Dr. Suzanne Gildert

This section used to say:

‘I’m an experimental Physicist working in the field of quantum devices’.

But I’m not sure that’s accurate anymore. I’m more interested in the big picture: Can Physics tell us about what it is possible to do, build, and be within our Universe?

During the day I work for D-Wave Systems, helping to build and sell the world’s first commercial quantum computers. I work on communicating to people why these systems will be a revolutionary addition to the family of modern computing tools. Factoring? Encryption? No. These systems are much better applied to artificial intelligence, genomics, bio-informatics and next-generation search. We’re building hardware and applications to demonstrate to the world why we need new computing paradigms.

By night I research the philosophical foundations of Artificial General Intelligence. That’s basically trying to work out whether it is possible to build machines that are more intelligent than humans. This blog is in part dedicated to communicating the results of such musings. When contemplating the fate of humanity becomes a bit overwhelming, I relax by painting and writing. I create fantasy, gothic and dark art, using both traditional methods and digital painting techniques. You can visit my artpage here. I have a book of art and poetry published. I also enjoy programming, web design, entrepreneurship, picnics, sporting odd gothic/victorian costumes, visiting quaint village tea shoppes and cathedrals, transhumanism, and a variety of other things too numerous to list.

I love reading. I’m a big fan of sci-fi and popular science books. I’m generally interested in weird and wonderful theories of physics, AI, quantum computing, complexity, social physics, mathematics, neuroscience, technological progress and the links between all these topics. I also enjoy attending conferences, lectures, and generally meeting people who are also interested in learning more about the world.

Why ‘Physics and Cake’ ?

The idea of physics being combined with cake is somewhat of an oxymoron, to symbolise the concept of physics as an everyday topic, something you might discuss over a cup of tea and a slice of cake. This is something I personally would like to see happening. I think that scientists have earned a stereotype as being unapproachable and incomprehensible, for several reasons including the way in which academia operates and is funded. In addition, many people just wouldn’t hold a conversation about science in a social surrounding, which in part is due to low media coverage of scientific progress. This blog is a small effort towards trying to change some of those misconceptions and misrepresentations.
It’s also a deliberate meme to get people to remember the site. It seems to work 🙂


Feel free to contact me at suzannegildert(at)gmail com (Replace space with a dot). I’m happy to speak about one or more of my areas of interest at conferences and events.
To learn more about my AGI research topics and projects that I’m currently working on, please check out the AGI Research Page.
For information about D-Wave Systems, please visit the D-Wave Homepage.

19 thoughts on “About

  1. cakeontthebrain says:


    you fit the description of very nice (that means hot:P and good looking) with a great pair of brains..your current human counterpart is very lucky indeed

    just to give you an ego boost:P


    some guy

  2. Bill says:

    You are awesome.

  3. Quputer says:

    You are beautiful!

  4. Giovani Galicia says:

    Hi Dr. Gildert,

    Your website is awesome. I am really interested in Quantum Computing but I don’t know where to start. Any tips or ideas?

    Thank you for your time,


    • physicsandcake says:

      What level are you at currently? Are you at University? I would suggest either taking Physics or Theoretical Computer Science courses, a mixture of both is best if possible.

      The Wikipedia pages on quantum computing aren’t too bad, and there’s Quantiki too: http://www.quantiki.org/ which has some good introductory materials…

      A few of the blogs in my Blogroll are fairly quantum-biased too, and can keep you up to date with the latest developments.

  5. Albert says:

    Physicist, transhumanist, geek, very beautiful, goth… a dream… 🙂

  6. Tim Cordova says:

    As time permits, I try and follow (and keep somewhat up) on those making their advances in this field. I like the information you’ve supplied in this blog including links. I was familiar with some. I to would like to see the advancement of an operable system come to fruition preferably before twenty years. I feel, after all that I’ve been reading and watching, that the answer to some of the systems difficulties are, as with most, squarely in our face yet not visibly tangible. Here’s is a thought that has helped me break barriers in my own systems development (not related to Quantum Computers): All systems must obtain a balance within all the working elements for maximum gain or efficiency. (both independent and environmental related) All systems have an optimum temperature and preferably closer to adiabatic such the more efficient. Many “systems” in nature provide plenty proof of that. I think looking into the entire operational characteristics to your system(s) environment to create independent temperature zones will help in the adiabatic transit. Isolating the chip is only part of the entire operating system, correct me if I’m wrong. Individual controls in the systems (qubit barriers) via adiabatic symmetry may be an option to explore. I hope I’ve explained that well enough to spark an idea or two. Is there not a heat sink variable control application (or device or sorts) for the chip while in the process of collecting data? Perhaps I missed that. You mentioned it had to cool down. Anything that produces heat energy at some point there should be a means to collect it’s output for the gain of system efficiency through some method of stabilization/control. That same energy may be utilized to help in controls. If you feel this is not the case, I would like to hear your thoughts and only if you have the time. I hope I’ve made some valid points although a bit outside my specialties.

  7. Tim Cordova says:

    Also this was just published or released at CQC if you haven’t read it already. http://arxiv.org/abs/1005.2114

  8. James Hart says:


    I have just found your blog and find it fascinating, and I’m glad that you are really enjoying what you are doing.

    I was wondering whether I could ask you for some physics related advice.

    I’m currently at university, studying Materials Science, and was wondering what you think my chances are of going into Physics research (nanoscience related areas), I have wanted to go into academia for a long time, do you think it is worth trying to get into the more Physics based areas or should I stick to Materials Science?


  9. jameswmh says:


    Great Blog, I’ve enjoyed reading it. Its a fascinating insight to the physics research environment. I was just wondering if i could ask you for a little advice, I’m a student studying Materials Science, and want to go into academia/research, within a university. But where i want to go is into the field of physics, more than Materials Science, I am particularly interested in (superconductivity, and nanowires/nanotubes). I was just wondering whether you think that somebody with a materials science background would be able to make the transition. And also if you could give me any advice on becoming a researcher, how to go about being accepted for a PhD etc.


    I look forward to reading your blog in future.


  10. Steve Murray says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Just a few questions:

    1. What variable are you measuring in the Josephson Junction, and how do you overcome the Uncertainty Principle?

    2. The idea of a Quantum Computer would mean the end of the idea of memory as disparate cells of storage. In a quantum computer the memory would contain “all” possible values at once (simultaneously). How would you overcome the uncertainty principle after a read of one of those memory cells? (Data Structures could only be used once as any future reads would become uncertain)

    3. What plans are there for a Quantum Computing Language. It would have to be be on some sort of Probabilistic Calculus, as any Imperative or Declarative language couldn’t cope.

    Thanks for your time.

  11. SMOKER! says:

    Yes, you get cookin’ on yer science. Then, soon we shall be able to create a black hole in space that could eliminate all that plasma headed our way from those nasty solar flares. I, will be busy competing with some genius’ sperm in a bank, or searching for a sane surrogate mother and failing miserably–most likely the latter. 😛

  12. Aaron Nelson says:

    Dr. Gildert,

    I have a question that’s probably right up your alley…I hope so at least. 🙂

    I’m a baking and pastry student at the Art Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve learned about tunneling in cakes and what causes it, which is over-mixing. However, I don’t understand why the pockets are long tunnels and not round holes.

    Thanks in advance!!


  13. Joel Rice says:

    Just discovered this – via arcadian. When I am not trying to make sense of octonion algebra I’m trying to get this Carrot Cake right – some grannySmith apples and craisins maybe – worked out ok.

  14. Brian Nelson says:

    Hello Suzanne
    Stumbled onto your site while searching singularities in physics, my latest interest.

    In the interest of eliminating singularities in physics, I’ve developed new quantized versions of Plank’s Law, Einstein’s enery equation and deBroglie’s wave equation. Identical results, no singularities. Basically I quantized the quantum.

    check it out at http://www.nosingularities.com and we can discuss.


  15. Hi Dr. Gildert,

    I stumbled onto your blog site while researching D-Wave. I have a physics question for you that I hope you will find interesting:

    The beginnings of the experiments that led to Quantum Physics (from *my* understanding of history, this might not be quite accurate) was the Double Slit Experiment where the evidence supported the idea that the particle of interest was not in a single state as we think of it (in Newtonian Physics) but was in a superstate (or summation) of all possible single-states. Further, the act of measuring or ‘observing’ caused the superstate to collapse and the particle’s wave-band picture degenerated to a simple double band. (Note: IANAEP, nor do I play one at home, so please forgive my inaccuracies etc.)

    Now, this superposition of states is often used in New-Age writings to say that this ‘observation’ is done by a conscious entity. Running wild with this notion, the idea is formed that Quantum Physics proves that physical reality is controlled, manipulated, constructed by our consciousness. My questions are: how does experimental physics actually measure the presence of the particle in the Double Slit Experiment and why do they, as well as many others use the term ‘observe’ instead of measure? To me these are two separate ideas: one refers to a conscious entity ( ‘observes’ ) and the other to a non-conscious entity (‘measure’). That is, I believe that the act of *measuring* in the DSExperiment caused the superstate to collapse. It didn’t stick around for a week before someone actually read the computer report!

    So why are these two confused together, or what am I missing here, or has physics actually made a statement here about the nature of consciousness?

    • Anonymous says:


      What you’re missing is that words are domain-specific. The colloquial meanings are just not the same as the scientific meanings, and any confusion is yours alone. See: Dunning-Kruger effect.

      Your questions are also not even remotely interesting, and if you had bothered to spend five minutes reading Wikipedia you would have at least seen how wrong you are. It doesn’t take an expert to do that.

      Since consciousness does not have a rigorous definition, the word does not exist in the physics domain, so there is no way to make statements about it.

      Young’s double-slit experiment only provided evidence for the wave nature of light. Arguably, the history of quantum mechanics started with Boltzmann, and the earliest relevant experiment was after Einstein, which involved the photoelectric effect.

      Please put down the new-age writing and step away. Recovery is possible.

  16. Brad Hines says:

    Hey there…

    I am trying to develop a children’s television animated series aimed at getting young girls interested in math and science. I need suggestions on specific things like what girls should be taught, how to speak to them, and how high a level of science kids of a certain age can be taught etc.

    This is to be a crowdsourced project, and I am looking for advice and writing tips from all places. Please check it out at your leisure and leave comments and suggestions.


    Thank you kindly,

    Brad Hines
    Internet Entrepreneur/President of YumDomains.com
    617 519 7687
    @Brad Hines

  17. Johnnie says:

    Dr. G,

    cake is a good thing and very British. But don’t eat too much. Carbohydrates really slow down one’s thought processes.

    Eat meat for processing speed! Cheers from Burgundy

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