Coleman is a product designer at IonQ, one of the world’s leading quantum computing hardware companies, based in College Park MD. One major aspect of his role is to translate this wild idea into metaphors and explanations suitable for folks who aren’t necessarily PhD physicists or discrete mathematicians. He’d like to do that for you.

Day 1, 14:50

Quantum Computing is coming. Or is it already here? People say it has the potential to completely change the world, but will it? When? How?

In case you haven’t heard, quantum computing is an emerging field that uses a quantum system, like the spin of an electron, to do a very specific type of math. Until recently, they had only been theorized, but advances in physics and engineering have caused rapid advances in the field. There are no fewer than a dozen companies working on quantum hardware and control, and probably twice that working on algorithms and practical applications (to say nothing of the many, many, academic labs that have been working on these problems for decades).

Every few months, someone claims a larger, more powerful device. Promises of “quantum supremacy,” the death of RSA, and a complete paradigm shift are on the horizon. How much should you, as a random technically-inclined person, care about all of this anyway? What do you need to know, and what can you just leave to the experts for now? What can you leave to the experts forever?

We’ll answer seven main questions:

- How do quantum computers actually work? (qubits, algorithms, destructive interference, and the lie of “probability”)
- What are quantum computers actually good for? (We don’t fully know yet, but chemistry, prime factoring, but not “trying every answer at once”)
- What will quantum computers never be good at? (More than you think!)
- How do you build a quantum computer? (there are more ways than one!)
- Has anyone built a working quantum computer? How powerful is it? (yes; it’s complicated)
- What’s next? How soon? (or, why Quantum Supremacy isn’t that important after all)
- If you want to go deeper, where should you go for more resources?

We won’t be covering:

- How quantum algorithms work at a detailed level
- The physics/math of why these things work.

Who should attend:

Anyone who is curious (or scared, or excited) about quantum computing, but doesn’t know much yet. Maybe you’ve read a few articles on Wired or Gizmodo, maybe they’ve left you with more questions than answers. No prior knowledge of physics, quantum computing, or advanced mathematics necessary. A basic familiarity with how classical (“regular”) computers work is helpful, but not required.

What you’ll leave with:

A more comprehensive knowledge of quantum computing, both from a big-picture—history, major players, practical utility, progress, what’s next — and a nuts-and-bolts—qubits, algorithms, hardware—perspective. You’ll be able to say “yes!” when your boss asks if you know anything about this quantum computing thing, be able to not only understand, but critically evaluate announcements and headlines about quantum computing, and if you want, a bevy of resources for going deeper into this emerging field.

Day 1, 14:50

Quantum Computing is coming. Or is it already here? People say it has the potential to completely change the world, but will it? When? How?

In case you haven’t heard, quantum computing is an emerging field that uses a quantum system, like the spin of an electron, to do a very specific type of math. Until recently, they had only been theorized, but advances in physics and engineering have caused rapid advances in the field. There are no fewer than a dozen companies working on quantum hardware and control, and probably twice that working on algorithms and practical applications (to say nothing of the many, many, academic labs that have been working on these problems for decades).

Every few months, someone claims a larger, more powerful device. Promises of “quantum supremacy,” the death of RSA, and a complete paradigm shift are on the horizon. How much should you, as a random technically-inclined person, care about all of this anyway? What do you need to know, and what can you just leave to the experts for now? What can you leave to the experts forever?

We’ll answer seven main questions:

- How do quantum computers actually work? (qubits, algorithms, destructive interference, and the lie of “probability”)
- What are quantum computers actually good for? (We don’t fully know yet, but chemistry, prime factoring, but not “trying every answer at once”)
- What will quantum computers never be good at? (More than you think!)
- How do you build a quantum computer? (there are more ways than one!)
- Has anyone built a working quantum computer? How powerful is it? (yes; it’s complicated)
- What’s next? How soon? (or, why Quantum Supremacy isn’t that important after all)
- If you want to go deeper, where should you go for more resources?

We won’t be covering:

- How quantum algorithms work at a detailed level
- The physics/math of why these things work.

Who should attend:

Anyone who is curious (or scared, or excited) about quantum computing, but doesn’t know much yet. Maybe you’ve read a few articles on Wired or Gizmodo, maybe they’ve left you with more questions than answers. No prior knowledge of physics, quantum computing, or advanced mathematics necessary. A basic familiarity with how classical (“regular”) computers work is helpful, but not required.

What you’ll leave with:

A more comprehensive knowledge of quantum computing, both from a big-picture—history, major players, practical utility, progress, what’s next — and a nuts-and-bolts—qubits, algorithms, hardware—perspective. You’ll be able to say “yes!” when your boss asks if you know anything about this quantum computing thing, be able to not only understand, but critically evaluate announcements and headlines about quantum computing, and if you want, a bevy of resources for going deeper into this emerging field.

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