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Women of Quantum Technology: Ieva Čepaitė, of Phasecraft

Ieva Čepaitė, Quantum Algorithms Scientist at Phasecraft, shares the story of her journey into the quantum ecosystem.
By Kenna Hughes-Castleberry posted 19 Jun 2024

Ieva Čepaitė, a Quantum Algorithms Scientist at Phasecraft, is one of the many individuals driven by curiosity to understand quantum computing. Her journey into the quantum realm is as fascinating as it is inspiring, characterized by a relentless pursuit of understanding the complexities of information and its propagation through the quantum lens.

Growing up with a profound curiosity about the universe’s mechanics, Čepaitė was particularly captivated by the enigmatic nature of information. “I’ve always wanted to know how things work because that gives me some insight into the concept of ‘information,’” she told Inside Quantum Technology. This curiosity escalated during her undergraduate years at the University of Edinburgh, where Čepaitė studied computer science and physics. During this time, she delved deeper into quantum information and computing, recognizing it as the frontier of understanding information behavior at the most fundamental levels.

Čepaitė’s academic path was notably shaped by her proactive approach to her studies. Upon discovering her interest in quantum technology, Čepaitė contacted the university’s sole research group specializing in quantum information science at the time, led by Elham Kashefi. Through persistence and passion, Čepaitė began collaborating with the group while completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. This experience solidified her resolve to further her studies, leading her to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Strathclyde, focusing on Quantum Optics and Quantum Many-Body Systems.

Today, Čepaitė’s role as a Quantum Algorithms Scientist at Phasecraft involves pioneering research in quantum algorithms to achieve quantum advantage for practical, real-world applications such as developing new materials and solving hard optimization problems. She describes her position as akin to a postdoctoral role within the industry’s dynamic environment. 

“I was quite sure I wanted to go into industry by the time I was nearing the end of my PhD – you do the same work you’d be doing in academia, but you get more freedom and perks in terms of resources,” she shared. Her transition into this role was facilitated by her active participation in conferences and an opportune tweet from Phasecraft that led to her joining the team in September 2023.

When it comes to the improvement of diversity within the quantum industry, Čepaitė offers a nuanced perspective. Despite the challenges, she acknowledges the progress made in gender diversity within the quantum sector compared to other STEM fields. 

“From my perspective, there are a lot of incredibly talented women studying STEM degrees who then decide not to continue on a STEM career path, and more needs to be done to create the right environments for them to continue into research roles,” she asserted. Her advocacy for inclusive and welcoming professional environments is a testament to her commitment to retaining female talent in the field.

Ieva Čepaitė’s contributions to quantum computing are technical and deeply influential in shaping a more inclusive future for the next generation of scientists. Her work at Phasecraft and her insights into the industry serves as a beacon for aspiring young women in quantum technology, encouraging a more diverse and equitable field.

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry is the Managing Editor at Inside Quantum Technology and the Science Communicator at JILA (a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and NIST). Her writing beats include deep tech, quantum computing, and AI. Her work has been featured in National Geographic, Scientific American, Discover Magazine, New Scientist, Ars Technica, and more.

Categories: quantum computing, research, women in quantum

Tags: Ieva Čepaitė, Phasecraft, Women in quantum

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