Quantum computing leapt from the lab to everyone’s laptops (via the cloud) in 2016. And ever since, we have been educating our now-quarter-million-plus users, and working with educators around the world to introduce quantum concepts. The need for a future workforce with a robust set of quantum computing skills drives our support for Q2Work, the National Science Foundation-funded initiative led by the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago to provide quantum education, programs, tools, and curricula to K-12 students.
The University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, both IBM Quantum Network members through the Chicago Quantum Exchange, will offer these resources with support from a unique White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and NSF Q-12 partnership with government, academia, and industry. As an industry partner, our team will provide quantum education resources and access to our quantum systems in support of training offered through the OSTP’s nine quantum concepts identified for future quantum information scientists. Our team was instrumental in drafting these key concepts, and looks forward to expanding our educational outreach efforts to the K-12 level.
Fifty years ago, IBM Fellow Charlie Bennett sketched out (pictured) the pioneering idea of quantum information theory. Fast-forward to today, and people from anywhere in the world can experiment with real quantum computers. IBM has supported government investment, such as the National Quantum Initiative Act in the US. And we’ve helped those who want to learn more by offering livestream tutorials, an online open source textbook, hackathons, and the world’s first global quantum summer school.
IBM Fellow Charlie Bennett’s quantum information theory from 1970.
To date, most of these efforts have been geared toward graduate- and undergraduate-level students. Now – through programs like Q2Work – we can begin educating students at every level to fully realizing the technology’s potential. It’s an exciting prospect to introduce young students to the foundations of quantum computing at early stages of their education, when they haven’t yet developed preconceived notions of how a computer — or the universe — works.
Founded in March 2020 just as the pandemic’s wave was starting to wash over the world, the Consortium has brought together 43 members with supercomputing resources. Private and public enterprises, academia, government and technology companies, many of whom are typically rivals. “It is simply unprecedented,” said Dario Gil, Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research, one of the founding organizations. “The outcomes we’ve achieved, the lessons we’ve learned, and the next steps we have to pursue are all the result of the collective efforts of these Consortium’s community.”
The next step? Creating the National Strategic Computing Reserve to help the world be better prepared for future global emergencies.