12 May 2021
4 minute read

Announcing IBM Quantum Challenge 2021

Commemorating the 40-year anniversary of the Physics of Computation conference, and 5-year anniversary of IBM putting the first quantum computer on the cloud, we're excited to present the IBM Quantum Challenge 2021.

IBM Quantum Challenge 2021 (image of interior quantum computer)

May 2021 marks two important anniversaries in quantum computing. Forty years ago, a group of scientists gathered at the Physics of Computation conference jointly organized by MIT and IBM, where they laid the foundation of quantum computing. Five years ago, IBM researchers put first quantum computer on the cloud, allowing anyone to program a quantum computer without access to an academic research lab. 

Not only is it important to look back — but it's important to celebrate how far we've come. Today, we have over 325,000 users on the IBM Quantum platform, including 140+ organizations in the IBM Quantum Network. Thousands of developers run two billion quantum circuits on IBM Quantum systems daily with the help of open source Qiskit software development kit. Together, our users have published more than 500 papers based on research conducted on IBM Quantum systems.

The IBM Quantum Challenge 2021

To commemorate this double anniversary, we're excited to present the IBM Quantum Challenge 2021. We have prepared five quantum programming exercises, each representing a milestone from quantum computing history from 1980 until today, while highlighting key features of Qiskit and IBM Quantum systems.

These milestones represent some of the most important advances in the field. The challenge begins with a problem about Tomasso Toffoli's 1980 introduction of Toffoli gate, then poses problems surrounding Shor's 1994 algorithm and 1995 introduction of quantum error correction. Finally, it tackles the modern history of quantum computing: a hardware-specific question as a nod to the 2007 introduction of superconducting transmon qubits, and a question applying the variational quantum eigensolver, an algorithm introduced in 2014. You can read more about these milestones and their history, here:

IBM Quantum Challenge 2021: Here’s What to Expect

We hope that the IBM Quantum Challenge 2021 will serve both as an exciting introduction to quantum for first-time users, as well as a fun and engaging problem set for seasoned quantum veterans. As usual, participants will be invited to a dedicated Slack channel where they will receive support from our mentors and other participants. We will highlight the top 10 participants in a recap blog, and those who complete all five exercises will receive a badge.

Building the future of quantum

Putting a quantum computer on the cloud was the first step toward building the most global and diverse community of quantum developers. Since then, the IBM Quantum and Qiskit community team has assisted in the development of the largest open source quantum computing community, while creating world-class educational resources and developing a quantum workforce. In just the past 12 months, the IBM Quantum and Qiskit community team has hosted numerous of remote events and hackathons for quantum developers, brought in a class of more than 70 interns, and hosted the Qiskit Global Summer School, among the largest virtual quantum computing courses ever held.

But a vibrant and welcoming quantum community relies most importantly on the enthusiastic community members who have joined us along the way. Indeed, dedicated Qiskitters have relentlessly contributed to the Qiskit open-source software development kit for programming quantum computers and have spread their knowledge of Qiskit to each other and to the wider developer community. Thank you to those who have been part of this exciting journey, and we hope that more of you will join after the IBM Quantum Challenge 2021.

Indeed, we hope this challenge will be a great opportunity not only for quantum programmers, but for anyone interested in quantum computing.

So… see you at the IBM Quantum Challenge 2021!


12 May 2021