One of the great challenges for the sustainability of the nascent quantum computing industry is to solve the stable and continuous growth of the quantum workforce. For this to be possible, with the current level of global quantum illiteracy, societies not only have to take emergency measures to “recycle” specialists from different disciplines into the world of quantum computing, but they also have to face the urgency of essential quantum literacy.
If we think about the future of the quantum industry, we must necessarily address the underlying problem: make profound changes in educational programs from school to university levels, which end up impregnating quantum culture in society that recognizes the need to train “native” specialists in the different disciplines of quantum technologies.
At aQuantum we are not only aware of this situation, but we are very sensitive and proactive in this regard, which is why we have been contributing for years, through different actions and channels, to the continuous task of disseminating knowledge about quantum computing. For this reason, we did not miss the wonderful opportunity that teachers Esther Catalina and Jesús Martín Fernández from Educrea offered us, by proposing to hold a session on quantum computing for their high school students.
Talking about quantum computing to high school students we took it as a challenge, because we not only had to present the contents according to their knowledge but, and this was the great objective, we had to motivate them, stimulate them so that they begin to consider opting for careers enabling them to become our future colleagues in quantum computing. To achieve this, José Luis Hevia, Ezequiel Murina and Guido Peterssen, members of aQuantum, designed a thematic agenda, under the title of aQuantum in Educrea: quantum computing, to address the most relevant topics to present to the young attendees around this guide:
- What is quantum physics?
- What is quantum computing?
- What do we do at aQuantum?
In the Introduction, and also in other sections, the characteristics of quantum computing systems, the disciplines involved and the importance for the teams that they are polymaths, capable of integrating individual knowledge and skills, were explained to the students. in different disciplines in a solvent collective knowledge, and thus avoid working simply multidisciplinary. This presentation was made with the aim of showing the importance of the contributions of different specialties to the whole and helping them to visualize the different academic paths through which quantum computing can be reached professionally.
To stimulate the most interested, we also pose a challenge for volunteers: access QuantumPath® to learn about a professional environment for quantum software development and try to solve how to implement a decrement operation of a certain Boolean value and/or a random number generator.
Educrea is a Bilingual Concerted School with a Center Educational Project that establishes a common methodological identity from the beginning to the preparation for university. The activity of approaching quantum computing has been possible because Educrea promotes interest in science and technology among its students.
The activity was really comforting: attention, interest, questions from the audience to the speakers thanks to the excellent open attitude of the students to assimilate and assume the complexities of quantum computing as something not to be afraid of, but to dedicate attention and effort. At the end of the session, a good group of attendees had an unexpected, but wishful, active conversation with the speakers about the activity that has given us an excellent vision of the potential that exists among these Educrea students (and we don’t doubt that in all the schools), for the future of quantum computing. It’s clear that the generation in the audience has some advantages to overcome the complex learning curve that characterizes quantum computing.
With this activity we have taken another small step forward in the dissemination of quantum computing, and we are satisfied with this. We will be even more satisfied if we have really managed to awaken the quantum curiosity of some of those present and if in future sessions we can carry out some practical workshops. Without a doubt, this is also a challenge for us. Once we have designed the appropriate tasks for the development of quantum software with QuantumPath® by high school students, we will address it together with Educrea.
We hope that activities like these on quantum computing with young people will become more widespread in schools, that they will not be something exceptional and that sooner rather than later, they will be stimulated and supported by an increasingly necessary national quantum programme, so that no more time and opportunities are wasted in the exciting global quantum computing race.