Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies

In this second quantum revolution, dubbed Quantum 2.0, society will leverage the quantum-mechanical properties of light and matter to enable new technologies in computation, communication, and sensing.

Accelerating Quantum-Enabled Technologies (AQET) is a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program (NRT) at the University of Washington that seeks to train the next generation of scientists and engineers to enable this revolution.

AQET expands on UW faculty research in quantum information science and technology (QIST) by establishing a unique curriculum that bridges the gap from physics to chemistry, computer science & engineering, electrical & computer engineering, and materials science & engineering. Quantum 2.0 will require teams of expertise from across disciplines, and AQET is one of the first programs to bring hardware and software scientists and engineers together at the trainee level.

Major areas of research include materials to enable quantum technologies, harnessing quantum in device engineering, and algorithms inspired by or exploiting quantum phenomena.

A Venn

Program Details

AQET is a 12 to 15-month training program for UW PhD and MS students that follows the “learn, practice, apply” approach for knowledge transfer established by the successful UW NRT program known as DIRECT (Data Intensive Research Enabling Clean Technologies). Trainees are admitted to the program at the start of their graduate education, and begin AQET-specific curriculum at the start of their 2nd year, after PhD/MS domain course requirements are completed. Completion of all AQET coursework results in a transcriptable option in QIST for PhD and MS students.

AQET begins with a domain-specific foundational course in the first quarter (learn/practice), followed by an interdisciplinary project-based course (practice/apply). An advanced topics course (learn/practice) and interdisciplinary team capstone project (3-6 months) designed to apply the newly acquired skills to real-world applications complete the curriculum.

A new transcriptable Graduate Certificate in Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE) is being created, and will be ready for students to pursue starting in Autumn 2022. This Graduate Certificate in QISE is what all AQET trainees will receive after completing the program, but it can also be earned by students outside of the AQET NRT program. Check back later for more information about the Graduate Certificate in QISE.


Course 1: Introduction to Quantum Information/Quantum Computing addresses the lack of QIST training currently offered in curricula outside physics. Three different courses will be offered given the different domain-specific backgrounds of the students and the types of different research problems.

  • Quantum Information Technologies for Chemists and Materials Scientists: This course targets chemistry and materials students, using familiar language and framework to explore core concepts of QIST, including computation, logic, and quantum physics. “Quantum Information Technologies for Materials Scientists” utilizes three hardware platforms to help students understand the core scientific concepts that govern their operation and how materials play a role: trapped ions, defects in crystals, and superconducting qubits. An introduction to sensing, communication, and computation applications is provided at the end of the course through student presentations.
  • Introduction to Quantum Computing: This course is primarily targeted at CSE and computationally-oriented ECE students, providing an introduction to quantum computing and quantum algorithms. No prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is assumed. “Introduction to Quantum Computing and Algorithms” covers topics like the circuit model of quantum computing, query complexity, and quantum complexity theory.
  • Quantum Information (PHYS 521): Offered in physics, this course targets physics students and interested CSE and ECE majors with appropriate background in quantum mechanics. “Quantum Information and Computation” provides students with the background needed to understand modern quantum information hardware on both the physical and the mathematical levels by focusing on both implementations of quantum computing and quantum information theory.

Course 2: Implementations in Quantum Information brings together all students in an innovative, project-based course that highlights the challenges in implementing quantum information systems. The course combines the different skills sets to implement and characterize quantum information processing performance on IBM quantum computers using the Qiskit platform. Topics include quantum tomography, entanglement witnesses, randomized benchmarking, and quantum control.

Course 3: Advanced Topics in Quantum Information the third phase of the program, encompasses a range of domain-specific courses in advanced topics. Many different courses can satisfy this requirement.


AQET is enabled by the close relationship UW has with local industry and labs with QISE efforts. AQET will be supported by a weekly seminar series, EE 500Q, starting in Winter 2022, which will serve as a vehicle for exposure to current industry opportunities and academic research in QISE.

Professional Development Training

In addition to weekly seminars, monthly professional development workshops provide trainees with skills in self-awareness, cultural responsiveness, implicit bias, project management, team communication and trust, scientific communication (general public, scientific presentation, scientific writing), interviewing, resume preparation, and entrepreneurship.

Application for NRT Fellowship Support

NRT fellowship support is available to students who have been newly admitted to a UW PhD program in the department of their interest — usually chemistry, computer science & engineering, electrical & computer engineering, materials science & engineering, or physics.

After you have received admission to one of the AQET departments (usually January-February), you can apply for the AQET Fellowship here.

The deadline to apply for fellowship support is March 8, 2021. Currently, we are only accepting applications from prospective UW students who have been accepted to their department programs. Decisions are expected by mid-March and applicants will be notified to help inform their graduate school decision. Fellowship support starts at the beginning of the 2nd year of the PhD program, when the AQET curriculum begins.


Kai-Mei Fu
Principal Investigator
ECE, Physics

Brandi Cossairt
Executive Committee

James Lee
Executive Committee

Arka Majumdar
Executive Committee
ECE, Physics

Xiaosong Li
Executive Committee

Boris Blinov
Project Committee
Participating Faculty

Rachel Lin
Project Committee
Participating Faculty

Peter Pauzauskie
Project Committee
Participating Faculty

Madeline Miller
Program Manager

Veronica Smith
Lead Evaluator


Advisory Boards

Internal Advisory Board

Marjorie Olmstead

Jim Pfaendtner
ChemE, DIRECT, QuantumX

Gordon Holtgrieve
College of the Environment

External Advisory Board

Dave Bacon

Danna Freedman
Northwestern University

Lorenza Viola
Dartmouth College