We came, we saw, we QHACKed

Nov 29, 2019 · 3 min read

The Xanadu team hosted its first quantum machine learning hackathon, QHACK, from Nov 25–26, bringing together experts and enthusiasts in quantum computing and quantum machine learning.

The 2-day interactive event was held at Xanadu’s HQ in downtown Toronto and drew attendees from around the world including Canada, the US, UK, Netherlands, South Africa, Korea, and Australia.

A big thank you to all the participants, speakers, judges, mentors, and volunteers that made QHACK 2019 such an incredible experience. And a special shout out to our industry partners Rigetti, IBM, and Microsoft.

Didn’t get a chance to attend? Not to worry! Here’s a summary of what went down over the 2 days of QHACKing.

We kicked things off with a social! Participants met each other and amped themselves up for two days of hacking with quantum machine learning.

Day 1:

To get the day started and the creativity flowing, the QHACKers heard from some incredible speakers on topics ranging from quantum game theory to quantum origami.

  • Nathan Killoran (Xanadu) — Welcome to QHACK
  • Seth Lloyd (MIT) — Quantum Machine Learning
  • Maria Schuld (Xanadu) — Using Quantum Circuits as Machine Learning Models
  • Gavin Crooks (X, The Moonshot Factory) — Quantum Gates and Gradients
  • Will Zeng (Unitary Fund) — Quantum Game Theory
  • Leonardo Banchi (University of Florence) — Quantum Optimization in NISQ Devices and Beyond
Seth Lloyd (MIT). Source: https://twitter.com/AmiraMorphism.
Will Zeng (Unitary Fund). Source: https://twitter.com/AmiraMorphism.

Our industry partners also introduced their platforms for quantum programming and quantum machine learning:

  • Thomas Alexander (IBM) — IBM Quantum Experience and Qiskit: A Platform for your NISQ Needs
  • Chris Granade (Microsoft) — Empowering QML Research with Q#
  • Max Henderson (Rigetti) — Everything and the (Quantum) Kitchen Sink: Quantum Machine Learning at Rigetti
  • Josh Izaac (Xanadu) — Quantum Machine Learning with PennyLane

The teams then split up to kick-off the hackathon. Bring on the friendly competition!

Of course, there were some fun breaks in between!

“I legitimately don’t think I’ve ever attended a better tech event/hackathon, thanks for the amazing experience!”

Day 2:

Everyone hacked away for the final stretch.

The teams shared their amazing work.

And then the big moment….the winners were announced. Congratulations to the teams!

Meet the judges: Will Zeng (Unitary Fund), Amy Brown (Rigetti), Christopher Granade (Microsoft), Tomas Babej (ProteinQure), Bryce Fuller (IBM), Mark Fingerhuth (ProteinQure), Francesco Petruccione (University of Kwazulu-Natal)

Awards summary:

  • Most Q-reative: Awarded to the team with the most creative hackathon project
  • Most Likely to Achieve Quantum Advantage: Awarded to the team whose hackathon project demonstrates the highest level of technical achievement
  • Most Coherent: Awarded to the team with the best pitch/presentation of their hackathon project/idea
  • Highest Fidelity: Awarded to the team whose hackathon project best matches the hackathon theme of Quantum Machine Learning

Want to hear about upcoming Xanadu events? Stay in the loop and sign up for our newsletter.

Interested in learning more about QML? Check out pennylane.ai/qml.


Quantum Computing Powered by Light


Written by


Quantum Computing Powered by Light



Quantum Computing Powered by Light

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade