June 26, 2019

Could you shortly introduce yourself?

My name is Giulia Mazzola. I grew up in Zürich and I am currently a master’s student in physics at ETH Zürich with a focus in theoretical physics and quantum computation.

What fascinates you in the world of supercomputing?

I appreciate the immense power of supercomputers to solve big problems arising in physics and in many other fields, as it is mostly impossible to find an analytic solution to them. The numerical simulations provide us with more intuition and reveal the peculiar behavior of complex physical systems. On the other hand, during my internship I also learned to appreciate how supercomputers actually work and the non-trivial task of achieving efficient parallelization. As my mentor would say, it is like learning how to be a good manager in a big factory.

How did you first hear about CSCS?

I attended a summer school on quantum computing at ETH in 2018, which was intended for physicists and for computer scientists. There I first met people working at CSCS, who enthusiastically told me a lot about their work and the great working atmosphere at CSCS.

Why did you want to intern at CSCS?

Before starting my master’s thesis, I was seeking to gain more practical experience in current research in quantum science and technology and in high performance computing. Therefore, I applied for the internship in ‘Quantum Computing Simulators’. I was sure that CSCS would allow me to acquire new programming abilities, which would surely be useful for my master’s thesis and for my future career.

What project did you work on during your internship at CSCS?

The goal of my internship was to implement various quantum algorithms and use them to benchmark currently available classical simulators for quantum computers using Piz Daint.

How would you describe a regular day as an intern at CSCS?

My typical day would start around 9 a.m. with a coffee and a small chat with my supervisors, sometimes discussing my advances and the next steps for my project, and sometimes just exchanging some jokes to start the day cheerfully. For the internship, I stayed in Zürich on the ETH Hönggerberg Campus, and I shared an office with two PhD students in computational physics. At lunchtime, the group would gather and go to lunch together, either staying in the common space or going to the canteen on the campus, followed by coffee and interesting discussions about various general topics. Thanks to the possibility of flexible working hours, I had the freedom to go to sports classes or to some interesting talks at ETH that took place during the day.

What will you take home from this experience?

I certainly acquired many skills and gained a lot of experience during my internship. I really appreciated the working environment and the calm atmosphere at CSCS. Especially, I enjoyed exchanging not only knowledge and ideas in different fields with my colleagues, but also personal interests and thoughts. Moreover, I am happy that while I was learning a lot from my supervisors, they would also learn from my knowledge in quantum computing. I am very thankful for this experience and all I have been taught during my internship!