Curriculum Vitae

Josh Izaac

A quantum physicist and experienced science writer with a demonstrated history of working in the publishing industry, I am currently working for quantum computing company Xanadu Quantum Technologies as a systems tester, using my background in quantum computation and software development.



Xanadu Quantum Technologies Inc.

Sep 2017-Present Physicist and Systems Tester
  • Work with engineers to test and optimize quantum architecture.
  • Developing, documenting, and testing quantum algorithms and simulations.
  • Developing software and information testing policies for classical simulation of continuous-variable quantum computing, using Python and various other software tools, languages, and libraries.
  • Executing, analyzing, and documenting results of system tests.
  • Developing, deploying, and managing an online web application for simulation of continuous-variable quantum circuits, using Flask, Docker, WebSocket, Celery, Redis, and Amazon Elastic Beanstalk.


Mar 2013-Aug 2017 Doctor of Philosophy in Physics
University of Western Australia —  Supervisor: Prof. Jingbo Wang
Thesis: Continuous-time quantum walks: simulation and application
Dec 2013-Jan 2014 The 31st Jerusalem Winter School in Theoretical Physics
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Frontiers of Quantum Information Science. Topics included quantum computing, quantum algorithms, quantum information and black holes.
Mar 2009-Nov 2012 Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Physics and Applied Mathematics
University of Western Australia — Supervisor: Jingbo Wang
Weighted Average Mark:   91.4%   —   GPA: 7.0/7.0   —   First Class Honours
Thesis: Continuous-time Quantum Walks: Disorder, Resonance & Interactions

Research Experience

Mar 2013-Aug 2017 Doctor of Philosophy (Physics)
University of Western Australia — Supervisor: Prof Jingbo Wang
Exploring simulation and potential real world applications of quantum walks. Continuous-time quantum walks are studied across two areas of interest: efficient numerical simulation of the continuous-time quantum walk, and applications of continuous-time quantum walks to graph isomorphism and network centrality.
Nov-Dec 2014 AsiaBound Collaboration
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
Supervisors: Dr C M Chandrashekar and Prof Thomas Busch
Worked with the Quantum Systems Unit to model and analyse quantum percolation in continuous-time quantum walks.
Nov 2012-Mar 2013 iVEC Internship
University of Western Australia — Supervisor: Asst/Prof Peter Metaxas
Worked with the spintronics and magnetisation dynamics research group at UWA, investigating hybrid vortex-domain wall dynamics. This required high performance computing techniques using GPUs in addition to a good physical understanding of nanomagnetics, and could lead to significant advances in manufacturing memory storage devices.
Jan-Nov 2012 Bachelor of Science (Hons.) Research Project
University of Western Australia — Supervisor: Prof Jingbo Wang
Explored the dynamics and computational potential of quantum walks. Complex numerical analysis was performed using the Pawsey supercomputing facilities.


  1. J. A. Izaac and J. B. Wang. Systematic dimensionality reduction for continuous-time quantum walks of interacting fermions. Physical Review E, September 2017. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.96.032136Link ]
  2. J. A. Izaac, J. B. Wang, P. C. Abbott, and X. S. Ma. Quantum centrality testing on directed graphs via PT-symmetric quantum walks. Physical Review A, September 2017. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.96.032305Link ]
  3. Aaron C. H. Hurst, Joshua A. Izaac, Fouzia Altaf, Vincent Baltz, and Peter J. Metaxas. Reconfigurable magnetic domain wall pinning using vortex-generated magnetic fields. Applied Physics Letters, 110(18):182404, May 2017. doi:10.1063/1.4982237Link ]
  4. S. S. Zhou, T. Loke, J. A. Izaac, and J. B. Wang. Quantum fourier transform in computational basis. Quantum Information Processing, 16(3):82, March 2017. doi:10.1007/s11128-017-1515-0Link ]
  5. Josh A. Izaac, Xiang Zhan, Zhihao Bian, Kunkun Wang, Jian Li, Jingbo B. Wang, and Peng Xue. Centrality measure based on continuous-time quantum walks and experimental realization. Physical Review A, 95(3):032318, March 2017. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.95.032318Link ]
  6. J. A. Izaac, J. B. Wang, P. C. Abbott, and X. S. Ma. Quantum centrality testing on directed graphs via PT-symmetric quantum walks. arXiv:1607.02673 [quant-ph], July 2016. [ Link ]
  7. A. Mahasinghe, J. A. Izaac, J. B. Wang, and J. K. Wijerathna. Phase-modified CTQW unable to distinguish strongly regular graphs efficiently. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, 48(26):265301, July 2015. doi:10.1088/1751-8113/48/26/265301Link ]
  8. Josh A. Izaac and Jingbo B. Wang. pyCTQW: a continuous-time quantum walk simulator on distributed memory computers. Computer Physics Communications, 186(0):81–92, January 2015. doi:10.1016/j.cpc.2014.09.011Link ]
  9. J. A. Izaac, J. B. Wang, and Z. J. Li. Continuous-time quantum walks with defects and disorder. Physical Review A, 88(4):042334, October 2013. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.88.042334Link ]
  10. Z. J. Li, J. A. Izaac, and J. B. Wang. Position-defect-induced reflection, trapping, transmission, and resonance in quantum walks. Physical Review A, 87(1):012314, January 2013. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.87.012314Link ]

Conference Presentations

  1. J. A. Izaac, X. Zhan, J. Li, P. Xue, P. C. Abbott, X. S. Ma, and J. B. Wang. Quantum centrality ranking via quantum walks and its experimental realization. Talk presented at 17th Asian Quantum Information Science Conference, Singapore. September 2017
  2. J. A. Izaac, J. B. Wang, P. C. Abbott, and X. S. Ma. Quantum centrality testing on directed graphs via PT-symmetric quantum walks. Poster presented at PHHQP16: Progress in Quantum Physics with Non-Hermitian Operators, Kyoto, Japan. August 2016
  3. J. A. Izaac and P. J. Metaxas. Nanomagnetism with GPUs: simulations of hybrid vortex - domain wall devices. Paper presented at the annual iVEC Symposium, Perth, Australia. February 2013

Media Coverage

  1. Physicists Designed a Quantum Graph Search Technique That Matches Google. Vice Media. November 2017.

Scholarships and Awards


Hackett Postgraduate Scholarship (awarded to the top-ranked PhD applicants)

2011 John and Patricia Farrant Scholarship (awarded to the top physics student undertaking honours)

Physics (Level 3) Prize (top student in 3rd year physics)

2010 Convocation, the UWA Graduates Association Prize Physics, Geology & Chemistry

Digby Fitzhardinge Memorial Prize (top student in 2nd year physics)

2009 Convocation, the UWA Graduates Association Prize Physics, Geology & Chemistry
Lady James Prize in Chemistry (top student in 1st year chemistry)


Aug 2015 - Present Freelance science writer
This involves keeping up to date with scientific research across disciplines, developing and pitching story ideas to editors, interviewing researchers, and writing short articles. My work has so far appeared in Australian Geographic, redOrbit, and Science Magazine.
  1. People take more risks when wearing helmets, potentially negating safety benefits. Science Magazine. January 2016.
  2. Zebra Finch Duets. Australian Geographic. December 2015.
  3. Female fairy-wrens sing for other females. Australian Geographic. October 2015.
  4. Testosterone levels affect how much makeup women use, study finds. redOrbit. November 2015.


Workshop Facilitator, readr
Dec 2017

Presented a workshop on Numerical Quantum Computation
This workshop aimed to introduce Australian post-graduate students in physics to essential numerical techniques using Python and NumPy. This included numerical differentiation, integration, intial value problems, and methods of solving the Schrodinger equation.

Academic Tutor, University of Western Australia
Feb 2013-Jul 2017

Lecturer/Tutor for honours and masters computational physics
This involved helping students tackle problems in physics and mathematics through the use of various numerical algorithms, providing FORTRAN and UNIX support, presenting guest lectures and writing lecture notes.

Feb 2012-Jul 2017

Tutor for second and third year computational mathematics
This involved helping students with problems in applied mathematics/physics, and demonstrating how computational tools such as Mathematica can be used to complement traditional methods.

Aug-Sep 2012

Marker for third year quantum computation
Compiled assignment solutions and marked third year physics students. This required a good understanding of introductory quantum computing in order to produce detailed solution guides.

Tutoring Australasia Pty Limited (now Studiosity)

May 2009-Jun 2012 Subject Specialist Tutor (maths and sciences)
  • Effectively collaborate with team members to ensure knowledge is shared between tutors, enabling superior educational outcomes for students.
  • Provide high quality subject support for Tutors as part of normal duties.
  • Knowledge of contemporary educational techniques and practices.

Volunteer Work

Feb 2016-Jan 2017

Postgraduate Mentor at UWA
UniMentor is a university-wide peer mentoring program aimed at supporting students as they transition into postgraduate uni life.

Skills and Interests

Basic Familiarity:

Visual Basic, Matlab, C#, C

Advanced Proficiency: Mathematica, FORTRAN, Python, Unix-based systems, Git,
Bash scripting, $\LaTeX{}$, Excel, Photoshop, After Effects, Docker,
Flask, Amazon Web Services (EC2, ElastiCache, Elastic Beanstalk, CloudWatch)

Experience using high performance computational tools such as OpenMP, CUDA and MPI

Other interests include: Strength training, Technology, Open-Source, Programming, Kayaking (Two Star Award), Piano, Taekwondo (Low Red belt, 5th Kup), Photography, Travelling

Research Interests

Quantum walks, whilst a relatively new area of research, have become an incredibly exciting field due to their potential applications in quantum information theory and quantum simulations; perhaps even leading to the future production of quantum computers and with that the possibility of revolutionizing the way we carry out computation and information processing.

As part of my doctoral thesis, I presented a software package for simulation of multiparticle continuous-time quantum walks (CTQWs) using high performance computation, and detailed a method of systematic dimensionalty reduction for fermionic CTQWs. This requires a high degree of anaytic and computational work, and enabled me to develop a extensive expertise using high performance computing techniques. With the growing importance of high performance computing in physical research, these skills have enabled me to cross disciplines, and perform magnetisation dynamic simulations that could lead to significant advances in manufacturing non-volatile memory storage devices.

I am also interested in the applications of quantum walks, specifically in regards to complex network analysis. One such application is in network centrality - an algorithm that underpins Google, the biggest and most well-known search engine. Part of my research has involved designing a quantum centrality algorithm that works on directed network structures - this algorithm is utilized in the first successful physical quantum centrality implementation.


Available upon request.