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Eleanor G. Rieffel

Eleanor G. Rieffel joined the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) Division at NASA Ames Research Center in September 2012, to contribute to the organization's expanding quantum computing effort.


Rieffel received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles. After a mathematics post-doc at the University of Southern California, she joined FX Palo Alto Laboratory (FXPAL) where she performed research in diverse fields including quantum computation, applied cryptography, image-based geometric reconstruction of 3D scenes, bioinformatics, video surveillance, and automated control code generation for modular robotics. Her book, Quantum Computing: A Gentle Introduction with coauthor Wolfgang Polak was published by MIT press in spring 2011.

Research Interests

Eleanor Rieffel's interest in quantum computing dates back to 1997, when she read early papers and saw the mix of the practical and fundamental, of physics, mathematics, and computer science. Through her research she hopes to catch glimmers as to the elusive source of the power of quantum computation. Her current research interests include adiabatic and measurement-based approaches to quantum computing, and the insights these different approaches give to into both fundamental questions in quantum computation and into algorithmic design. She has long been interested in heuristic quantum algorithms such as quantum annealing, and looks forward to experimenting with them on emerging quantum computing hardware. She is working with various teams at NASA to explore quantum approaches to attacking the many hard computational problems required for NASA's ambitious missions.

Selected Publications

Eleanor Rieffel Eleanor G. Rieffel
Research Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center

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