UChicago and EPiQC Alum Yongshan Ding Joins Yale in Faculty Position

Yongshan Ding, a graduate of the UChicago Department of Computer Science and advisee of Seymour Goodman Professor Fred Chong, started this fall at Yale University as an assistant professor of computer science.

Ding, who worked in Chong’s research group as part of the Enabling Practical-Scale Quantum Computing (EPiQC) collaboration, is the first quantum computing specialist hired by Yale’s CS department. There, he will continue his work on quantum architectures and algorithms that will help realize the potential of near-term quantum technologies.

Ding chose Yale after delivering over a dozen job talks — all virtual — during the 2020-21 hiring season. He decided on his ultimate destination due to Yale’s strengths in quantum physics, providing an opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

“I think my work in software optimization for quantum computing will complement their strengths,” Ding said. “And I think it’s a great place to start as junior faculty, because you have these brilliant people around you who are working in the general area, but in complimentary sub-areas. So it’s like a bridge between the traditional CS presence here and quantum computing. I think it’s just a really good opportunity.”

At Yale, Ding will also adapt teaching work he began as a PhD student, including a graduate seminar course on “Quantum Computing Systems” that is active during this fall semester. He’s already observed the hunger for quantum computing instruction at his new home — though Ding expected a small class, 30 students registered to take it. While at UChicago, Ding co-authored a textbook by the same name with Chong, and adapted the course for an edX course that is also available on YouTube.

While at UChicago, Ding was also named a Siebel Scholar and received the Harper Dissertation Fellowship.

“Writing the textbook was the most valuable experience that I had during grad school,” Ding said. “Fred really thought about how to train me as an independent researcher, so that I don’t don’t get overwhelmed as I start to build my own lab. And I think having the textbook and my experience of co-instructing courses at UChicago really set me up well to have a systematic understanding of what the field is, as well as be prepared to teach it to others.”

From his new home in New Haven, Ding will continue to collaborate with Chong’s group as well as super.tech, the quantum computing startup founded by fellow UChicago CS and EPiQC alum Pranav Gokhale. For students about to hit the job market, Ding suggests building as many of those connections as possible to help advance your career.

“I think it’s important to have interdependent research experience, reaching out to collaborators to form collaborations,” Ding said. “I think one of the best things about working in Fred’s group is that he has this wide network of researchers. If you had an idea, Fred would always let you know who to talk to, in case you want to collaborate. I think it’s important for grad students coming up to the academic job market to have this ability to form collaborations and the ability to perform independent research, but also interdependent research.”

In addition to Ding, several other PhD students and postdoctoral researchers advised by UChicago CS faculty took prestigious positions in recent months:

  • Noah Apthorpe, a PhD graduate advised by Professor Nick Feamster, started as assistant professor of computer science at Colgate University.
  • Leonardo Coregliano, a PhD graduate advised by Andrew McLeish Distinguished Service Professor Alexander Razborov, started a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
  • Davis Gilton, a PhD graduate advised by Professor Rebecca Willett, started at Microsoft as a Data Scientist.
  • Arpit Gupta, a PhD graduate advised by Professor Nick Feamster, started a position as assistant professor of computer science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Muhammad Shahbaz, a PhD graduate advised by Professor Nick Feamster, was hired as a Kevin C. and Suzanne L. Kahn New Frontiers Assistant Professor in Computer Science at Purdue University.
  • Daren Wang, who worked with Professor Rebecca Willett as postdoctoral scholar, joined Notre Dame as an assistant professor.
  • Ryan Wu, a PhD graduate advised by Professor Fred Chong, started as a quantum research scientist at Intel Labs.

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