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At Grace Hopper Celebration, A Starter's Guide to Quantum Programming

When IBM launched the IBM Q Experience in 2016, it was a radically open way to get people engaged with quantum computing, making it possible for anyone to experiment with this emerging technology. Since then, nearly 100,000 developers, researchers, students, educators, and others have joined the Q Experience and run more than 6 million experiments on the systems, leading to more than 120 published research papers.

This week, at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, IBM Q’s Katie Pizzolato and Sarah Sheldon advanced the message of open access with a demonstration of how to program a quantum computer, as well as exploring why it’s important for attendees to get ready for quantum, now. The demo showed attendees how to get started in just 15 minutes.

“Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize many fields, but it is hard to build up an intuition for how quantum computing works,” says Sheldon, an experimental quantum computing scientist. “We want people to write quantum programs for themselves and see how they run on real quantum systems.”

Using Jupyter notebooks and Qiskit, the Python-based quantum programming framework developed by IBM Q, they demonstrated Grover’s search algorithm, which shows the advantage a quantum computer can have over a standard computer in searching databases, as it scales.

“We believe that within five years, the industry will have developed applications a quantum computer, used alongside a standard computer, will be able to solve in the areas of chemistry, optimization, and AI,” says Pizzolato, the global client lead for IBM’s commercial quantum computing program, the IBM Q Network

“You don’t have to be a PhD in physics to contribute to quantum computing,” she adds. From chemists, to computer scientists, and those who want to learn about the next generation of computing, these IBM Q advocates want to welcome the Grace Hopper attendees to the field as much as they are introducing them to the technology. Browse some of these diverse opportunities at IBM Q.