QuSoft Retreat 2024: A Perfect Blend of Work and Relaxation on Texel

From June 4th to 7th, 2024, the QuSoft community gathered for their third annual retreat, a tradition sparked by Harry Buhrman to enhance connection within the group after the isolating COVID-19 period. This year’s event took place in a charming house in De Koog on the island of Texel, continuing the tradition of fostering collaboration and relaxation in a scenic setting.

Origins and Purpose

The QuSoft retreat originated from Buhrman’s vision of creating more cohesion among researchers who had experienced long periods of remote work and isolation due to the pandemic. The first two retreats were held in Drenthe, near Steenwijk, in a rustic house with essential amenities, accommodating over 30 participants. These retreats focused on a balance of intensive work sessions and outdoor relaxation, featuring collaborative brainstorming with projectors, screens, flip charts, and post-its. Special guests like Gilles Brassard joined, adding depth to the discussions.

A New Setting on Texel

This year, the retreat moved to De Koog on Texel, near the beach, offering a perfect blend of accessibility and scenic beauty. Some participants even biked to the venue, emphasizing the retreat’s informal and active spirit. Despite a few light showers, the weather largely cooperated, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities.

Special Guest and Culinary Delights

The retreat’s special guest was Mario Szegedy, who quickly adapted to the retreat’s unique atmosphere. A highlight of this year’s event was the self-prepared, largely vegetarian meals led by Filippo Girardi and Poojith U Rao, which added a communal and homely touch to the retreat.

Program Highlights

Tuesday, June 4th:

15:00 Arrival of participants

18:30 Dinner by Filippo and Francesco

20:00 Evening free games

Wednesday, June 5th:

09:00 Breakfast

10:30 Talk by Mario Szegedy titled “Why Quadratic?”

11:30 Student Lightning Talks 1:

    • Ailsa Robertson: “Quantum Impact on Societal Security”
    • Markus Heinrich: “(In)stability of Classical Shadows under Gate-Dependent Noise”

12:30 Lunch

15:00 Student Lightning Talks 2:

    • Davi Silva: “Symmetric Quantum Computation”
    • Randy Lin: “MIP*, Connes Embedding Conjecture, and Tracial Embeddable Strategies”
    • John van de Wetering: “Optimizing T Count is Hard”

16:00 Free time

18:30 Dinner by Poojith and Manideep

20:00 Free time

Thursday, June 6th:

09:00 Breakfast

10:30 Soul Finding in pre-assigned groups

12:30 Lunch

14:00 Afternoon Math Game

18:30 Dinner at Restaurant Noordzee, Badweg, De Koog

Friday, June 7th:

09:00 Breakfast

10:00 Departure

Memorable Moments

While senior and junior researchers might highlight different aspects, a universally appreciated element was the harmonious blend of work and relaxation. The retreat concluded with overall positive feedback from the first nineteen exit surveys, indicating a successful and enriching experience.


The retreat saw the participation of 38 QuSofters. The attendees included:

Adam Burchardt, Ailsa Robertson, Amin Shiraz Gilani, Christian Schaffner, Daan Planken, Davi de Castro Silva, Dyon van Vreumingen, Filippo Girardi, Florian Speelman, Francisco Mele, Gina Muuss, Harry Buhrman, Hemant Sharma, John van de Wetering, Jonas Helsen, Jop Briet, Jordi Weggemans, Junqiao Lin, Kareljan Schoutens, Léo Colisson, Lia Yeh, Llorenç Escolà Farràs, Luis Antonio Gómez Pérez, Lynn Engelberts, Manideep Mamindlapally, Mario Szegedy, Maris Ozols, Markus Heinrich, Marten Folkertsma, Poojith U Rao, Rene Allerstorfer, Ronald de Wolf, Sebastian Verschoor, Sebastian Zur, Stacey Jeffery, Susanne van Dam, Victor Land.


The retreat ended with participants cleaning up and packing, taking one last look at the island before returning to the mainland. This enriching experience has set the stage for another retreat in preparation, promising further opportunities for collaboration and research within the QuSoft community.


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