EDUCAUSE Review:  Quantum Computing and Implications for Higher Education!

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Dear Commons Community,

The EDUCAUSE Review had a fine article earlier this week that brought us up-to-date on current progress in quantum computing.  Its development is ongoing with a number of major corporations investing significant resources into applications using this technology. The article concludes with a section on the implications for higher education (see below).

This is timely information on the part of EDUCAUSE.



Excerpt from the EDUCAUSE Review

Quantum Computing: Current Progress and Future Directions

Authors:  Triniti Dungey, Yousef Abdelgaber, Chase Casto, Josh Mills and Yousef Fazea

Implications for Higher Education

The world of education is always looking for new opportunities to grow and prosper. Many higher education institutions have begun extensive research with quantum computing, exploiting the unique properties of quantum physics to usher in a new age of technology including computers capable of currently impossible calculations, ultra-secure quantum networking, and exotic new quantum materials.

  • Researchers at the University of Oxford are interested in quantum research because of its enormous potential in fields such as healthcare, finance, and security. The university is regarded worldwide as a pioneer in the field of quantum science. The University of Oxford and the University of York demonstrated the first working pure state nuclear magnetic resonance quantum computer.
  • Researchers at Harvard University have established a community group—the Harvard Quantum Initiative in Science and Engineering—with the goal of making significant strides in the fields of science and engineering related to quantum computers and their applications. According to the research conducted by the group, the “second quantum revolution” will expand on the first one, which was responsible for the development of global communication, technologies such as GPS avigation, and medical breakthroughs such as magnetic resonance imaging.
  • Researchers at the Department of Physics of the University of Maryland, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Laboratory for Physical Sciences are part of the Joint Quantum Institute, “dedicated to the goals of controlling and exploiting quantum systems.”
  • Researchers at MIT have built a quantum computer and are investigating areas such as quantum algorithms and complexity, quantum information theory, measurement and control, and applications and connections.
  • Researchers at the University of California Berkeley Center for Quantum Computation and Information are working on fundamental quantum algorithms, cryptography, information theory, quantum control, and the experimentation of quantum computers and quantum devices.
  • Researchers at the University of Chicago Quantum Exchange are focusing on developing new approaches to understanding and utilizing the laws of quantum mechanics. The CQE encourages collaborations, joint projects, and information exchange among research groups and partner institutions.
  • Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China are exploring quantum optics and quantum information. Main areas of interest include quantum foundation, free-space and fiber-based quantum communications, superconducting quantum computing, ultra-cold atom quantum simulation, and quantum metrology theories and theories-related concepts.

One broad implication for higher education is that quantum computing will open up new careers for the students of tomorrow. In addition, this technology will allow for a precise prediction of the job market growth overall and of the demand for skilled and knowledgeable workers in all fields. In the near future, the power of quantum computing will be unleashed on machine learning. In education, quantum-driven algorithms will make informed decisions on student learning and deficits, just as quantum computing is expected to revolutionize medical triage and diagnosis. Also, quantum computing will power a new era in individual learning, knowledge, and achievement. This will occur through the timely processing of huge amounts of student data, where quantum computers may eventually possess the ability to take control of designing programs that can adapt to students’ unique achievements and abilities as well as backfilling specific areas where students might need help. These aspects of quantum computing are essential to achieving the goal of truly personalized learning.

Gaining access to any of the world’s relatively few physical quantum computers is possible via the cloud. These computers include the 20+ IBM Quantum System One installations currently in the United States, Germany, and Japan, with more planned in the United States, South Korea, and Canada. Anyone with an internet connection can log in to a quantum computer and become educated on the fundamental of quantum programming. For example, IBM offers a variety of quantum-focused education programs including access to quantum computers, teaching support, summer schools, and hackathons. The IBM Quantum Educators and Researchers programs and Qubit by Qubit’s “Introduction to Quantum Computing” are just two examples of the quantum computing resources that are accessible to both educators and students.

Such initiatives are absolutely necessary. Colleges and universities worldwide need to collaborate in order to close the current knowledge gap in quantum education and to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers.


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