Quantum computing Summer School points students toward the future

Not long ago, scientists dreamed of a future where subatomic particles could power a computer that is more than 100 million times as fast as a supercomputer. The future is arriving by way of quantum computing, and an EIT Digital summer course is helping innovators take advantage of it.

The EIT Digital summer course entitled “Quantum Computing and Information” breaks down this exciting new field with lectures, practical work and excursions. Students will have the opportunity to virtually access and use a computer with quantum capabilities. Like all EIT Digital courses, this one also offers entrepreneurship training, and students will be encouraged to develop ideas for startups.

Delivered at Université Côte d’Azur in Nice, France, the course features training and social events at the downtown campus and the beautiful seaside location of the Hotel Saint Paul.

The instructors who created the course provide the viewpoints of an investor, a quantum communications startup and an expert in promoting education in the quantum industry. They make a case for the impact of quantum computing:

“The development of information and communications technologies based on quantum physics will dramatically change several key domains for the economy of the future,” the course developers explain in a written interview.

What quantum computing does

Quantum computers use the quantum state of a subatomic particle, such as an electron or photon, before its value is designated, to define a qubit. A qubit has infinite potential values while a binary computer bit only has two potential values: zero or one. The remarkable computing speed enabled by a qubit grows exponentially as new qubits are added, according to Investopedia.

Quantum computers have several advantages over regular computers, the EIT Digital course developers explain:

  • High computing speed.
  • Superior capacity to simulate physical and biological systems, assisting in development of new chemicals and medicines.
  • Better internet security through new quantum cryptography systems.
  • In the long term, quantum computers could supercharge the Internet of Things.

The first applications using quantum cryptography to enhance internet security are being commercialised already, and some other quantum computing applications are on the market.

“Quantum computers are still in the prototyping stage in research laboratories. Quantum simulators are however already a commercial solution for exploiting non universal quantum algorithms on specific tasks,” say the instructors. “Clients of such devices focus on their applications for case studies in materials, logistics, and energy optimisation.”

Innovators can find a range of commercial opportunities, instructors say.

“Startup applications in quantum computer and simulation range from software to middleware and hardware,” they say.

What you’ll learn

The course covers practical and theoretical topics, as well as entrepreneurship.

Hands-on work includes writing code for a quantum computer in Python and running the code on a virtual machine offering quantum computing capabilities (e.g., IBM Qiskit).

Key topics covered:

  • Basics: qubit definition, axioms of quantum mechanics.
  • Quantum instruction set and quantum circuits.
  • Quantum algorithms.
  • Quantum cryptography.
  • Quantum networks.
  • Post quantum security and algorithms.

In addition to lectures and practical work, students will work on mini projects that help them understand advanced topics. The course will end in a pitch contest, where students can show off their ideas for new businesses.

Students who complete the course will have the knowledge needed to help bring on a future where quantum computers can change our lives.

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Co-Funded by the European Union