Photo of Soonwon Choi

Computer & electronics hardware

Soonwon Choi

The second quantum revolution has just begun.

Year Honored

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Today, astonishing advances in our ability to manipulate quantum mechanical systems are ushering in fundamentally new approaches to basic science research as well as the development of their applications. In order to build, control, and utilize large-scale quantum devices, it is crucial to adapt state-of-the-art experimental techniques, develop novel ideas to stabilize fragile quantum states, and design algorithms or protocols that can harness the counterintuitive laws of quantum mechanics, simultaneously. Thus, the worldwide effort to improve our understanding of quantum systems and to realize practical applications is bringing various disciplines of physical science, from theoretical physics to computer science, together, leading to the birth of a new interdisciplinary research direction, called quantum information science and technology (QIST).

Professor Soonwon Choi is a young scientist working at the intersection of various fields of physical science, with his expertise spanning from condensed matter to quantum information. Born in Seoul, Prof. Choi grew up in Korea and then moved to the United States for his undergraduate education at Caltech. Choi was initially trained in quantum optics and condensed matter physics at Havard, where he obtained his PhD degree. After joining UC Berkeley as a Miller Fellow, Choi started exploring novel quantum phenomena using quantum information theory as the main toolset, resulting in several pioneering contributions to quantum machine learning, nonequilibrium physics, and quantum simulation. Since 2021, Choi has been a faculty member at the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT.

One of the unique aspects of Choi’s research is that it is highly interdisciplinary, stretching across different fields of physical sciences. Choi’s theory proposals often allow for immediate implementation in laboratories, thus bridging the gap between theory and experiment, bringing several communities around QIST together, and helping them advance synergistically. His representative contributions to QIST include the development of robust ways to control quantum dynamics, the observation of a discrete time crystalline phase, the proposal and analysis of quantum convolutional neural networks, the study of quantum many-body scarring, and, most recently, the development of a theoretical framework to explain exotic phase transitions that occur in quantum circuits.