I work on research, development and strategy at
rigetti quantum
computing. I am focused on quantum computer architecture, quantum software
and algorithm engineering, and making quantum computing useful.

twitter 
linkedin 
arXiv 
currently listening 
I'm a cofounder of the
forest
experimental quantum programming toolkit, including the open source libraries
pyquil
and
grove.
My
phd thesis
at oxford applies abstract methods (mainly from categorical algebra) to the
study of quantum algorithms and protocols. Before that I worked with superconducting
qubit systems at
yale
and
eth zurich.
If you want to learn more about how to get started with quantum computing, I've written a
short introduction, which is part of the
documentation for
pyQuil.
....................................
Architectures for Hybrid Quantum/Classical Computing
[slides]
#talk
22 May, 2017
Quantum Computing Institute Seminar, Oak Ridge National Lab, TN
The first scalable universal quantum computing devices are now being designed and
built in several groups worldwide. As these devices mature, it is important to
consider how best to make use of them. This will require new and applied
programming models for quantum computing. In particular, promising nearterm
algorithms for quantum simulation, quantum chemistry, and optimization require a
hybrid quantum/classical programming environment. In this talk, we introduce an
opensource environment (Forest) based on a
sharedmemory intermediate
representation (Quil).
The environment runs through a cloud API with clientside
Python libraries that can target both superconducting quantum circuit and classical
simulation backends. We discuss the programming model and implementations of
the
Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm in this environment.
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A Practical Quantum Programming Workshop
[video]
#talk
16 January, 2017
QIP2017, Seattle, WA
Recent progress on quantum computing hardware, especially in superconducting qubit
systems, highlights the need for practical programming models and tools for these
first devices. In particular, many nearterm applications are quantum/classical
hybrid algorithms, that treat the quantum computer as a coprocessor. In this
workshop, we introduce
Forest,
an open source quantum programming toolkit targeting nearterm
applications and devices. This toolkit includes an intermediate quantum instruction
language (Quil) and Python libraries for generating and executing Quil code in
either a simulated environment or on a quantum processor.
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Quantum Programming on Nearterm Devices
[slides]
#talk
29 November, 2016
Simons Institute, University of Berkeley, CA 
Invited talk at the Semantics, Formal Reasoning, and Tools for Quantum Programming
MURI Review.
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A Functional Architecture for Scalable Quantum Computing
[IEEE]
[direct download]
17 October, 2016
Quantum computing devices based on superconducting quantum circuits have rapidly
developed in the last few years. The building blockssuperconducting qubits, quantumlimited
amplifiers, and twoqubit gateshave been demonstrated by several groups. Small prototype
quantum processor systems have been implemented with performance adequate to demonstrate
quantum chemistry simulations, optimization algorithms, and enable experimental tests of
quantum error correction schemes. A major bottleneck in the effort to develop larger systems
is the need for a scalable functional architecture that combines all the core building blocks
in a single, scalable technology. We describe such a functional architecture, based on a planar
lattice of transmon and fluxonium qubits, parametric amplifiers, and a novel fast DC
controlled twoqubit gate.
....................................
A Practical Quantum Instruction Set Architecture
[arXiv]
[blogpost]
11 August, 2016
We introduce an abstract machine architecture for classical/quantum
computationsincluding compilationalong with a quantum instruction
language called Quil for explicitly writing these computations. With this formalism,
we discuss concrete implementations of the machine and nontrivial algorithms
targeting them. The introduction of this machine dovetails with ongoing development of
quantum computing technology, and makes possible portable descriptions of recent
classical/quantum algorithms.
....................................
Quantum Algorithms for Compositional Natural Language Processing
[EPTCS]
4 August, 2016
We propose a new application of quantum computing to the field of natural
language processing. Ongoing work in this field attempts to incorporate
grammatical structure into algorithms that compute meaning. In (Coecke,
Sadrzadeh and Clark, 2010), the authors introduce such a model (the CSC model)
based on tensor product composition. While this algorithm has many advantages,
its implementation is hampered by the large classical computational resources
that it requires. In this work we show how computational shortcomings of the CSC
approach could be resolved using quantum computation (possibly in addition to
existing techniques for dimension reduction). We address the value of quantum
RAM (Giovannetti,2008) for this model and extend an algorithm from Wiebe, Braun
and Lloyd (2012) into a quantum algorithm to categorize sentences in CSC. Our new
algorithm demonstrates a quadratic speedup over classical methods under certain conditions.
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Highthreshold decoding algorithms for the gauge color code
[slides]
#talk
16 March, 2016
Baltimore, MD 
APS March Meeting 2016
Gauge color codes are topological quantum error correcting codes on three dimensional
lattices. They have garnered recent interest due to two important properties: (1) they
admit a universal transversal gate set, and (2) their structure allows reliable error
correction using syndrome data obtained from a measurement circuit of constant depth.
Both of these properties make gauge color codes intriguing candidates for low overhead
faulttolerant quantum computation. Recent work by Brown et al. calculated a threshold
of ~0.31\% for a particular gauge color code lattice using a simple clustering decoder
and phenomenological noise. We show that we can achieve improved threshold error rates
using the efficient Wootton and Loss Markovchain Monte Carlo (MCMC) decoding. In the
case of the surface code, the MCMC decoder produced a threshold close to that code's
upper bound. While no upper bound is known for gauge color codes, the thresholds we
present here may give a better estimate.
....................................
The Abstract Structure of Quantum Algorithms
[Oxford Thesis]
26 December, 2015
Quantum information brings together theories of physics and computer science. This
synthesis challenges the basic intuitions of both fields. In this thesis, we show that
adopting a unified and general language for process theories advances foundations and
practical applications of quantum information. Our first set of results analyze quantum
algorithms with a process theoretic structure. We contribute new constructions of the Fourier
transform and Pontryagin duality in dagger symmetric monoidal categories. We then use this
setting to study generalized unitary oracles and give a new quantum blackbox algorithm for
the identification of group homomorphisms, solving the GROUPHOMID problem. In the remaining
section, we construct a novel model of quantum blackbox algorithms in nondeterministic
classical computation. Our second set of results concerns quantum foundations. We complete
work begun by Coecke et al., definitively connecting the Mermin nonlocality of a process
theory with a simple algebraic condition on that theory's phase groups. This result allows
us to offer new experimental tests for Mermin nonlocality and new protocols for quantum secret
sharing. In our final chapter, we exploit the shared process theoretic structure of quantum
information and distributional compositional linguistics. We propose a quantum algorithm adapted
from Weibe et al. to classify sentences by meaning. The clarity of the process theoretic setting
allows us to recover a speedup that is lost in the naive application of the algorithm. The main
mathematical tools used in this thesis are group theory (esp. Fourier theory on finite groups),
monoidal category theory, and categorical algebra.
....................................
Contextuality and the Weak Axiom in the Theory of Choice
[Proc. Quantum Inter.]
23 November, 2015
Recent work on the logical structure of nonlocality has constructed scenarios
where observations of multipartite systems cannot be adequately described by
compositions of nonsignaling subsystems. In this paper we apply these frameworks
to economics. First we construct a empirical model of choice, where choices are
understood as observable outcomes in a certain sense. An analysis of contextuality
within this framework allows us to characterize which scenarios allow for the possible
construction of an adequate global choice rule. In essence, we mathematically
characterize when it makes sense to consider the choices of a group as composed of
individual choices. We then map out the logical space of some relevant empirical
principles, relating properties of these contextual choice scenarios to nosignalling
theories and to the weak axiom of revealed preference.
....................................
The Quantum Software Challenge
[Medium]
19 October, 2015
What software engineers should know about quantum computing...
....................................
Diagrammatic Methods for the Specifcation and Verifcation of Quantum Algorithms
[slides] #talk
9 June, 2015
Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo 
Quantum Programming and Circuits Workshop
....................................
sticks
[Medium] #fiction
7 Feburary, 2015
In earlier years, we would hold small angled sticks...
....................................
see
[Medium] #fiction
27 January, 2015
See that little in the weathered manâ€™s life could match the intensity, the panting rhythms,
the speed of the sled dogs...
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Abstract structure of unitary oracles for quantum algorithms
[slides]
[video]
[paper]
#talk
6 June, 2014
Kyoto, Japan 
Quantum Physics and Logic (
QPL
) 2014
We show that a pair of complementary daggerFrobenius algebras, equipped with a
selfconjugate comonoid homomorphism onto one of the algebras, produce a nontrivial
unitary morphism on the product of the algebras. This gives an abstract
understanding of the structure of an oracle in a quantum computation, and we apply
this understanding to develop a new algorithm for the deterministic identification
of group homomorphisms into abelian groups. We also discuss an application to the
categorical theory of signalflow networks.
....................................
A Subtle Introduction to Category Theory
[notes]
Spring, 2013
Some playful notes and riffs on monoidal category theory. Very much a WIP.
....................................
For Sale
[link]
16 August, 2013
A microfiction.
....................................
Rowing
I've done my fair share of river batting.
The OxfordCambridge Boat Race 2012
[wiki]
Oxford Prepares Videos:
[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[Epilogue]
[Race Highlights]
Media:
[NYT]
[theguardian]
IRA National Championships 2011 w/ Yale Lightweight crew
[video]
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Tweets by @wjzeng