Stuart Hadfield
Ph.D. Candidate
Office: 7LE5 Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research (CEPSR)
Address: 530 West 120th Street, NY NY 10027
Email: stuartah (at) cs (dot) columbia (dot) edu
Home Page:

About Me

I received my Ph.D. in 2018 from the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University, working in theoretical computer science. My advisors were Joseph F. Traub, Alfred V. Aho, and Anargyros Papageorgiou. Previously, I received a master's degree in computer science from Columbia, an honours degree in theoretical physics from the University of Melbourne (thesis completed on fault-tolerant quantum computation), and a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from the University of British Columbia. I have also worked in industry in both software and hardware engineering roles, specializing in embedded systems and performance optimization.

I have started a new position with the NASA Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL) as of Spring 2018.

Research Interests

I study quantum computation, algorithms, information, and complexity, with applications to problems in physics, chemistry, and engineering. We seek computational problems and results elucidating where quantum computers have demonstrable advantages over classical algorithms. I am further interested in the mathematical foundations of quantum physics and computation.

In particular, I am currently exploring the ability of quantum computers to provide practical and theoretical advantages for i) the simulation of physical systems and ii) approximately solving hard optimization problems.


  • Spring 2015: COMS W4281 - Introduction to Quantum Computing (CVN Teaching Assistant / Guest Lecturer)
  • Fall 2014: COMS W3251 - Computational Linear Algebra (Teaching Assistant)
  • Spring 2014: COMS W4281 - Introduction to Quantum Computing (Teaching Assistant)
  • Summer 2013: SCE N0219 - Programming in C (Instructor)
  • Academic Year 2008: Physics Undergraduate Laboratory (Lab Instructor)
  • Research

  • On the Representation of Boolean and Real Functions as Hamiltonians for Quantum Computing
    Stuart Hadfield
    arXiv preprint (2018)

  • Quantum Algorithms for Scientific Computing and Approximate Optimization
    Stuart Hadfield
    PhD Dissertation, Dept. of Computer Science, Columbia University (2018)

  • Divide and Conquer Approach to Quantum Hamiltonian Simulation
    Stuart Hadfield, Anargyros Papageorgiou
    New Journal of Physics, 20, no. 4 (2018): 043003.

  • From the Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm to a Quantum Alternating Operator Ansatz
    Stuart Hadfield, Zhihui Wang, Bryan O'Gorman, Eleanor G. Rieffel, Davide Venturelli, Rupak Biswas
    arXiv preprint (2017)

  • The Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm for MaxCut: A Fermionic View
    Zhihui Wang, Stuart Hadfield, Zhang Jiang, Eleanor G. Rieffel
    Physical Review A, 97, no. 2 (2018): 022304. (arXiv preprint)

  • Quantum Approximate Optimization with Hard and Soft Constraints
    Stuart Hadfield, Zhihui Wang, Bryan O'Gorman, Eleanor G. Rieffel, Davide Venturelli, Rupak Biswas
    Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Post Moore's Era Supercomputing (PMES17), pp. 15-21. ACM, 2017.

  • Quantum Algorithms and Circuits for Scientific Computing
    Mihir K. Bhaskar, Stuart Hadfield, Anargyros Papageorgiou, Iasonas Petras
    Quantum Information & Computation, 16, no. 3&4 (2016): 197-236. (arXiv preprint)

  • Approximating Ground and Excited State Energies on a Quantum Computer
    Stuart Hadfield, Anargyros Papageorgiou
    Quantum Information Processing, 14, no. 4 (2015): 1151-1178. (arXiv preprint)

  • Error Rate Thresholds for Physical Implementations of the Surface Code
    Stuart Hadfield
    Honours Thesis, School of Physics, University of Melbourne, Australia (2008)


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    (In a past life I was a rock star)