Adviser: Andrew Childs
Tongyang Li is an assistant professor at the Center on Frontiers of Computing Studies, Peking University. Previously I was a postdoctoral associate at the Center for Theoretical Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology during 2020-2021. I received my Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland in 2020, and I received Bachelor of Engineering from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences, Tsinghua University and Bachelor of Science from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Tsinghua University, both in 2015.
My research investigates interdisciplinary subjects among quantum computing, machine learning, and theoretical computer science, with the focus on designing quantum algorithms for machine learning and optimization. I am also interested in quantum simulation, quantum query complexity, and quantum walks.
Why did you choose to study computer science at UMD? What did you enjoy about it?
When I applied for CS graduate programs, I was seeking positions in quantum computing. Back in 2015, UMD was probably one of only a few places that have this research direction in the CS department. In addition, Prof. Andrew M. Childs at UMD is a leading expert in this field and I really enjoy reading his papers. When he gave me the offer, I felt very honored to work with him and come to UMD.
I enjoyed many things about the program. First, the professors here at UMD are very nice. For me, not only my advisor Andrew is super helpful in my research, but also many other professors in the CS department, such as Furong Huang, Aravind Srinivasan, Xiaodi Wu, etc. Second, the quality of the students is very good, and it is very easy to find someone to discuss research and collaborate with. In addition, UMD is at a great location -- on the one hand, College Park is a nice small town, and also on the other hand it's very close to Washington DC with so many nice events to explore.
What are some resources provided by the department that you find valuable?
I particularly feel that UMD CS is very well-organized and all kinds of research information are very approachable. For instance, in my research area there is a specific center, the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS); all people in quantum computing belong to this center and we have regular group meetings, talks, etc. I think there are ~15 centers in total spanning through different subjects in CS, which are great resources and make research at UMD CS very efficient in general.