The Quantum Pontiff

Where Quantum Computing Theory Is Done

Update 4/5/09: The wandering Australian does an analysis by institution.

Today, because I have way to many deadlines fast approaching, I needed to waste some time (procrastineerering), I decide to take a look at the last years worth of scited papers on the quant-ph section of The question I wanted to investigate is where quantum computing theory is occurring worldwide. So I took the top scited papers scoring over 10 scitations (42 papers in all) and looked at the affiliations of the authors: each co-author contributed a fractional score to their particular region (authors with multiple affiliations had their votes split.) And yes, I decided to lump all of Europe together and combined Japan and China (sorry). The results are as follows:

  • US: 40.07%
  • Europe: 30.68%
  • Canada: 18.75%
  • Singapore: 5.54%
  • China/Japan: 3.77%
  • Australia: 1.19%

Of course these results are subject to a plethora of problems: I mean the idea that one can extrapolate from a half rate voting website is silly! But that’s what blogs are for, no? So let’s plunge in 🙂

To me it was interesting to see that the U.S. is doing as well as it is, considering that fact that there have been considerably less hires of junior faculty in the U.S. in quantum computing that elsewhere. In looking at this it seems pretty clear to me at lot of this has to do with two institutions: Caltech (the IQI) and MIT. Another interesting fact for me was that Canada did not score as high as I would have expected, considering the vast resources that exist at the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute. Finally it was quite impressive to look at the number of European contributions from the U.K.: far higher than I had appreciated.

So what conclusion should you draw from this? Probably none at all, considering the suspect methodology, but if you want something to write home about it’s probably: the U.S. is behind the combined juggernaut of Canada and Europe 🙂


  1. #1 Ian Durham
    November 2, 2009

    You do realize that this could simply be a function of your readership, right? I’m not sure it’s the most scientific of metrics.

  2. #2 Ian Durham
    November 2, 2009

    And apparently you admitted as such in your last paragraph. Sorry. I’ve spent the day dealing with administrative crap including new state legislation requiring that we pay them lots of money to use some equipment we’ve been using for twenty years.

  3. #3 Sam
    November 2, 2009

    It is interesting that the US postdoc factory model works so well for producing good science.

  4. #4 mick
    November 3, 2009

    Have you tried the analysis by institution?

    Any bets on which institution tops the score? What about the top 3?

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