Posted in: Quantum Computing

A quantum experience at Maker Faire

Replay: A Beginner’s Guide to Quantum Computing
Dr. Talia Gershon at Maker Faire Bay Area 2017

###This article was updated on May 31, 2017###

Quantum gyroscope

Mechanical gyroscope

We are taking our new 16 qubit quantum processor on the road, to the Bay Area Maker Faire, from May 19-21. I’ll be there, along with 15-20 other IBMers from our Almaden lab. Our goal: help you learn about quantum computing – and why it’s awesome!

Haven’t spent time experimenting with the IBM Q experience, yet? Not a problem. Come by the booth and get a crash course in how to program it. Then, you can log in and try your own experiments for FREE. Yes, on a real quantum device. The world’s most advanced public quantum computer, to be exact.

We’ve also created brand new demos that will help you understand how qubits work. Ever played with a gyroscope? It can help you learn about quantum states and how we manipulate them. With the mechanical gyroscope, we can change the state by applying mechanical torques. With qubits, we do it with microwave pulses!

box1Terms like “quantum superposition” will suddenly make more sense once you play with our 3D printed boxes that behave (kind of) like qubits. The LEDs inside change color, depending on how you observe and manipulate the boxes. In some cases, they’ll even abide by the laws of quantum randomness! Not sure what that means? We’ll tell you all about it at the booth.

How do multiple qubits work together? Well, you can get the details online. But, it helps to be able to “see” and “touch” quantum experiments in the physical world. That’s why we rigged up a DIY board with five LEDs to the IBM Q experience in the cloud. It’s designed to bring quantum into the physical world through colorful visualizations.

box2Set up any experiment you want through our web interface, then get your results back in a colorful LED string, almost like you’re seeing the qubits themselves. We’ve included a button for repeating your experiment – again, to teach you about quantum randomness. Run the same code multiple times and you might get different results.

With all these demos, we hope to inspire you to MAKE something yourself when you get home. We’d love to know what ideas you have, so share them at #IBMQ and #MakerFaire.

For a true crash course in why we’re so excited about this, join me on Sunday, May 21, on center stage in zone seven, for a Beginner’s Guide to Quantum Computing. I will go into more detail about what real problems quantum computing will solve, what people are already doing with our quantum processor, and how you can keep experimenting well after Maker Faire.

LED2By the time you go home, you’ll be telling your friends they’re thinking too classically. And you’ll even be able to explain what that means!

See you there!

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Talia Gershon, research staff member

Talia Gershon

Research Staff Member, IBM Research