UChicago Launches New Quantum Industry Certificate Course

July 26, 2022 – Hannes Bernien, a professor at the University of Chicago, has been working in the field of quantum research for more than a decade.

During this time, he has witnessed a constant and powerful change: while quantum technology was once the exclusive domain of universities and government laboratories, financial services, telecommunications, consulting, logistics, biotechnology and other industries are rushing to enter the quantum space. This change triggered the sudden need for a large pool of highly skilled talent in the quantum market.

“Quantum information science is a very hot field right now. The industry is booming. There are so many quantum career paths that weren’t there when I was in school. , and it is very clear that the demand for quantum labor is not being met, says Bernien.

This fall, Bernien will join other leading quantum researchers from UChicago and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as instructors for a new Certificate in Quantum Science, Networking and Communications, an online course designed for recruit early-career computer scientists, engineers, and other quantum technology workers. This new course builds on a successful Quantum Certificate program launched in 2020 to help develop a broad and diverse workforce.

“Because there is such demand, quantum career paths now start much earlier,” he says. “Now, if I try to find post-docs, even doctoral students, I am in competition with Google. To succeed in this field, it is not necessary to have a doctorate, it is enough to have strong engineering skills and some understanding of quantum.

The seven-week Certificate in Quantum Science, Networks, and Communications is UChicago’s second quantum certificate. In 2020, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) and the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) “launched the Certificate Programs in Quantum Engineering and Technology with an intensive four-day course in quantum science and engineering for advanced professionals trained in the classical domain. Sciences.

The new certificate course, offered in partnership with the NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute for Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks (HQAN), will meet from October 4 through November 20 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. to accommodate the widest range of workers with the good skill set. Building on UChicago’s goal of helping foster inclusiveness of innovation through its existing partnerships, a small number of scholarships will be available for recent Chicago State University graduates.

Meet the needs of the quantum industry

The certificate course plans to develop these skills with “a mix of theory and experience,” says program instructor Eric Chitambar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering. and head of the push at Q-NEXT, a Department of Energy National Quantum Information Science Research Center run by Argonne National Laboratory.

Chitambar, who studies quantum communication and protocols, information theory and optical physics, has helped design demonstrations, simulations and other experiments where certificate students will use the same technology he uses in his own laboratory. He says the Quantum Networking program was set up to benefit a wide range of backgrounds: “If they’re already working in a tech company or a communications company, they have the experience,” says- he.

The courses, like the program itself, are centered on current industry needs. “We had industry personnel on our program development team, so we were able to identify and target the real-world quantum challenges that companies are facing,” says Chitambar.

He notes that the course is taught by some of the world’s leading experts. Hannes Bernien and Tian Zhong are scientists actively working to build quantum network infrastructure in the United States. The instruction team includes both experimentalists and theorists such as Chitambar and Bryan Clark, allowing the course to cover the hardware as well as the basic theory of quantum information processing.

“The main feature of our certificate course is that it is geared towards quantum communication in quantum networks,” says Chitambar. “Other courses give a general introduction to quantum computing for everyone, but ours asks what kind of challenges are unique to communicating quantum systems and how do you get different kinds of different qubits to talk to each other.”

Bringing technology and talent to market

Bernien and his colleagues strive to strengthen the ranks of the quantum workforce by grounding students in the fundamentals of quantum theory while giving them first-hand experience with the latest quantum network technology. The courses, Bernien points out, will only require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field like physics, computer science or electrical engineering to be understood. No quantum background is needed.

“We made it as accessible as possible,” he says. “It gives students the opportunity to learn more about the physics behind quantum information science and possible career paths in the quantum field – and to develop the skills important for working in the field they have. maybe already.”

For his part, Bernien is “extremely excited” to teach this new workforce about quantum networks. “We will discuss how to transfer quantum states over large distances and discuss the applications of these distributed quantum states in quantum cryptography, quantum sensing, and quantum computing.”

Equally important, he says, is to put people in front of the cutting-edge quantum information systems and hardware that are rapidly advancing the quantum industry and see what they can do.

“Some quantum information technologies are already more mature and close to application – quantum key distribution, using quantum phenomena to transmit a key securely, is a product you can buy right now,” he says. he. “Our program will give a very strong foundation in quantum information science and quantum computing, but will also show all the directions quantum is taking that are already tangible and close to market.”

Become Quantum Ready in UChicago

Join the virtual seven-week course in Quantum Networking and Communications to learn the essential skills that will help you lead science into the future.

Learn more about the course.

Source: Eugenia Williamson, Chicago Quantum Exchange

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