A love for sci-fi sparked Megan Brown’s STEM path and led to quantum computing at Microsoft
Megan Brown and her cat Apollo. (Photo courtesy of Megan Brown) Megan Brown grew up in a house where an interest in science and science fiction were highly encouraged. She credits weekly viewings of the television series “Stargate SG-1” as one of the reasons she ended up in STEM.
“If you asked my dad, he’d probably tell you that one of the things he’s most proud of is imbuing my brother and I with a healthy curiosity and a love for science fiction,” Brown said. “As an adult, I’ve continued to be fascinated with emerging technology and accomplishing what previously seemed impossible.”
A program manager at Microsoft working on Azure Quantum, Brown calls the job a dream come true. Our latest Geek of the Week, originally from Montreal, moved to Seattle four years ago and is currently getting her MBA at the University of Washington.
Brown works on Microsoft’s Quantum Development Kit (QDK), which was released in 2017 and intended to empower developers to create quantum applications.
“As an emerging technology, we understand that quantum computing is new territory for most developers and one of our main goals with the QDK is to make quantum computing easier to learn and more accessible,” Brown said.
As a full-stack, open cloud ecosystem for quantum solutions, software, and hardware, Brown calls Azure Quantum a “one-stop-shop” that gives developers the freedom to create their own path to scalable quantum computing.
“Quantum-inspired solutions empower organizations to apply quantum principles to solve problems today, and have demonstrated meaningful speedup over existing classical solutions,” Brown said, citing Microsoft’s work with Case Western Reserve University as an example. Quantum-inspired algorithms enabled a 3x speedup in the time it takes to perform an MRI, or, when optimized for scan precision, a 30 percent increase in precision.
Brown said she’s a big foodie who loves exploring the restaurant scene in Seattle and when she travels. Some of her nerdier tendencies include a deep passion for “Lord of the Rings,” science fiction books, movies and TV shows. She’s currently making her way through “The Expanse” book series and highly recommends it.
Her fluffy cat is named Apollo, after the sci-fi character and the space missions, and if she’d chosen a different career path, it would have been something related to space travel or our understanding of the stars and the universe.
“As long as I can remember I’ve been incredibly fascinated by space,” Brown said. “I think if I hadn’t gotten into computer science I would have wanted to help build rockets or somehow meaningfully contribute to space exploration.”
Learn more about this week’s Geek of the Week, Megan Brown:
What do you do, and why do you do it? I’m a program manager at Microsoft working on Azure Quantum. My main areas of focus are the Quantum Development Kit and the end-to-end developer...