June held one of our city’s most important tech events of the year: Tech Open Air. The world’s first crowdfunded festival focuses on the intersections between tech, music, art, and science. We hosted a TOA Satellite Event, which revolved around one of the hottest topics right now. That’s right, we got to grips with quantum computing. Together we discovered the researcher’s playground.

As quantum is not yet mainstream, this was an opportunity for our audience to have hands-on experience with the technology of tomorrow. Quantum computing offers up the possibility to solve problems once considered unsolvable as it is used extensively by new categories of professionals and developers. On June 20th, Mark Mattingley-Scott, IT architect and IBM Quantum Computing Ambassador introduced us to IBM Q, he took us on a wild ride and we explored what the future might hold.

Mark introduces us to IBM Q
Mark introducing us to IBM Q

Meet IBM Q

IBM Q is an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computers for business and science. You may already know that IBM made the world’s first quantum computers available openly on the web, allowing developers to test applications. So far over 60,000 users have run more than 1.7 million quantum experiments already. IBM is continuing to grow the quantum ecosystem by developing practical applications, increasing quantum systems and expertise.

Mark introduced us to IBM Q. explaining how it is different. He shared with us how to make the switch to a quantum system and IBM’s approach to Q regarding topics like APIs and simulators. We then left the building to enjoy the outdoor portion of the event. Mark showed us the ropes to start using IBM Q, including signing up and installation. All our guests then had free reign to test it for themselves!

“Meet IBM Q was the best introduction for quantum computing you can give to a broad audience. Mark Mattingley Scott was able to explain experts as well as non-experts the principles and physics of a quantum computer. He was even able to answer expert questions in a way that was understandable for non-experts, too. The highlight of the event was the live-hacking opportunity of programming a quantum computer code and its direct execution on quantum computers of IBM in England. Amazing!”

– Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Wittpahl, Director, Institute for Innovation and Technology

The crowd were engrossed in getting to grips with the topic. Our guests were enthralled, even after the event, they didn’t want to leave. Big thank you to Mark, Ansgar and Marion for organizing and hosting such an epic event!

Coding outside at Tech Open Air!
Coding outside at Tech Open Air!

What is quantum computing?

A technology with huge potential. Quantum computers calculate differently to our regular computers. Instead of using the binary method, quantum computing harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to use both ones and zeros. This means it has the potential to solve much more complex problems.
Instead of using 0 or 1 bits, quantum computers use qubits, two qubits can represent four numbers at the same time: this is called superposition. The qubits are also not isolated as with regular bits, they are correlated: this is called entanglement. Combining superposition and entanglement makes quantum computers much more powerful.

Not only does quantum computing calculate much faster than our current silicon-based chip computers, it also radically changes the way we can think, work, and discover. Quantum computers can explore more possibilities than a classical computer or supercomputer could ever process.

It’s time you learned about quantum computing via Wired

How do I get started with quantum computing? Try it out for yourself on IBM Q Experience.

We also took the opportunity to share the news of the global Call for Code. IBM is a founding partner of this initiative, which asks developers to code for the greater good. It asks developers to create tools to solve problems involving humanitarian crises, taking the best IBM has to offer in AI, Blockchain, IoT, and more to build solutions overcoming the threats and health risks stemming from natural disasters. IBM has partnered with the American Red Cross, the United Nations Human Rights Office, and the Linux Foundation amongst others. Discover more about the Call for Code.

TOA Satellite event.
TOA Satellite event.
Our hands-on, outdoor session!
Hands-on, outdoors!
IBM is a founding partner of Call for Code
IBM is a founding partner of Call for Code

About Mark Mattingley-Scott

Mark Mattingley-Scott has a Bachelor of Science with Joint Honours in Computing and Electronics, and a Doctor of Philosophy on the subject of Code Division Multiple Access Local Area Networks from the University of Durham, combined with 30 years’ experience in the commercial exploitation of technology and research. As a Principal at IBM he is specialized in the identification, nurturing and development of technological innovation, with a primary focus on Big Data Analytics, Neuromorphic Computing and Quantum Computing for IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Business Unit.

Discover more
Watch Dr. Talia Gershon give A Beginner’s Guide to Quantum Computing (19 mins)
In this fantastic video, Dr. Talia Gershon explains quantum computing to 5 different people; a child, teen, a college student, a grad student and a professional.

Check out The Sounds of IBM Q.

What is IBM Q?
IBM Q is an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems for business and science.

IBM Q Experience
Explore educational resources, tutorials, and experiment with quantum devices through the IBM Q Experience.

IBM Q Network
A worldwide community of leading Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions, and national research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.

Open Source Quantum Information Science Kit

Learn more about quantum computing

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