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Quantum Computing Resources for High School Students
21 July, 2020
Guest post by Jack Ceroni
Over the past few years, interest in the field of quantum computing has grown dramatically, especially in communities of high school students! While lots of quantum-related educational material is scattered around the Internet, it is oftentimes difficult to find curated, accessible, and high-quality resources. This blog post aims to (hopefully) provide a comprehensive list of quantum computing-related resources and opportunities for high-schoolers. For some context, I just graduated from high school, and have been interested in quantum computing for about two years now. I have a lot of personal experience self-studying the field, and I have used/participated in some of the resources listed below!
Unfortunately, many of the programs that will be discussed have already closed their registration, or have already concluded for this year. However, many will likely end up taking place annually, so be sure to keep an eye out for any announcements or further information about next year’s cohorts!
QCSYS @ the Institute for Quantum Computing
The Quantum Cryptography School for Young Scientists (QCSYS) is a program run by the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Ontario that teaches high school students the basics of quantum cryptography and quantum computing.
Course material from QCSYS is also available online.
ISSYP @ the Perimeter Institute
The International Summer School for Young Physicists is a program run by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, also located in Waterloo. For two weeks, ISSYP teaches high school students the basics of many concepts in modern physics (not all relating to quantum computing). I participated in this program last summer, and I had an amazing experience. I really can’t recommend it enough!
Like QCSYS, a lot of ISSYP's course material is available online.
This course introduces the essential concepts used in quantum computing and explains how it's different from regular computing. Made by Brian Ingmanson, a former middle school teacher, you will learn what quantum computers can (and can't) do right now and guide you through running code on a real quantum computer. This is a true beginner level course, so no linear algebra or tough equations will be used. That being said, you will not have enough background to go get a job after this course! You'll be able to understand what quantum computing is, and know where to go if you want to learn more.
This is a program run by the Quantum Open Source Foundation where participants are paired with quantum computing experts, and, under their supervision, complete a project relating to quantum computation. While the program isn't specifically targeted towards high school students, they certainly can participate.
MIT and Coding School recently launched a summer school targeted towards high school and first-year university students, with the goal of exposing the participants to introductory quantum theory, as well as practical ideas in quantum computation.
The Qiskit Summer School is an online two-week program that includes lectures and virtual labs, focusing on many areas of quantum computation, from quantum algorithms to quantum hardware.
The QuBes Camp is a 2-week virtual summer camp specifically targeted towards high school and undergraduate students who want to begin learning about quantum programming.
Shabani Lab Mentorship Program
This is a virtual program run by NYU, open to high school and undergraduate students. The program aims to teach the participants the basic theory behind quantum devices and quantum programming.
QWorld (a Unitary Fund grant winner!) runs workshops that teach high school students the basics of quantum programming.
University of Maryland Advanced Summer Girls Program
The University of Maryland offers a summer physics summer program targeted towards high school girls.
FermiLab has released education material and other resources on the basics of quantum computing, at a high school level.
The Qiskit textbook is an online textbook that teaches quantum computation through writing code with Qiskit. The subjects that the book dives into are very broad, ranging from basic linear algebra for quantum computing, to the basics of quantum algorithms, to near-term algorithms, quantum machine learning, and quantum hardware.
The PennyLane QML Gallery is a collection of tutorials, all relating to concepts in near-term quantum algorithms and quantum machine learning. In addition to this, there are sections of the website that dive into the basics of QML and variational quantum algorithms, which are fantastic resources for students who are taking their first steps into the field.
The Brilliant.org Quantum Computing Course
This course, available through Brilliant.org, was created by Microsoft Quantum and X, the Moonshot Factory, to teach people the basics of quantum computation, quantum programming, and even some advanced concepts near-term algorithms and quantum machine learning. I have not taken this course, but I love Brilliant, so I recommend checking this out!
FutureLearn Quantum Computing Course
This is an online course run by Keio University, with the aim of teaching participants the basics of quantum computing in an accessible, mostly non-mathematical way.
The Quantum Atlas is organized like a glossary, but it offers more than just definitions. It features cartoons, animations, interactive elements and short podcasts—a multimedia approach intended to enrich your exploration of the quantum world.
Some Final Advice
The best personal advice that I can give to a quantum-curious high school student is to be active in the learning process. Absorbing information through reading/listening/watching is great, but to gain an even greater depth of understanding, it is very important to engage the material through critical thinking and problem solving. A fantastic way to "engage" when learning about quantum computing is to use the amazing quantum software tools that exist, like Qiskit, Forest, Q#, PennyLane, Cirq, and more, to simulate different quantum algorithms. You can even run your algorithm on real quantum devices for free! The courses and resources above are all amazing, and convey ideas with great clarity and accessibility. If you combine this with building things, solving tough problems, and maybe even simulating a few quantum circuits, not only will you learn more, but you’ll have much more fun while doing it!
Thanks to everyone who submitted suggestions for this list on Twitter. If you’d like to suggest a program please open up a pull request into this post on Github!