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Fermilab Scientists Publish Quantum Computing Course for High School Students

By IQT News posted 03 Jul 2020

(HPCWire) Fermilab regularly makes fundamental science discoveries and is a world leader in quantum physics. In 2019, it launched the Fermilab Quantum Institute, which conducts world-class research at the leading edge of quantum computing and information science, laying the groundwork for critical physics calculations to be performed on quantum computers. As such, Fermilab is an ideal place to bring together particle physics and quantum computing as two complementary fields.
The Fermilab group developed a course, “Quantum Computing as a High School Module,” which is available on the open-access archive arXiv. The course is the first on quantum computing designed for U.S. high school students, but it is also useful for a quantum-computing-curious public. The teachers ensured that the material is at the appropriate level, and we ensured that the science is sound.
We created the course to guide students through various aspects of quantum computing without relying on prior knowledge of quantum mechanics. Conceptual ideas are reinforced with active learning techniques, such as interactive problem sets and simulation-based labs at various levels. We’ve heard that the walkthrough exercises that use IBM’s real quantum computer to build a Schroedinger’s worm (equivalent to the cat) have been a real hit.

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