Scott Aaronson

Scott Aaronson's picture


Scott Aaronson is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a member of the Theory of Computation and Complexity Theory groups. He holds a PhD in computer science from University of California, Berkeley, a bachelor's degree from Cornell University, and a GED (General Equivalency Diploma) from New York State. Before coming to MIT, Scott worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ from 2004-2005, and at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada from 2005-2007.

Scott's research interests center around fundamental limits on what can efficiently be computed in the physical world. This has entailed studying quantum computing, the most powerful model of computation we have based on known physical theory. Scott's work on this subject has included limitations of quantum algorithms in the black-box model; the learnability of quantum states; quantum proofs and advice; the power of postselected quantum computing and quantum computing with closed timelike curves; and linear-optical quantum computing. Scott also maintains an active interest in many topics in classical theoretical computer science, including circuit lower bounds, computational learning theory, and communication complexity.


  • National Science Foundation: Alan T. Waterman Award (2012)
  • MIT CSAIL: United States Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2010)
  • Sloan Foundation: Fellow (2009)
  • MIT EECS: Junior Bose Teaching Award (2009)
  • UC Berkeley: David J. Sakrison Memorial Prize (2005)
  • ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing 204: Danny Lewin Best Student Paper Award (2004)
  • IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity: Best Student Paper Award (2004)
  • IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity: Best Student Paper Award (2003)
  • UC Berkeley: C.V. Ramamoorthy Distinguished Research Award (2002)