(News.FNAL.gov) 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.
The 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 Fermilab ensured that the science is sound.
The course guides 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.
Quantum computing will affect the future of every area of science, so the need for a quantum-fluent workforce is great. With this quantum computing course, Fermilab scientists are breaking new ground in both quantum computing research and ensuring the competitiveness of the STEM workforce in the quantum era.