Fermilab Scientists Publish Quantum Computing Course for High School Students

July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020 — 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. As such, Fermilab is an ideal place to bring together particle physics and quantum computing as two complementary fields.

Students in a trial classroom undertake the IBMQ exercises in May 2019. Image courtesy of Ranbel Sun, Fermilab.

During the summer of 2018, three of us in the Fermilab Theoretical Physics Department applied to mentor two high school teachers, Anastasia Perry and Ranbel Sun. With STEM education in mind, we thought this was an ideal opportunity to share the exciting and disruptive technology of quantum computing.

After surveying the available resources on quantum computing, we discovered that while popular science articles and advanced textbooks existed in abundance, the material for high school students was decidedly lacking.

We decided to fill the gap: During the summer, Anastasia and Ranbel met with us several times a week to discuss the foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum computing and how to best present this information to a high school level audience. They read a vast amount of quantum computing material, distilled it to the simplest parts and created the module at an appropriate comprehension level. Together, we decided students should learn about quantum concepts including superposition, qubits, encryption, quantum measurement, entanglement, teleportation and their real-world applications.

Once the summer was over, all of us continued to work on the material, creating attractive figures, improving readability and adding information on recent quantum computing developments (research really does change that quickly!). Finally, the information was collected into a single book. Working together with such a motivated and intelligent group ensured the whole process was exciting and fun.

Our 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 we ensured that the science is sound.

We created the course to guide 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.

We tested the material through trial runs and received positive feedback from multiple sources. In the trial runs, we conducted surveys before and after the students took the course and found that they successfully learned about quantum computing and had a high level of enthusiasm for it. One student even commented “we should replace special relativity with quantum computing next year.”

This spring, we submitted to journal The Physics Teacher an article in which we analyze student feedback.

The course has seen remarkable success since its inception. We have been contacted by people from all over the world, including high school teachers in Brazil and education researchers in the Netherlands. The American Association of Physics Teachers is excited to collaborate with us on future quantum computing pedagogy workshops and to create nationwide impact in quantum computing education for high schoolers.

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.

Ciaran Hughes, Joshua Isaacson, and Jessica Turner are theoretical physicists at Fermilab.

About Fermilab 

Since 1967, Fermilab has worked to answer these and other fundamental questions and enhance our understanding of everything we see around us. As the United States’ premier particle physics laboratory, we do science that matters. We work on the world’s most advanced particle accelerators and dig down to the smallest building blocks of matter. We also probe the farthest reaches of the universe, seeking out the nature of dark matter and dark energy. Fermilab’s 1,750 employees include scientists and engineers from all around the world. Fermilab collaborates with more than 50 countries on physics experiments based in the United States and elsewhere. Fermilab’s 6,800-acre site is located in Batavia, Illinois, and is managed by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. FRA is a partnership of the University of Chicago and Universities Research Association Inc., a consortium of 89 research universities.


Source: Ciaran Hughes, Joshua Isaacson, and Jessica Turner, Fermilab

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Intel’s Optane/DAOS Solution Tops Latest IO500

August 11, 2020

Intel’s persistent memory technology, Optane, and its DAOS (Distributed Asynchronous Object Storage) stack continue to impress and gain market traction. Yesterday, Intel reported an Optane and DAOS-based system finishe Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Now Offers Virtual Tours

August 10, 2020

Summit, the second most powerful publicly ranked supercomputer in the world, now has a virtual tour. The tour, implemented by 3D platform Matterport, allows users to virtually “walk” around the massive supercomputer Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer Simulations Examine Changes in Chesapeake Bay

August 8, 2020

The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the continental United States, weaves its way south from Maryland, collecting waters from West Virginia, Delaware, DC, Pennsylvania and New York along the way. Like many major e Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Student Success from ‘Scratch’: CHPC’s Proof is in the Pudding

August 7, 2020

Happy Sithole, who directs the South African Centre for High Performance Computing (SA-CHPC), called the 13th annual CHPC National conference to order on December 1, 2019, at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Kempton Pa Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

New GE Simulations on Summit to Advance Offshore Wind Power

August 6, 2020

The wind energy sector is a frequent user of high-power simulations, with researchers aiming to optimize wind flows and energy production from the massive turbines. Now, researchers at GE are preparing to undertake a lar Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Solution Channel

AWS announces the release of AWS ParallelCluster 2.8.0

AWS ParallelCluster is a fully supported and maintained open source cluster management tool that makes it easy for scientists, researchers, and IT administrators to deploy and manage High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters in the AWS cloud. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Supercomputing the Pandemic: Scientific Community Tackles COVID-19 from Multiple Perspectives

Since their inception, supercomputers have taken on the biggest, most complex, and most data-intensive computing challenges—from confirming Einstein’s theories about gravitational waves to predicting the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Research: A Survey of Numerical Methods Utilizing Mixed Precision Arithmetic

August 5, 2020

Within the past years, hardware vendors have started designing low precision special function units in response to the demand of the machine learning community and their demand for high compute power in low precision for Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt and Jack Dongarra

Intel’s Optane/DAOS Solution Tops Latest IO500

August 11, 2020

Intel’s persistent memory technology, Optane, and its DAOS (Distributed Asynchronous Object Storage) stack continue to impress and gain market traction. Yeste Read more…

By John Russell

Summit Now Offers Virtual Tours

August 10, 2020

Summit, the second most powerful publicly ranked supercomputer in the world, now has a virtual tour. The tour, implemented by 3D platform Matterport, allows use Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Research: A Survey of Numerical Methods Utilizing Mixed Precision Arithmetic

August 5, 2020

Within the past years, hardware vendors have started designing low precision special function units in response to the demand of the machine learning community Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt and Jack Dongarra

Implement Photonic Tensor Cores for Machine Learning?

August 5, 2020

Researchers from George Washington University have reported an approach for building photonic tensor cores that leverages phase change photonic memory to implem Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Machines, Connections, Data, and Especially People: OAC Acting Director Amy Friedlander Charts Office’s Blueprint for Innovation

August 3, 2020

The path to innovation in cyberinfrastructure (CI) will require continued focus on building HPC systems and secure connections between them, in addition to the Read more…

By Ken Chiacchia, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center/XSEDE

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Supercomputer Modeling Tests How COVID-19 Spreads in Grocery Stores

April 8, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many people are treating simple activities like getting gas or groceries with caution as they try to heed social distancing mandates and protect their own health. Still, significant uncertainty surrounds the relative risk of different activities, and conflicting information is prevalent. A team of Finnish researchers set out to address some of these uncertainties by... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Intel’s 7nm Slip Raises Questions About Ponte Vecchio GPU, Aurora Supercomputer

July 30, 2020

During its second-quarter earnings call, Intel announced a one-year delay of its 7nm process technology, which it says it will create an approximate six-month shift for its CPU product timing relative to prior expectations. The primary issue is a defect mode in the 7nm process that resulted in yield degradation... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

Supercomputer Simulations Reveal the Fate of the Neanderthals

May 25, 2020

For hundreds of thousands of years, neanderthals roamed the planet, eventually (almost 50,000 years ago) giving way to homo sapiens, which quickly became the do Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Neocortex Will Be First-of-Its-Kind 800,000-Core AI Supercomputer

June 9, 2020

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC - a joint research organization of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh) has won a $5 million award Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU: Up to 2.5X the HPC, 20X the AI

May 14, 2020

Nvidia's first Ampere-based graphics card, the A100 GPU, packs a whopping 54 billion transistors on 826mm2 of silicon, making it the world's largest seven-nanom Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Australian Researchers Break All-Time Internet Speed Record

May 26, 2020

If you’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, you’ve probably become more attuned to the quality (or lack thereof) of your internet connection. Even Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

15 Slides on Programming Aurora and Exascale Systems

May 7, 2020

Sometime in 2021, Aurora, the first planned U.S. exascale system, is scheduled to be fired up at Argonne National Laboratory. Cray (now HPE) and Intel are the k Read more…

By John Russell

‘Billion Molecules Against COVID-19’ Challenge to Launch with Massive Supercomputing Support

April 22, 2020

Around the world, supercomputing centers have spun up and opened their doors for COVID-19 research in what may be the most unified supercomputing effort in hist Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Joliot-Curie Supercomputer Used to Build First Full, High-Fidelity Aircraft Engine Simulation

July 14, 2020

When industrial designers plan the design of a new element of a vehicle’s propulsion or exterior, they typically use fluid dynamics to optimize airflow and in Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

John Martinis Reportedly Leaves Google Quantum Effort

April 21, 2020

John Martinis, who led Google’s quantum computing effort since establishing its quantum hardware group in 2014, has left Google after being moved into an advi Read more…

By John Russell

$100B Plan Submitted for Massive Remake and Expansion of NSF

May 27, 2020

Legislation to reshape, expand - and rename - the National Science Foundation has been submitted in both the U.S. House and Senate. The proposal, which seems to Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Debuts 16-GPU Ampere A100 Instances

July 7, 2020

On the heels of the Nvidia’s Ampere A100 GPU launch in May, Google Cloud is announcing alpha availability of the A100 “Accelerator Optimized” VM A2 instance family on Google Compute Engine. The instances are powered by the HGX A100 16-GPU platform, which combines two HGX A100 8-GPU baseboards using... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This