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Co-Founder of Zapata Computing

PhD Candidate in Chemical Physics, Harvard University 

Age: 28

Heritage: Colombian


Notable Accomplishments:


  • Excellence in teaching award. Harvard University

  • IBM-Zerner Award for Graduate Students. 52nd Sanibel Symposium

  • Silver Medal, XII Iberoamerican Chemistry Olympiad. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Undergraduate Scholarship, Bachilleres por Colombia Mario Galan Gomez, Ecopetrol. 2007-2011.

  • Andres Bello Award for the best ICFES score in the state of Atlantico

  • Bronze Medal, XI Iberoamerican Chemistry Olympiad. Aveiro, Portugal


Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, Jhonathan Romero Fontalvo came to the US in 2014 to be part of the PhD program in Chemical Physics at Harvard University.


This was a major academic accomplishment coming from Colombia, where he completed his undergrad.


Here, he has been working on developing algorithms for quantum computers – a new type of computing device based on the laws of quantum mechanics. In particular his work has focused on developing quantum algorithms with practical application for industry in fields like chemistry and artificial intelligence


His work promises to revolutionize humanity by solving problems that are intractable on today's computers. His research group is one of the pioneers in this area.


The huge economical potential of quantum computing motivated Jhonathan and his colleagues to found Zapata computing, the first startup offering quantum algorithms as a service.


After a seed round of $5.4 million, they started operations this year and are already working with industry and hardware partners to make practical quantum computing a reality.


Although very busy with the company and his PhD program, he makes time to promote science at other levels.


He is part of Clubes de Ciencia Colombia, an organization that provides science workshops to high school students in his home country.


He also collaborates with the mentor program at the IMFAHE foundation, which provides professional development advice to undergrad students in Spain.


Zapata says that the Boston community has changed his life.


“The human talent in the Boston area is spectacular and I have learned from many people that have served as my role models.  Many of them Latinos,” he stated.


“I want to give back by helping other Latinos, specially scientists, to unleash their potential and impact their communities.”

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