Vishnu Iyer

Email: [first name].[last name]
Address: Gates-Dell Complex 4.504C

Bio / Research / Publications / Teaching / Service


I am a third-year PhD student at UT Austin, where I am advised by Scott Aaronson and supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. My research interests are in complexity theory and quantum information. Previously, I was an undergraduate studying EECS at UC Berkeley, where I was incredibly fortunate to be advised by Avishay Tal and Prasad Raghavendra. During the summer of 2023, I was an intern at Sandia National Laboratories mentored by Ojas Parekh. For more details, you can find my CV here.

Outside of my academics, I am interested in nature, tennis, basketball, and gaming. I am also very passionate about civil rights and environmental issues. During my free time, you can find me playing basketball/tennis, gaming, and rooting for Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

In Spring 2024, I will be a long-term participant at the Simons Institute program on Quantum Algorithms, Complexity, and Fault Tolerance.

Research Overview

I am broadly interested in quantum information and complexity theory. Concretely, some topics of my research include:


  1. Agnostic Tomography of Stabilizer Product States (ArXiV)
    with Sabee Grewal, William Kretschmer, and Daniel Liang

  2. Pseudoentanglement Ain't Cheap (ArXiV)
    with Sabee Grewal, William Kretschmer, and Daniel Liang
    TQC 2024

  3. PDQMA = DQMA = NEXP: QMA With Hidden Variables and Non-collapsing Measurements (ArXiV)
    with Scott Aaronson, Sabee Grewal, Simon Marshall, and Ronak Ramachandran

  4. On the Rational Degree of Boolean Functions and Applications (ArXiV)
    with Siddhartha Jain, Matt Kovacs-Deak, Vinayak Kumar, Luke Schaeffer, Daochen Wang, and Michael Whitmeyer

  5. Efficient Learning of Quantum States Prepared With Few Non-Clifford Gates (ArXiV I) (ArXiV II)
    with Sabee Grewal, William Kretschmer, and Daniel Liang
    QIP 2024

  6. Improved Stabilizer Estimation via Bell Difference Sampling (ArXiV)
    with Sabee Grewal, William Kretschmer, and Daniel Liang
    QIP 2024, STOC 2024

  7. Low-Stabilizer-Complexity Quantum States are not Pseudorandom (ArXiV)
    with Sabee Grewal, William Kretschmer, and Daniel Liang
    ITCS 2023 (Best Student Paper Award)

  8. Junta Distance Approximation with sub-Exponential Queries (ECCC)
    with Avishay Tal and Michael Whitmeyer
    CCC 2021


I am keenly interested in teaching computer science and have served on course staff for 8 different course offerings:

UT Austin: UC Berkeley:
In 2019, I received the Oustanding GSI award from the UC Berkeley Graduate Division, for which I am incredibly grateful to my students and mentors. My full evaluations at UC Berkeley can be found here.


I believe that my role as an academic involves service. As an undergraduate, I served on the EECS Undergraduate Study Committee (UGSC), interfacing with professors to address issues such as elitism and discrimination. In addition, I worked with the department to design, administer, and analyze the annual undergraduate experience survey. My work in this area helped facilitate a number of reforms, including the EE/CS community week and calls for culture change within EECS extracurricular groups.

In Fall 2022, I was a volunteer with Texas Prison Education Initiative, where I taught UT Austin's introductory mathematics course to inmates.

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