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Maja Cassidy

Qubit creator

Maja Cassidy is building the (qu)bits to power next-gen quantum computers.

If even a supercomputer can’t tackle certain complex calculations, a quantum computer could – in theory. The problem is that even the most advanced quantum computers in the world right now suffer errors that scramble their output. The basic units of quantum data they use, called qubits, are a bit flaky.

Maja – a Sydney Quantum Academy expert and principal research manager for Microsoft Quantum in Sydney – is working on a remedy: making better qubits. She leads a team engineering qubits and integrating qubits with electronics and software.

“The process to imagine something, then plan it, build it and see it work is very rewarding,” she says.

Maja enrolled in UNSW Sydney’s Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical Engineering), because it involved lots of maths and was a ‘platform’ degree for a wide range of potential careers. But she soon developed a love for physics – and quantum devices in particular – during her Honours research project.

Maja did take on a PhD developing imaging sensors for cancer detection, but she couldn’t resist the pull of quantum: “I missed the beauty and depth of understanding it offers,” she says.

Maja’s pathway

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