Recap: 2019 Qiskit Camp Europe

Published in
5 min readSep 24, 2019


From 9,744 feet above sea level, at the top of the Schilthorn — which boasts an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the Swiss Alps — over 150 students, researchers and developers stared at whiteboards and typed frantically.

3 people working on computers, 2 people talking in front of a whiteboard
2019 Qiskit Camp Europe attendees developing their team project

Quantum computing reached new heights, quite literally, when the 150+ attendees of 2019 Qiskit Camp Europe coded 25 projects around IBM’s cloud-based quantum computers. This event was one of the first of several 2019 International Qiskit Camps, in which members of the Qiskit community foster local quantum computing communities, worldwide.

Taking place 12–15 September 2019 within the rotating building, Piz Gloria, which is perched at the top of the Schilthorn, this international event hosted attendees from 19 countries with a variety of backgrounds. Quantum researcher, 3D designer, and software engineer were just a few of the job titles floating around, and more than 80 students from 39 universities were also in attendance.

Between enjoying the misty mountain views and developing new applications for cloud-based quantum computing, the 2019 Qiskit Camp Europe’s main goal was to support this diverse and growing quantum computing community by fostering both immersive learning and scientific collaboration.

crowd of people standing on deck in front of mountains
2019 Qiskit Camp attendees enjoying post-hackathon tranquility on the Piz Gloria viewing deck

Attendee’s prior familiarity with Qiskit, IBM’s open-source quantum computing software, varied from “esteemed expert” to “never used it,” with most attendees sitting in camp “somewhat competent.” But within mere hours, these same attendees had consumed any Qiskit tutorials, textbook chapters, or documentation sections relevant to their projects and were coding as soon-to-be Qiskit experts.

When it comes to learning, however, nothing beats Qiskit Camps’ access to IBM coaches.

“They [the coaches] were eager to come and see what they could help you with. And if one didn’t know what to do, they would pass you along to someone who had more knowledge in that specific field,” said Matan Parnas, a Physics student from Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.

In particular, Pauline Ollitrault, a PhD Student working at IBM–Zürich, was Parnas’ coach.

“There were some problems that I was dealing with in my code and she was absolutely incredible. She helped me see what the problems were and learn from them, so I wouldn’t have them again,” said Parnas of Ollitrault.

people standing in a gondola staring up at mountains
One of the two gondola rides required to reach the top of the Schilthorn

2019 Qiskit Camp Europe followed a hackathon-style similar to the first Qiskit Camp: a quick event-wide project brainstorm was followed by attendees dividing into project-based teams of roughly 3–5 members each.

The teams then had roughly 24 hours to brainstorm, code, debug, and present their potentially award-winning project — all while juggling a two-gondola commute through the Swiss Alps.

“Some of our team members come from game development, and we’ve got a theoretical physicist, experimental physicist, and someone who works at CERN innovation. And myself, I’m an artist with a physics background,” said Dr. Libby Heaney of team Qistagram.

In all, the variety of attendees, in regard to both their global footprint and expertise, gave rise to creative projects and innovative solutions. And by supporting the growth of these communities, members of the Qiskit community hope to foster a diverse future for quantum computing.

Dr. Sabrina Maniscalo, a professor of theoretical physics at University of Turku, said of her experience at Qiskit Camp Europe, “you have all these ideas popping up, from so many different groups, and it is inspiring for the future work, future collaborations and future directions.”

woman presenting slides in front of large crowd
2019 Qiskit Camp Europe presentations

The next international Qiskit camps will be in Tokyo (18–21 November 2019) and Johannesburg (11–14 December 2019).

Invites to future Qiskit camps are based on community participation. For new Qiskitters looking to get involved, follow along with our Coding with Qiskit YouTube series or read up on Quantum Computation in our Qiskit Textbook. And to our more advanced Qiskitters, we encourage you to apply to become a Qiskit advocate.

Team Projects

Now open for public contributions!

1st Place Winners
QizGloria: Hybrid quantum-classical ML with full Qiskit & PyTorch capabilities

2nd Place Winners
Perf Servs: Benchmarking, profiling, and speeding up Qiskit

Community Choice Winners
QuantumSynth: Development of an interface between Qiskit and Max8 to generate superposition of notes encoded on the basis states of a quantum computer

Honorable Mention, Best Game
Q-Snakers: A quantum-based version of the game snake on a PewPew device

Honorable Mention, Best Future application
Ion Trap + Circuit Rewriting: Added a CX gate and updated V and Z gates to Qiskit for future applications of running on new hardware

Honorable Mention, Best Technical Achievement
If Quantum: Efficient pairwise tomography for Qiskit Circuits

Honorable Mention, Best Presentation
QHomer: Applying Quantum Fourier Transforms to 2D drawings

Qiskit-Based Games

Q Rogues: A rogue-like game where gameplay elements are procedurally generated by quantum circuits on which the user has some influence

Dr. Qubit: An educational game based on Qiskit and focused on arcade machines, A quantum approach of the Doctor Mario

Frozen Q: A quantum game inspired by the classic Frozen Bubbles game

Quantum Hold’em: Atwo-player “card” game designed to develop an intuition about common operations on qubits

PewPew-Qube: An implementation of a quantum version of the Rubik’s cube on a PewPew device

Qiskit Applications

Quantum Email (Qmail): An implementation to allow users to send mail over a simulated quantum channel

Adaptive VQE: An implementation of ADAPT VQE for UCCSD circuits in Qiskit Aqua

Quantum Game Creators: An exploration of the application quantum rules to Game Theory, particularly the Minority Game

Quantum Genetic Programming: An application of techniques of evolving programming to Qiskit

Implementation of Qiskit Available for Regression: A development of a new python interface to handle the regression problem using Qiskit Aqua.

Quantum Rendezvous: A build on a quantum advantage by using Grover’s algorithm to the Rendezvous Problem

Qistagram: Aspeculative project that uses Qiskit to explore future quantum social platforms

Qiskit Enhancements

Coherent Errors: A coherent error characterization using maximally sensitive sets of states

ParallelBond — License to Optimize: A two-fold optimization of VQE

Queen’s Royal Lancers: A framework of quantum reinforcement learning for Qiskit Aqua

Modifying Hamiltonians: A modification of Hamiltonians and wave functions for VQE in Quantum Chemistry

Team Hoare: A Hoare logic optimization layer for Qiskit-Terra

Qiskit PyZX: A build of a PyZX transpiler pass, which uses ZX calculus, to optimize Qiskit circuits

Photo and Video Credits: Paul Searle




An open source quantum computing framework for writing quantum experiments and applications