What’s the big-picture impact of the mnemonic medium on readers?

Say that the Mnemonic medium helps readers remember what they read. So what?

Relative to what’s important in readers’ lives, why does this actually matter? What does it enable?


Learning from Quantum Country readers

One key challenge here is really that Quantum Country’s readers are mostly driven by curiosity, rather than a serious context of use

Comments from readers

  • Improved conversation
    • Riley Buchanan: “understanding (and retaining) what I have learned in the first essay of Quantum Country has been helpful in several conversations with friends and colleagues, even if they were had no purpose other than entertainment and fun discussion"
    • Davis Peixoto: “this certainly started lots of interesting and meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues”
  • Value of SRS for personal practice:
    • Riley Buchanan: “What Quantum Country has really done for me is teach me how valuable spaced-repetition can be. I’ve since started using Anki which has helped me pass masters-level classes with little end-of-year cramming to re-learn what I had long forgotten. I wish I knew of this trick when I was in undergrad. “
  • Did downstream exercises:
    • Iskandar Pashayev : “In the first essay, there’s a statement that every classical circuit has an equivalent quantum circuit. I thought it would be interesting to apply this by translating a Ripple Carry Adder from a classical representation to a quantum one using IBM’s quantum computing notebook. Along the way, I also learned that rather than performing a direct translation, there’s a much simpler circuit that could be used to add numbers in the quantum circuit model.”
  • Better prepared for downstream classes:
    • Jeremy Cote: “I’d say that reviewing had an impact later on when I was taking quantum computing classes, since a lot of the basics about gates and matrices were things I had already known.”
    • Kevin: I feel that I’m ready to learn more algorithms like Shor’s algorithm and to get some extended reading material like this site (https://qiskit.org/textbook/preface.html). Furthermore, I want to write some actual code that uses quantum computing with some simulation library or even a real quantum computer.


As a first step towards understanding this question, today I’m emailing a batch of Quantum Country users who have completed at least 30 review sessions over at least 270 days (20210127155851). I don’t have a clear enough articulation of what I’m actually getting at here, so I’ll start just by phishing.

106 Quantum Country users meet these criteria (sheet). A surprisingly high number—and many of them actually meet doubled criteria. But once I establish the “high end” of the impact here, it’ll be interesting to lower the criteria and to understand what happened to people who didn’t stick around quite as long. These people are truly dedicated.

Subject: Quantum Country: many months later… so what?
Hi there! I’m one of the authors of Quantum Country. I’m writing to you because you stuck with the review sessions for quite a long time.

I’d be very grateful if you could tell me: so what?

That is: big-picture, what has all that reviewing done for you? Did it have any impact on, say, follow-up studies? Projects you started? Conversations with colleagues? Your sense of self?

I’ve got lots of quantitative data, and that tells me all about people’s fine-grained memory over time. But ultimately that’s not what matters. I want to understand if/how it enables meaningful experiences in your life. And if it hasn’t, I’d love to know that too! My sincere thanks in advance for anything you might care to share.