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How to Get into Quantum Computing (and why you should)

How to Get into Quantum Computing (and why you should)
Quantum Computing Interview: Abhinav Kohar, Head of Data Science – Americas, Schlumberger

Quantum computing is a rapidly developing field that has the potential to revolutionize many industries, from finance to healthcare. It offers the promise of solving problems that are currently intractable with classical computing, and accelerate scientific research in areas such as materials science, chemistry, and cryptography. Therefore, it’s natural that experts like Abhinav Kohar are excited by the potential.

Ahead of the Quantum Computing Summit London this June, we asked the now Data Science and AI Hub Manager – Americas for oilfield services company Schlumberger, how curious people should go about getting into the industry.

“Getting started with quantum computing requires a strong background in mathematics and computer science, specifically in linear algebra, calculus, probability theory, and programming.

Keep in mind that quantum computing is a rapidly developing field, so it's important to stay open to new ideas and be prepared to learn continuously.

Here are some steps [for people] to take to begin their journey into quantum computing:

  • Learn the basics of quantum mechanics: Quantum computing is built upon the principles of quantum mechanics, so it's important to understand its basics. You can start by learning about wave-particle duality, superposition, entanglement, and quantum states.
  • Learn the basics of linear algebra: Linear algebra is a fundamental mathematical tool used in quantum computing. It's important to understand concepts such as vectors, matrices, and linear transformations.
  • Learn a programming language: Many quantum computing languages and platforms are built on popular programming languages like Python, so it's important to learn one or more of these languages.
  • Choose a quantum computing platform: There are many platforms available for quantum computing, including IBM Quantum Experience, Microsoft Quantum Development Kit, and Google Cirq. Choose a platform that best fits your needs.
  • Work through tutorials and exercises: Start with simple tutorials and exercises to get a feel for how quantum computing works. Many platforms offer tutorials and exercises to help you get started.
  • Join a community: Join a quantum computing community or forum to connect with other enthusiasts, ask questions, and share ideas.
  • Stay up to date: Keep up with the latest developments in quantum computing by reading research papers, attending conferences, and following the news.”

What should people be excited for in the year ahead for quantum computing?

“There are several things that people in the quantum computing community are excited about for the year ahead.

There is a growing interest and investment in quantum computing from governments, companies, and investors around the world. This is expected to continue in the coming year, which could accelerate the development of the technology and bring it closer to commercialisation.

Several companies are expected to release new quantum processors with increased qubit counts and improved performance. This could make it possible to tackle more complex problems and explore new areas of research and application.

Overall, there is a lot of excitement and anticipation about the progress and potential of quantum computing in the year ahead. While there are still significant challenges to overcome, the continued innovation and investment in the field suggest that the technology is moving closer to practical applications and commercialization.”

Even with all that advancement, the concept of a 'quantum winter' has been floated on and off since late 2019, do you think it’s likely we're heading for a quantum winter?

“The concept of a "quantum winter" refers to a period when progress in the field of quantum computing slows down or stagnates, leading to reduced investment, consolidation, and a loss of interest in the technology. While the term has been used to describe the potential risks of overhyping quantum computing, it's difficult to say whether we are currently heading for a quantum winter.

On the one hand, the field of quantum computing has seen significant progress in recent years, with major breakthroughs in quantum hardware, software, and applications. The number of start-ups and research institutions working on quantum computing has also continued to grow, and major tech companies are investing heavily in the technology.

On the other hand, there are several challenges that the field of quantum computing must overcome to continue to advance. These include improving the performance of quantum hardware, developing better error correction techniques, and finding new applications for the technology.

Overall, while there are risks of a quantum winter, it's difficult to predict the future of the field of quantum computing. It will likely depend on a range of factors, including progress in research and development, investment in the technology, and the emergence of new and innovative applications.

Regardless of what happens, it's clear that quantum computing has the potential to transform many industries and solve some of the world's most challenging problems, making it a field that is worth continued attention and investment.”

What resources would you recommend for those interested in quantum computing for enterprise?

  • IBM Quantum: IBM's quantum computing website includes a range of resources, including a quantum computing course, an online community, and access to IBM's quantum computers.
  • Microsoft Quantum: Microsoft's quantum computing website provides access to a quantum computing simulator, as well as resources for learning about quantum computing and building quantum applications.
  • Quantum Computing Report Podcast: This podcast features interviews with experts in the quantum computing industry, as well as discussions on the latest news and developments.
  • Quantum Computing Stack Exchange: This online forum is a great resource for asking and answering questions about quantum computing, and for finding resources and tutorials on various topics related to the field.

“These are just a few examples of the many resources available for those interested in quantum computing for enterprise. As the field continues to evolve, we can expect to see new and innovative resources emerge to support businesses and individuals in learning about and leveraging this exciting technology.”

If you like to know more and learn from the expert, attend the Quantum Computing Summit London this June!

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