djh101 wrote:
PathIntegrals92 wrote:I think you would have an easier time deciding after visiting.

I certainly agree, but by the time I get back from Oregon, I'll only have a little over a week to make my decision which isn't a whole lot of time for discussing and reflecting.


I think that one week is more than enough time to decide once you know all the information (i.e. visited all the schools), provided that you have been thinking about it ahead of time. And you have, since the application process started months ago!

djh101
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: Quantum Computing: USC, Oregon, New Mexico

Postby djh101 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 12:36 am

Just got back from New Mexico yesterday. The first thing they brought up was their U.S. News ranking (all the way down at 85). I'm having my doubts about Oregon, but it's definitely going to be close between USC and New Mexico.




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