The first Chilean school of quantum computing brought together students and professionals from Latin America

The first Quantum Computing School developed in Chile was held in Concepción. It is an activity that for a week brought together university students and professionals from different parts of the country and Latin America interested in learning more about this technology .

Quantum computing has been positioned over the past twenty years as an essential technology for the future because it allows us to tackle problems that current computers lack the ability to solve.

In this sense, Aldo Delgado, academic at the University of Concepción and researcher at the Millennium Institute for Research in Optics, MIRO, comments that thanks to quantum computing “several applications are being studied, for example the detailed study of very complex systems molecules that may have pharmacological applications”.

“Other applications appear in the logistics area, for example; when we want to ship a package from one country to another and we have many network users, what interests us is to reduce the transport time, which has a number of advantages. First place because it reduces costs, but also reduces fuel consumption, which has environmental benefits climate precision and in a longer time horizon”.

Inside of the IBM quantum computer.

world level

This school of quantum computing was developed at the University of Concepción, where there is a team of MIRO researchers studying various problems that are being faced around the world to improve the performance of currently existing quantum processors.

The goal of the initiative was to provide theoretical foundations on quantum mechanics, quantum algorithms and machine learning, among others, and to develop hands-on workshops in which participants learned to program with Qiskit, the programming language for IBM quantum processors and the currently openly available to the world scientific community.

Luciano Pereira, PhD candidate at the Institute of Fundamental Physics, of the CSIC of Spain CSIC, member of MIRO and one of the organizers of the school, points out that “this type of event is not common because we have theoretical lessons and workshops, which is very demanding for the instructors and it is also very difficult for the students, but the people who are participating have been very active.”

For this, he says that in the organization “we feel pleasantly surprised by the number of applications, the number of people who arrived, both in the online version and in presence, by the motivation and participation in the workshops. “

democratization of knowledge

With more than 150 enrollments from Chile, Mexico, Spain, Brazil and Colombia, the school exceeded the expectations of the organizing team. For this reason and to facilitate the participation of those who could not travel to Concepción, the school was taught in a hybrid mode and a team was assigned to assist those who developed the workshops remotely. Furthermore, and given the low presence of women in careers such as physics or computer science, for face-to-face school, priority was given to the participation of women as speakers and also as participants, reaching a representation of 40% in the face-to-face version of the course.

“If we as a country want to be at the forefront of these new technologies, it is important that we start training professionals capable of using these machines in the future,” explains Luciano Pereira. For this reason, the school has been made free and open to different profiles, which has made it possible to bring together professionals, students, academics and IT enthusiasts from different careers.

As a special guest, the school had the participation of Elisa Torres, a 17-year-old girl who founded Girls in Quantum, an international organization that promotes the participation of girls in this area and which today has nine ambassadors in America, Europe and Africa and the support of various technology development companies such as IBM or Cold Quanta.

“Quantum computing continues to be an emerging and niche field in many parts of the world, and democratizing it so that many students can come to the University of Concepción to learn quantum computing with experts seems to me exceptional, unique and is a opportunity to take advantage of”, underlines Elisa Torres.

In the future, the horizon of this school is to continue its implementation within a Chilean university, with the team of experts being trained at MIRO and other universities around the world.

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