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Michael Nielsen
Michael Nielsen.jpg
Michael Nielsen talking at Science Online London 2011
Born
Michael Aaron Nielsen

January 4, 1974 (1974-01-04) (age 47)
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of New Mexico
Known for Quantum Computation and Quantum Information
Awards Richard C. Tolman Prize Fellow at Caltech, Fulbright Scholar
Scientific career
Fields Physics, Computer science
Institutions Los Alamos National Laboratory
Caltech
University of Queensland
Perimeter Institute
Recurse Center
Thesis Quantum Information Theory (1998)
Doctoral advisor Carlton M. Caves

Michael Aaron Nielsen (born January 4, 1974) is a quantum physicist, science writer, and computer programming researcher living in San Francisco.

Work

In 2004 Nielsen was characterized as Australia's "youngest academic" and secured a Federation Fellowship at the University of Queensland; the fellowship was for five years. He worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as the Richard Chace Tolman Prize Fellow at Caltech, and a Senior Faculty Member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Nielsen obtained his PhD in physics in 1998 at the University of New Mexico.

With Isaac Chuang he is the co-author of a popular textbook on quantum computing. As of December 2019, the book was cited more than 36,000 times.

In 2007, Nielsen announced a marked shift in his field of research: from quantum information and computation to “the development of new tools for scientific collaboration and publication”. This work, for which he gave up a tenured academic position, includes "massively collaborative mathematics" projects like the Polymath project with Timothy Gowers. Besides writing books and essays, he has also given talks about Open Science. He was a member of the Working Group on Open Data in Science at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

He is the author of Reinventing Discovery. The book gives an account of Nielsen's vision of open science and collective intelligence. The book was reviewed favorably in Nature and was named one of the best books of 2011 by the Financial Times.

In 2015 Nielsen published the online textbook Neural Networks and Deep Learning. The same year he joined the Recurse Center as a Research Fellow. Since 2017 Nielsen works as a Research Fellow at Y Combinator Research.

In 2019 Nielsen collaborated with Andy Matuschak to develop Quantum Computing for the Very Curious, an interactive series of essays explaining quantum computing and quantum mechanics. With Patrick Collison he researched whether scientific progress is slowing down.

Nielsen resides in San Francisco.

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