Quantum computing: Here’s a free online course on the basics for business pros


The European Organization for Nuclear Research is offering a free webinar about quantum computing each Friday for seven weeks.

Quantum computing concept. Circuit and qubits in background. 3D rendered illustration.

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The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is offering a set of free courses on quantum computing starting Friday, Nov. 6., Elias F. Combarro will give lectures on the basics of quantum computing for seven weeks. Combarro is an associate professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Avideo in Spain and an associate at CERN. In addition to covering the basics of quantum computing, Combarro will explain how to run algorithms on simulators and working quantum computers, including IBM Quantum Experience and D-Wave Leap.

Students do not need a background in quantum physics but an understanding of basic linear algebra and Python will be helpful.

SEE: Research: Quantum computing in the enterprise; key vendor, anticipated benefits, and impact (TechRepublic Premium)

The course covers the basic concepts of the quantum circuit model, including qubits, gates, and measures, as well as quantum algorithms and protocols. Combarro will explain which processes can be completed with a few qubits–BB84, quantum teleportation, superdense coding–and which ones required multi-qubit systems, Deutsch-Jozsa, Grover, and Shor. 

The free courses also will explain how quantum computing is relevant to optimization and simulation, with an emphasis on quantum annealing, the quantum approximate optimization algorithm, and the variational quantum eigensolver. Combarro also will cover how these techniques can be used to conduct chemistry simulations and high-energy physics problems. 

Here is the schedule for the quantum computing webinar:

  1. A practical introduction to quantum computing: Friday, Nov. 6 
  2. One- and two-qubit systems, Part 1: Friday, Nov. 13 
  3. One- and two-qubit systems, Part 2: Friday, Nov. 20
  4. Multi-qubit systems: Friday, Nov. 27
  5. Quantum algorithms for combinatorial optimization: Friday, Dec. 4 
  6. Quantum variational algorithms and quantum machine learning: Friday, Dec. 11 
  7. The future of quantum computing: Friday, Dec. 18 

The course page for each webinar includes resources and a PDF with the slides for the webinar.

Combarro has a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Oviedo and has published more than 50 research papers in international journals on topics such as Computability Theory, Machine Learning, Fuzzy Measures and Computational Algebra.

The quantum decade

CERN operates the largest particle physics lab in the world. The organization is in Geneva, Switzerland, and has 23 member states. CERN has an immersive tour of its accelerator complex to provide a public view of its numerous installations. The organization launched a Quantum Technology Initiative in June 2020 to support the “second quantum revolution.”

Honeywell hit a new milestone in quantum computing with the release of the System Model H1 at the end of October 2020. The company has seen such a spike in demand for access to its quantum computer that time slots on the H1 are sold out through the end of 2020. 

Tony Uttley, president of Honeywell Quantum Solutions, said in an interview with TechRepublic that he credits this demand to more business leaders realizing they need to get up to speed with quantum computing. 

“They are seeing other companies in their industry show up as leaders in the space and are asking themselves, ‘What are we missing?’ and ‘Are we going to fall behind?'” he said.  

IBM laid out an ambitious roadmap for its quantum computing work with plans for a 1,121 qubit system by 2023. IBM and Cambridge Quantum Computing announced the ability to generate a truly random number via quantum computing in September. 

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