Amar Hadzihasanovic is an Assistant Professor of Quantum Software at the Institute of Software Science since May 1.
Please introduce yourself.
I am a mathematician working at the interface of combinatorial topology, algebra, and computer science, with a special focus on quantum computing. I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, when it was still a part of Yugoslavia, and ended up growing up in Italy because of the war. I studied mathematics in Pavia, then got a doctorate in computer science from Oxford, where I also met my partner, a cultural historian. For my first postdoc we moved to Kyoto, Japan, with our cat; we returned to Europe just in time for covid, and now with a baby, too. In 2020, Professor Pawel Sobocinski invited me to join the exciting new group he was creating at TalTech, and three years later I’m an assistant professor.
What kind of knowledge and experience do you bring to your new position?
Since the beginning of my path in research, I have refused to follow trends, and tried to find my own way instead, bouncing between mathematics, computer science, and physics. This is difficult at times – you never fit 100% in any community – but it has given me a broad network and the ability to see distant connections that others would miss, which is where innovation often comes from. In the Compositional Systems and Methods group at TalTech, I have found an environment that fully embraces this ethos, starting from its very existence: a group of theoreticians and mathematicians in a university of technology!
What are your goals as a professor at TalTech?
I have so many projects, both fundamental and applied, for which I lacked the time and resources when hopping from one postdoc to the next; this position will give me the long-term prospect that I need. I want to see our group at TalTech grow into something that the best early-career researchers in our field wish to join. I want to accompany my two current doctoral students to completion, and hope to have many more. And I want to offer students at TalTech courses in quantum computing that are currently lacking.
One surprise that you have had regarding your position as a professor?
As things stand in academia, being a professor is enough of a surprise in itself!