Joseph Emerson

Joseph Emerson
Faculty, Associate Professor
Admin Support: Carly Turnbull

Joseph obtained his BSc in physics at McGill University in 1993, followed by a Master's (1995) degree in experimental nuclear physics from Simon Fraser University (SFU).

The focus of his PhD degree in theoretical physics, also from SFU, was quantum-classical correspondence for chaotic dynamical systems. After his PhD Joseph held postdoctoral positions at Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) and then the Perimeter Institute, where he studied the interface of randomness, decoherence, and quantum chaos, and developed techniques for understanding and overcoming the challenges confronting the practical implementation of quantum information algorithms.

Joseph is currently a faculty member of the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, studying quantum computing and the foundations of quantum theory. He still does not understand why quantum mechanics is so weird.

Current projects

  • Quantum information science (characterization and control of open quantum systems algorithms for randomized benchmarking and quantum control, quantum state and process tomography, quantum state and unitary t-designs
  • Foundations of quantum theory (quasi-probability representations, criteria for quantum-classical contrast)
  • Quantum chaos (observable criteria, conditions for emergence of classical chaos in macroscopic limit)

Academic affiliations

  • Faculty Member, Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), University of Waterloo
  • Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
  • Faculty Member, Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute
  • Affiliate Member, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Awards & Honours

  • Early Researcher Award from Ontario Government (2008-2013)
  • Scholar, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (2008-2013)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003-2005)
  • SFU Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award (1999)
  • Simon Fraser University Graduate Fellowship x 4 (1996-2000)

Major Positions:

Title Location When
Associate Professor Department of Applied Mathematics and the Institute for Quantum Computing, the University of Waterloo 2010-Present
Assistant Professor Department of Applied Mathematics and the Institute for Quantum Computing, the University of Waterloo 2005-2010
Visiting Professor Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2008
Postdoctoral Fellow Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics 2003-2005
Postdoctoral Fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2001-2003
PhD Student and Research Assistant Department of Physics, Simon Fraser University 1995-2001
Masters Student and Research Assistant TRIUMF Laboratory, Vancouver, BC and DESY Research Laboratory, Hamburg, Germany 1993-1995