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This is a very vague question but I would like to do research in mathematics, specifically quantum computation and I'm not really too sure how one goes about developing a topic to investigate. I've done previous work in quantum chemistry quite successfully but it was quite different because I had a professor say "this is what we're going to do, now figure it out..." , obviously research of that type is by no means "trivial" (i.e. just because you have a topic doesn't make the solution obvious), but I'm at the point where I want to develop my own research and tell myself "this is what I'm going to do, now figure it out..." but unfortunately I don't really know how to do this .... My level of education is a masters in applied mathematics, and I'd really like to "do" quantum computation research but need some level of direction. I suppose many people have this problem to some degree; in the (natural) sciences, we get around this often by pro-longing the period "training" through things such as post-docs, I don't think this exists usually for mathematicians. So, equivalently, how does a fresh graduate from a phd program decide what he/she will research? How does one start a new investigation? Btw, would appreciate any research topics for quantum computation that are both interesting but not unapproachable (i.e. not the 'Fermat's theorem' of q.comp.)

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Are you currently at a University? If so, talk with professors in your department and see what interests you. –  Austin Mohr Aug 17 '12 at 19:26
Maybe this question is better served at academia.stackexchange.com ? –  user2468 Aug 17 '12 at 19:37
Before you start doing research, it would be good to develop a sense of when to begin a new paragraph! –  rschwieb Aug 17 '12 at 20:17
at rschwieb, I'm not particularly interested in knowing when to write a new paragraph, as my question was labeled "soft" if you aren't interested move on to another question. –  Squirtle Aug 17 '12 at 21:06
@dustanalysis Being able to express yourself clearly in words and in mathematical symbols is a huge prerequisite for doing research. It is a basic sign of ability to communicate and think clearly. As a case in point, this post is tempting to close because it is hard to read. –  rschwieb Aug 21 '12 at 16:03
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closed as off topic by William, Did, Austin Mohr, lhf, rschwieb Aug 17 '12 at 20:15

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