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Software and Numerical Simulation Engineers

Rob Knegjens


Room B108/B110
Quantum Internet and Networked Computing

Rob Knegjens began studying electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. A strong interest in theoretical physics led him to change his major after two years. After graduating with an honours degree (2006, first class) he was awarded the Rutherford memorial scholarship to continue his studies abroad. He chose to do so at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, completing a masters degree in theoretical physics (2009, cum laude). Rob continued as a PhD researcher (2010-2014) in theoretical particle physics at the Nikhef institute in Amsterdam on the topic of matter-antimatter symmetry violating interactions at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Aside from physics, Rob has a passion for creating software. During his PhD he and a colleague, Damien George, co-created the Paperscape map project: an online interactive visualization of the 1 million+ articles on the ArXiv. After his PhD Rob worked as a postdoc at the TU Munich, where he continued his research on the phenomenology of quark flavour-changing processes. From there he made a career switch to industry, joining Shell as a geophysicist in 2015. Missing a research aspect to his work, he switched jobs to the Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS) department of TNO in 2016, where he has worked on multi-agent systems and discovered a fascination for quantum technology.

Rob joined QuTech in 2017 when he and colleague Julio Oliveira were tasked with developing a quantum network discrete event simulator for the theoretical groups of David Elkouss and Stephanie Wehner. Rob brought to QuTech a multi-disciplinary background in software development, Monte Carlo simulations and theoretical physics. The resulting simulator, NetSquid, is being widely used within the QINC division of QuTech, as well as in European projects such as the Quantum Internet Alliance. A beta release was made publicly available in 2020. Rob leads NetSquid’s development team.

Rob’s hobbies include ultimate frisbee, sea kayaking, boardgames, and, time permitting, personal software and 3d-printing projects.