Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

How can students get into quantum computing?

Australia is spending big money on a quantum computer, and it could help the country lead in science and technology. How can your kids get in on it?

The next generation of problem solving technology is on its way to Australia, as the government spends one billion dollars on a quantum computer. That’s a lot of money for a lot of computer, but this is no ordinary computer.

Built to work with a different understanding of computing, quantum computers are faster and can solve more complex computational problems, thanks to how they handle processing. While a standard computer works in bits that work as on and off — ones and zeroes — quantum computers rely on “qubits” which can be on, off, and both on and off at the same time.

This approach to technology allows these machines to effectively be programmed in a different way, and to work differently, too. They’re designed to be faster and can handle even more operations at once, making them ideal for solving some of the world’s most complicated problems.

Unsurprisingly, quantum computers are complex, so they’ll need some smart people to operate them. At the moment, you can expect teams at the University of Queensland (where the purchase of the PsiQuantum computer is going) and the CSIRO to be the ones operating and working on this machine, all in an effort to make it stable and error free.

But students can get stuck into learning about quantum computing now, possibly in an effort to launch a career into this area later on down the track.

Much like how kids can learn coding from an early age, and students can build up on that with platforms for 3D, resources exist for quantum computing, as well.

Online resources for quantum computing

Unsurprisingly, there are a bunch of resources to get stuck into learning about qubits and entanglement, and to further knowledge about the area.

For instance, Microsoft has been offering resources for learning quantum computing since about 2017, and it’s not alone. IBM also offers quantum resources to work from, complete with an understanding about where quantum computers are going.

That should provide some inspiration, but they’re not the only places to turn to.

You can also find the odd article on Medium, one of the resources this journalist learned (and still learns) coding from, while online learning system Brilliant also offers an online course for quantum computing, provided you don’t mind paying for it.

Alternatively, there’s always university.

Take a university course

Online resources may only get you so far, because in the end, there’s always university.

In Australia, we’re lucky to have at least one of those available, with UNSW the first to launch a quantum engineering degree back in 2020, and it’s no longer alone.

Several universities around the world including Australia carry degrees focused on quantum engineering and quantum-related sciences, making it possible to graduate as one of the smart people set to work with the special computers coming into the country shortly.

Outside of UNSW, institutions within the country that offer quantum degrees or departments that cover the area include:

  • The University of Sydney in NSW
  • Australian National University in Canberra, and
  • The University of Queensland in Queensland

That last one shouldn’t come as a surprise — it’s the same university working with the government to bring the first quantum computer to our shores, so it makes sense it would have a quantum program of sorts.

Over time, we imagine more courses and resources will become available, with this area set to grow rapidly. For now, these are starting points for anyone keen to get in on the action ahead of time.

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