The Upskilling Imperative: Azure Quantum for Educators

Close up of male college student sitting in university lecture hall, looking ahead while taking notes on a Surface Pro.  Other male and female students sit behind him, taking notes.

Achieving technological leaps forward requires more than scientific and engineering breakthroughs. A critical dependency is the cultivation of a skilled workforce that can unlock the potential of emerging technology. In the field of quantum computing, now is the perfect time for educators to get ahead of the curve and prepare their students to start their quantum journeys. Along with quantum technology being on a path to scale, platform and tool maturity and accessibility are converging to enable academic institutions to meet workforce demand.

Microsoft and Azure Quantum want to empower educators and students to do just this. In our efforts to innovate across every layer of the Azure Quantum stack, we are pleased to launch Azure Quantum for Educatorss: a one-stop resource for curriculum, samples, and tools to facilitate the skilling up of a quantum-ready workforce. It also includes case studies in using a practical, software-driven approach to teach quantum computing to undergraduate students and perspective on bringing hands-on use of quantum hardware to classrooms.

Azure Quantum for Educators features include:

  • Practical and programming-oriented quantum computing curriculum for educators: A free, classroom-tested and continuously improving curriculum appropriate for students with and without a physics background. Includes syllabus, lecture slides, programming assignments, an automatic homework grading tool, samples of final projects, and more.
  • Free access to hands-on quantum hardware: The Azure Quantum Credits Program provides free access for quantum hardware exploration supporting teaching, learning, and deploying quantum programs on a diverse set of quantum computers.
  • Python and Q# code samples: Run these samples against Azure Quantum’s diverse and growing hardware portfolio of trapped ion, superconducting, and neutral atom quantum processing units (QPUs), or against a variety of hardware simulators and resource estimators.
  • Case studies and white papers: Learn about ways to introduce quantum computing to a variety of academic levels and settings, including undergraduate students.
  • Azure Quantum office hours: We’re here to help! Drop in to request direct support for and provide input on quantum education initiatives.

Dr. Celia Merzbacher, Executive Director of the Quantum Economic Development Consortium (QED-C®) notes, “Initiatives like Azure Quantum for Educators help build a robust talent pipeline of quantum-ready workers for the emerging quantum computing industry and the industries that will use it. the technology, from finance to pharma. Practical hands-on experience is highly sought-after by employers across the board.”

Join institutions, like the University of Washington, in leveraging Azure Quantum for Educators to enable new quantum computing capabilities in the classroom. Combining learning with doing in a recent course that included access to quantum hardware through Azure Quantum generated enthusiastic feedback from learners around:

Putting classroom concepts into immediate practice

  • “We quickly get to apply what we learned from the professors and guest lectures.”
  • “The Azure Quantum platform was useful and straightforward to use. Submitting jobs was also straightforward.

Ease of use

  • “One of the best classes regarding quantum computing implementations.”

“We’ve enjoyed a wellspring of enthusiasm from teaching institutions globally about the Azure Quantum Educators resources,” says Kent Foster, Microsoft University Relations Director. “Universities, colleges, business and vocational schools, and even high school educators are interested in integrating our materials and quantum computing hardware access into a broad range of classroom scenarios, ranging from for-credit classes and summer schools to multi-disciplinary student clubs and continuing education classes targeted at learners already in the workforce.”

Our commitment

With increasing government, private, and academic investment in quantum research, developing a skilled quantum workforce is critical to accelerating quantum computing breakthroughs in areas like chemistry, materials science, and finance. We are incredibly excited to partner with educators, learners, and researchers to close the talent gap and inspire the next generation of quantum enthusiasts with Azure Quantum for Educators resource and an invitation to join our Azure Quantum Network—a vibrant coalition working together to solve for a better future.

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