One upside of working on a technology as new as quantum computing is the variety of backgrounds researchers may bring with them and the opportunity to work as part of an interdisciplinary team, learn as they go, and approach the challenges from numerous perspectives. This group of researchers come from classical computer science, chemistry, computer architecture, and laser science, among other fields. “We’re learning along the way and everyone has something to contribute — it’s the intersection of a lot of different areas of expertise,” said Klymko. “I think especially at Berkeley Lab, on the team they’ve built, that’s really recognized — that you need a lot of different areas of expertise.”
With this approach of bringing together scientists from different fields comes plenty of on-the-job problem-solving, and several researchers described a steep learning curve as part of the challenge and excitement of working in such a new field. “I think the most important part is not to be afraid of the unknown,” said Butko, a computer architect in CRD’s Computer Architecture Group, about making the transition to quantum information science. “If you don’t understand at the beginning or can’t see the whole picture, it shouldn’t scare you. That’s absolutely normal — you need time to learn, and there’s no timeline for that. You have to be confident that it will come.”
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