John Watrous (computer scientist)

John Harrison Watrous
Residence Waterloo, ON
Fields Computer Science
Institutions University of Calgary
University of Waterloo
Institute for Quantum Computing
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison
State University of New York at Stony Brook
Doctoral advisor Eric Bach

John Harrison Watrous is a professor of computer science at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, a member of the Institute for Quantum Computing, an affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.[1][2] He was a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary from 2002 to 2006 where he held a Canada Research Chair in quantum computing.[1]

He is an editor of the journal Theory of Computing[3] and former editor for the journal Quantum Information & Computation.[4] His research interests include quantum information and quantum computation. He is well known for his work on quantum interactive proofs, and the quantum analogue of the celebrated result IP equals PSPACE, QIP equals PSPACE.[5][6][7] This was preceded by a series of results, showing QIP can be constrained to 3 messages,[8] QIP is contained in EXP,[9] and the 2-message version of QIP is in PSPACE.[10] He has also published important papers on quantum finite automata[11] and quantum cellular automata.[12] With Scott Aaronson, he showed that certain forms of time travel can make quantum and classical computation equivalent: together, the authors showed that quantum effects do not offer advantages for computation if computers can send information to the past through a type of closed timelike curve proposed by the physicist David Deutsch.[13]

He obtained his Ph.D. in 1998 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison under the supervision of Eric Bach.[14][15]


  1. 1 2 John Watrous at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research website.
  2. John Watrous at the QuantumWorks website.
  3. List of editors of Theory of Computing.
  4. List of editors of Quantum Information & Computation.
  5. Lance Fortnow (2009-07-29). "QIP = PSPACE". Computational Complexity. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  6. Dave Bacon (2009-07-28). "OMG QIP=PSPACE!". The Quantum Pontiff. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  7. Rahul Jain; Zhengfeng Ji; Sarvagya Upadhyay; John Watrous (2009). "QIP = PSPACE". arXiv:0907.4737Freely accessible [quant-ph].
  8. Watrous, John (2003). "PSPACE has constant-round quantum interactive proof systems". Theor. Comput. Sci. Essex, UK: Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd. 292 (3): 575–588. doi:10.1016/S0304-3975(01)00375-9. ISSN 0304-3975.
  9. Kitaev, Alexei; Watrous, John (2000). "Parallelization, amplification, and exponential time simulation of quantum interactive proof systems". STOC '00: Proceedings of the thirty-second annual ACM symposium on Theory of computing. ACM. pp. 608–617. ISBN 978-1-58113-184-0.
  10. Rahul Jain; Sarvagya Upadhyay; John Watrous (2009). "Two-message quantum interactive proofs are in PSPACE". arXiv:0905.1300Freely accessible [cs.CC].
  11. Kondacs, A.; Watrous, J. (1997). "Proceedings of the 38th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science": 66–75 |contribution= ignored (help).
  12. Watrous, John (1995). "On one-dimensional quantum cellular automata". Proc. 36th Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (Milwaukee, WI, 1995). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Comput. Soc. Press. pp. 528–537. doi:10.1109/SFCS.1995.492583. ISBN 0-8186-7183-1. MR 1619103.
  13. Lisa Zyga (2008-11-20). "How Time-Traveling Could Affect Quantum Computing". PhysOrg. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  14. John Watrous at the Mathematics Genealogy Project.
  15. John Watrous at the Institute for Quantum Computing directory.
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