Kevin Zielnicki
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Quantum State Engineering 101

Or: Make Pure Quantum States of Light With This One Weird Trick*

In my past life, I worked as a quantum mechanic in Paul Kwiat’s group at the University of Illinois, where we shoot crystals with lasers and do fun things with photons. In this post I’m going to tell you a bit about my research on producing photons in pure quantum states. I hope anyone with any level of background can get something out of this, but it will help if you know what a photon is, and a little bit about quantum mechanics.

There are many reasons why we might want to produce pure quantum states: for technologies like quantum computing, quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation, or just to better understand the universe. But what do we mean by a pure state?

Tools of the trade: lenses, mirrors, lasers, and prisms

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Word Frequency, Zipf's Law, and Finding Trends

This was originally written in January, 2014.

Word Frequency

Word frequency for some selected terms

In my previous post, I wrote about a poem-finding algorithm which digs through user comments from the New York Times to search for poems. But what else can we do with the thousands of comments posted every day?

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Poem? I 'ardly know 'em!

Or: Using Machine Learning to Identify Poetic Comments

This was originally posted in January, 2014 as a fun machine learning primer / example problem.

Sometimes when reading the New York Times comments—between disgruntled complaints, armchair economics, and political banter—one stumbles across that rare gem, the comment poem:

But why should we have to sort through hundreds of regular comments and wait for a poem to catch our eyes? In this age of text mining, big data, and information extraction, shouldn’t a computer be able to do this for us? Well, whether or not this strikes you as a reasonable question to ask, the answer turns out to be yes! I wrote some code to do just that, and to find out how, read on…

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