Media & Press

First Year Highlights

1 June, 2014

Yuan (Jake) Bian

I consider the following the highlights of my first year experience, presented in an arbitrary order.

1. Research

Throughout the school year I have been involved in the quantum information research group at UBC. My project is concerned with constructing a phase space formalism for discrete 2D quantum systems, laying out mathematical foundations for the construction as well as exploring its implications for practical schemes of quantum computing.

For the summer of 2014 I was granted a NSERC-USRA award at the high energy theory group at McGill university, where I am studying the properties of scattering processes in a model of composite dark matter.

2. Graduate level classes.

In fall 2013 I attended the lectures for PHYS 500 -UBC’s quantum mechanics course for beginning graduate students. In December I was permitted to write the final exam, and subsequently passed.

At McGill, I am participating in a graduate reading course on the AdS/CFT correspondence – an important modern advance in quantum gravity.

4. Software projects

I found time to revive an old project of mine- hypercanvas.js (, a neat piece of software that allows you to manipulate geometry in arbitrarily high numbers of spacial dimensions, in your web browser.

Another mini-project is Zeal (, a hierarchical, progress-driven task list.

I am involved in several other ongoing software projects that will be released in the upcoming couple of weeks, you will likely find them at

4. Learning

After months of digging through terse passages in textbooks, I was able to gain a solid grasp of the physics and mathematics of quantum field theory and general relativity. This was a difficult process, and it is the most rewarding project that I’ve ever undertaken. I was able to stumble through, and eventually become proficient in many of the mathematical techniques that are fundamental to theoretical physics, such as the theory of Lie groups & representations, calculus on manifolds, etc. Consequently there is now a large class of contemporary research literature in physics that has become accessible to me.

5. People

I am grateful for the researchers and graduate students that I was able to interact with in my research work, for incredible teaching delivered by some members of UBC’s faculty, and for fellow students who shared in various parts of the journey.

I am grateful to Mr. Seymour Schulich, whose generous gift made all this possible.