Learning Quantum Computing in 8 weeks with MIT xPRO
The story of how a High School Student learned Quantum Computing in only 8 Weeks
As someone who aims to do something significant and “leave a mark on the world”, I realized that Quantum Computing (QC) had huge potential in disrupting many industries. It wasn’t until the beginning of grade 12 that I started going deep into learning QC.
I first started by self-teaching linear algebra and quantum mechanics, followed with tutorials on coding quantum computers. I went onto participating in a QC hackathon and started replicating projects by reading QC code on GitHub.
Unfortunately, the method that I was using to learn QC was incredibly ineffective and time-consuming. I was learning QC with absolutely no structure, causing me to spend tons of unnecessary time on each topic. I realized this and decided to Google and look for a QC course to help me learn.
Luckily, it just so happened that I learned about MIT xPRO’s Quantum Computing Fundamentals course. Upon observing the course I realized the immense value that the course would provide and decided to enroll.
Since it was a professional course, I originally thought that it would provide a thorough and deep introduction to QC and help “fill in the gaps to my knowledge”. After all, it was a course marketed to people in any field hoping to start learning QC.
When I started the course, it was absolutely like nothing that I expected it to be. In fact, it surpassed my expectations by magnitudes of scale (and my expectations are quite high!)
The course wasn’t your average MOOCs that only had video lectures. It was very structured (and flexible) with weekly sections and modules within the sections (think of subsections).
My favorite aspect of the course was that it “hands-on” orientated and that it had very informative videos spanning no more than 12 minutes each! Professors with years of expertise, including Professor William Oliver and Professor Isaac Chuang, would step-by-step go through the math which was very useful for my understanding.
After watching each video, there would be a reading section and “check your understanding” section to help participants understand the content. At the end of the week, there would also be a test-like “graded activity” to ensure that we understood the content. There were also case studies and videos with invited speakers to provide an industry perspective of QC which I really enjoyed.
Towards the end of the course, in week 3, there was a “Self and Peer Assessment Activity” where the participants would do write-ups of QC topics with peer evaluations. In week 4, there was a lot of hands-on work since we learned how to code and implement a quantum algorithm on IBM’s quantum computer.
Not to mention, the course comes with 2 digital certificates and a physical certificate to validate your knowledge and hard work!
Looking back, I think that enrolling in the course has definitely helped me receive many opportunities in the QC community (and I’m still in high school!).
I got an opportunity to fly to MIT and participate in their first QC hackathon: iQuHACKs. I even sat in MIT’s 6.S089 Introduction to Quantum Computing lectures and was able to fully understand the content!
With the stuff I learned in the course, I was even able to have conversations with grad students and talk about complex QC topics including Nitrogen-Vacancy (NV) qubits, Quantum error correction, etc. If I hadn’t taken the course, I would’ve never learned nor be exposed to NV qubits!
The course has also helped me develop a better understanding of a huge variety of quantum algorithms, allowing me to work with more advanced algorithms in my QC projects. Now I’m working on a research project with quantum machine learning, and have plans to start a QC non-profit to help high school students get into QC!
Now, as I head into my 1ˢᵗ/freshman year at university and look for QC research opportunities, the certificates will definitely be a valuable asset. They’ll also help this summer, as I’ve applied for a couple QC summer programs and interns!
As someone who has probably gone through 80% of all the quantum computing resources on the internet, I undoubtedly have to say that MIT xPRO’s Quantum Computing Fundamentals course is the best way to learn quantum computing.
Regardless of your occupation, if you’re someone who wants to learn quantum computing and understand the future of technology, enrolling in the course is a must.
A touch-up on some linear algebra is all you need before you enroll in the course. No need for a physics degree or anything. Even if you’re completely from a different field (like accounting), you can still enroll. Trust me, I’m just a high school student :)