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Ethan Wang

Ethan Wang

2022 Davidson Fellow
$10,000 Scholarship

Age: 18
Hometown: Mequon, WI

Science: “Efficient Quantum State Preparation for the Cauchy Distribution Based on Piecewise Arithmetic”

About Ethan Wang

My name is Ethan Wang. I am a first-year college student at Harvard College and recent graduate of Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisconsin. I plan to study to study Applied Mathematics and Electrical Engineering.

Aside from scientific research, I enjoy playing basketball, playing golf, and solving Rubik’s cubes in my free time. I have also played trumpet for around 6 years now.

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"I am extremely honored to have been named a Davidson Fellow this year. Becoming a Davidson Fellow not only means being a part of a highly gifted group but also proves that cutting-edge research, such as quantum computing, is accessible to high school students."

Project Description

Quantum computers significantly enhance the computation capability through a paradigm
change on how the computation is performed. In order to conduct these operations, a process
called state preparation needs to be conducted beforehand. My project creates a new method of state preparation that expands the scope of the existing quantum Monte Carlo algorithm to applications such as drug discoveries, industrial manufacturing, and many more.

Deeper Dive

In my project, I developed a quantum algorithm that significantly reduces the computational complexity of state preparation for quantum computation. The field of quantum computing could provide massive speedup over its current classical counterparts through a paradigm shift on how computation is performed. However, quantum computing is still in its infancy, and its success depends on a multitude of factors, mainly quantum hardware and quantum algorithms. My project focused on specifically expanding the scope of quantum algorithms. Specifically, it extends the quantum Monte Carlo algorithm, from the normal distribution to much broader use cases. My interest in quantum computing first came from an independent physics class I took in my junior year of high school where I learned about quantum mechanics. As I learned more about quantum mechanics, I looked to quantum computing as a real application to the quantum theory I was learning. From there, I began my research project which developed into a transformative research experience with greater real-world implications.

One of the biggest challenges that I faced in this project was learning the background of quantum computing and quantum algorithms. As a high school student, I had minimal exposure to formal education on quantum computing. Fortunately, there are abundant resources widely available online. I began gathering information about it from sources like online seminars from CERN Laboratory, class notes from CS880 offered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and research papers from open-access journals. These resources were able to give me the knowledge to lift my project off the ground and grow it to the state it is in today.

My state preparation algorithm is tailored specifically to the quantum Monte Carlo Algorithm. The classical Monte Carlo algorithm has many use cases in modeling and prediction. My algorithm provides the ability for the quantum Monte Carlo algorithm to be expanded to many applications such as drug discovery, smart manufacturing, and scientific research. Furthermore, my state preparation algorithm can be expanded to a multitude of quantum algorithms and fields like cybersecurity. This allows for much more secure encryption which is the bedrock for all internet communication and e-commerce.


If you could have dinner with the five most interesting people in the world, living or dead, who would they be?

I would like to have dinner with Alan Turing, Grace Hopper, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates. I think seeing the reactions of the pioneers of computing to the modern applications we have today would be fascinating to see.

What is your absolute dream job?

Michelin Star Inspector. I would get to travel the world and eat great food.

If you had your human body, but the head of an animal, what animal would you pick?

I would choose a bird. Flying would be so cool to experience

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In The News

Mequon, Wisc. – The Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program has announced the 2022 scholarship winners. Among the honorees is 18-year-old Ethan Wang of Mequon. Wang won a $10,000 scholarship for his project, Efficient Quantum State Preparation for the Cauchy Distribution Based on Piecewise Arithmetic. He is one of only 21 students across the country to be recognized as a 2022 scholarship winner.

Download the full press release here