Oct. 10, 2023

UCalgary to provide hands-on quantum computing opportunities with Xanadu, a global leader in quantum computing

Launch of Professional Master of Quantum Computing program in January 2024 opens door for industry collaboration
Quantum communication
Daniel Oblak, left, and postdoc Hanen Chenini observe the optical setup used for experiments in quantum communication. UCalgary files

The University of Calgary and Xanadu, a leading quantum computing company, announce a new partnership to provide educational materials and support for UCalgary’s thriving quantum ecosystem. Through this partnership, UCalgary and Xanadu aim to help students become confident and quantum-ready professionals prepared to contribute to Canada’s growing quantum workforce.

UCalgary stands out for its entrepreneurial approach to quantum research and development, fostering student empowerment through leadership and participation in initiatives like the Institute for Quantum Science and Technology (IQST), Quantum City, and the Quantum Horizons Alberta initiative.

Moreover, the Faculty of Science is set to launch the Professional Master of Quantum Computing program in January 2024. This program is designed to provide students with the skills to understand and support quantum computing systems in practical settings, as well as gain practical experience through use cases and experiential learning.

To ensure students enrolled in the Professional Master of Quantum Computing program have access to cutting-edge quantum hardware and software, UCalgary has selected Xanadu, a Toronto-based company, as its inaugural official partner for support. Together, UCalgary and Xanadu will advance quantum computing education by integrating hands-on learning resources developed by Xanadu into existing courses at UCalgary.

This collaboration aims to generate a pipeline of highly skilled professionals in quantum computing. An illustration of this collaborative partnership in action can be seen in Xanadu’s participation in the upcoming qConnect 2023, which is co-hosted by Quantum City in November and focuses on connecting quantum creators and users.

Trailblazer in quantum development

Xanadu (follow on X @XanaduAI) is on a mission to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere. Since 2016, they have been building cutting-edge photonic quantum computers and making remarkable progress in the field, such as being one of three teams worldwide to achieve quantum computational advantage.

In addition to their hardware success, Xanadu leads the development of multiple open-source software libraries that have been the core of several research projects. Most notable of these libraries is PennyLane, an open-source software framework for quantum machine learning, quantum chemistry, and quantum computing with the ability to run on all hardware. Check out the PennyLane demos, a gallery of hands-on quantum computing content.

Fariba Hosseinynejad Khaledy

Fariba Hosseinynejad Khaledy

Delivering quantum education for the future

Using Xanadu’s quantum computers and software libraries like PennyLane, UCalgary and Xanadu will enable students to conduct research and develop new software applications while receiving dedicated training and custom-built educational tools to support their quantum journeys.

Dr. David Feder, PhD, associate professor at IQST has been instrumental in initiating and facilitating this partnership and supervises students like Fariba Hosseinynejad Khaledy. Khaledy is a current graduate student involved in a collaborative project between Feder and researchers from Xanadu.

She explains how the access to these resources allow her to continue her science career: “I am thrilled to be a part of a project that not only aligns with my research interests but also holds the potential to transform our work into real-world applications. The prospect of contributing to this initiative with the resources that Xanadu provides is undeniably exciting. I firmly believe it's crucial for graduate students to embrace this perspective early in their studies and consider aligning their projects with industry trends and demands.”

The collaboration between UCalgary and Xanadu will enhance UCalgary’s new Professional Masters of Quantum Computing program and is a testament to the ecosystem building the Quantum City initiative is generating at the university and, more broadly, in Alberta.

“It’s fantastic to be partnering with UCalgary in this initiative to make top-tier quantum computing education more accessible to students. It’s exciting to see top universities like UCalgary put in the work to support their students in the exploration of this exciting and promising field,” says Jen Dodd, quantum community team lead at Xanadu.

Dr. Rob Thompson, associate vice-president (research) and director of research services at UCalgary, says, “The field of quantum computing is growing rapidly, and we are committed to delivering the best quantum computing education, while also building an ecosystem for quantum science and technology in Alberta, through Quantum City.

“Xanadu’s achievements coupled with a team that is dedicated to sharing their knowledge and building a better quantum community made them a clear choice to partner with in this exciting initiative at UCalgary.”

About Quantum City

Quantum City is building an ecosystem for quantum science and technology in Alberta bringing together researchers and developers, industry and adopters of quantum technology and serves as the hub for all quantum solutions. The creation of Quantum City is the result of a strategic collaboration between the University of Calgary, the Government of Alberta and Mphasis, which is Quantum City’s first industry partner. Quantum City’s mandate is to establish quantum-focused fabrication infrastructure, create pipelines for quantum and quantum-adjacent talent and expertise, and bridge the gap between quantum technologies and solutions to drive the development of a vibrant economic and scientific hub based in Calgary. These combined assets will create a unique, and once-in-a-generation opportunity to position Alberta as a national and international jurisdiction in the new quantum economy.

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