On Feb. 16, 2022, educators and administrators across the state participated in a virtual discussion with leading education and technology experts to discuss an emerging technology with the power to change the world. The webinar, moderated by –Ray Zeisz, senior director of the Technology Infrastructure Lab at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, focused on exploring quantum computing— an exciting new field of computer science.
Speakers included Dan Stancil, department head and executive director of the IBM Quantum Hub at NC State; Jamie Thomas, general manager for IBM Systems Strategy and Development; Gabbie Meis, program manager at Qubit by Qubit (QxQ); and two recent graduates of the QxQ program.
A recording of the webinar is available to view here.
Thomas opened the webinar by explaining the power of quantum computing to solve complex problems, the need to educate and train individuals on its application and how schools across the country are introducing this new technology to students
“North Carolina is uniquely situated to be a leader in quantum computing. The university’s strong relationship with IBM and the Quantum Hub at NC State will drive innovation in computing for decades,” Zeisz said. “We need to build a pipeline of students in North Carolina high schools that are prepared to meet the challenges. A high school course in quantum computing could lead to many career paths, including physics, math, engineering and computer science.”
Stancil gave background on how NC State and IBM partnered in 2018 to launch the first university quantum hub in North America—part of IBM’s effort to explore the possibilities of quantum computing and train students in its use. However, the focus of the webinar was on how to engage students in quantum computing even earlier in their academic careers. With high school students in mind, The Coding School launched QxQ, an online learning initiative that allows students to learn quantum skills, run scripts on quantum computers and work alongside leading global quantum researchers.
Meis shared during the webinar that, to date, 15,000 students from 50 states and 125 countries have been introduced to quantum computing through the QxQ program.
“One of the most encouraging things we’ve seen from our surveys is that 96% of our participants feel more confident in their STEM skills after taking the course,” Meis said.
The course requires a three to five hour time commitment each week and includes lectures, labs and homework. Students shared the impact of the course.
“In eighth grade, I read an interesting article about quantum computing, and I wished there was a class I could take to learn more,” one student said. “Fast forward, I saw an ad for a QxQ course, read the description and it was great. I signed up and it was one of my favorite academic experiences ever.”
Interested in offering quantum computing at your high school next year for free? Complete Qubit by Qubit’s interest form here or reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.