Quantum Computing Involvement For African Youth

Across Africa, we have had a tonne of issues. What I like to look at in particular is education accessibility and unemployment among the educated youth. As we have seen over the past decade, innovation and investment in technical skills have contributed to coming up with different ventures that help solve problems in education and unemployment.

Therefore, it’s safe to assume that technology is a fast-paced reality that needs to be explored by the African Youth. With many advancements in technology, today fueled by scientific and mathematical concepts, for example, Quantum Computing, we need to involve the African Youth more in innovation to create more education and job opportunities.

Although there have been significant milestones achieved in Quantum computing, this concept is still in its early stages, with companies such IBM-Quantum, Google Quantum AI, and D-Wave taking the lead. To understand how African Youth can get involved in his concept, let’s break this down into several components.

1. Pushing Curiosity Among The African Youth

One of the biggest contributors to knowledge acquisition among scholars is curiosity. Before we even get into the Education bit of Quantum computing, the concept needs to be in the minds of our target audience That means writing articles, building social media curiosity, and maybe even creating a community of peers around it.

If you’ve read my article on the introduction to Quantum computing, then you understand that it will be difficult to grasp the technicalities behind it. However, if you’re curious enough about it, you will go the extra mile and probably even go as far as developing a solution to a recurring problem with this technology. With that said, let’s discuss the first part of this ‘revolution’.

2. Education

Programming

The most common programming language used in this field is Python. Through labs, documentation, and online videos, IBM-Quantum and Google Quantum AI seek to engage as many individuals as possible with their respective python-based tools Qiskit and Cirq. These resources are designed to help you gain an understanding of the various concepts and algorithms you need to build a quantum computer.

But where do you start? Since both are python-based, you can pick any option, based on your curiosity. Flip a coin if you’re unable to decide, although a Qubit would give you both head and tail(more on this in a slightly more technical article).

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Math

Back, in primary and high school, I used to love Math. My math teacher once told me if I don’t attain an A grade I would have failed. But in University I quickly realized, to learn math, you need to practice… a lot. So I’d encourage you to re-learn and practice the following concepts to get well acquainted with the world of Quantum;

  • Linear algebra; is heavily involved in representing Qubits and gates, representing circuit functionality, and more.
  • Probability theory; to better understand the logic behind the qubit, you’ll have to get acquainted with this concept. For instance, to understand what I mean when I say “A Qubit can be both heads and tails if you flipped it”, you need to understand the probability of this happening.

These are just foundational math concepts, that will get more complicated as you advance into Quantum computing. And yes, it gets more confusing as you go.

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Physics/Mechanics

If you would like to understand the inner working of a Quantum computer, then this is something you must get involved in. However, if your goal is to be a Quantum Software developer, all you need to know is how the Quantum computer works and not the physics behind it.

With that said, this is a concept for those of you that like to build computer parts. The physics behind building a classical computer may be different from Quantum physics, but you need basic knowledge of psycho concepts to work with both. To get more into this, I encourage you to go the traditional educational path, even as far as getting a doctorate in physics.

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3. Professions In Quantum Computing

Quantum computing has several professions you can look at. At the moment, companies are still figuring out how they can prepare themselves for Quantum Computing, so there is a possibility more careers will be popping up in the coming years. With that said, here are the currently available careers in the field;

I. Quantum Physicist

As you may have picked up, Quantum computing relies heavily on complex laws and concepts of Quantum mechanics and physics. Quantum physicists are needed to investigate the foundations of quantum computer software, hardware, and sensors. Jobs in quantum computing for quantum physicists include both experimentalists and theorists, as well as hybrid experts.

ii. Quantum Computer Scientists/Researchers

These can be defined as the experimentalists that use Quantum theory to solve complex problems. They are heavily invested in trying out algorithms and other Quantum theories to design and test solutions for specific problems.

iii. Quantum Cryptography Experts/Scientists

With every emerging technology, we must consider data safety. Quantum Cryptography experts are heavily involved in solving the problem of data security. They do this by making current cryptographic procedures quantum-safe and also developing post-quantum cryptographic procedures.

iv. Quantum Software Engineers

These software engineers will be responsible for developing software that will be used to run incredibly complex quantum computers. Because quantum programming differs from traditional computer programming, classic programming skillsets are not easily transferable to quantum programming. Like many other quantum computing professions, quantum software engineers are in short supply and thus in high demand.

Quantum software engineers are typically experts in quantum information theory and linear algebra. They should be well-versed in the creation of quantum computing algorithms.

v. Quantum Software Developers

These are different from Quantum Software Engineers in that they implement already thought designs, as opposed to doing their designs. All they are focused on are the programming skills to implement the solutions.

vi. Quantum Engineers

Every computer needs well-defined architectures to be able to execute its functionality, here’s where the Quantum Engineer comes in. The Quantum Engineer picks up knowledge of Quantum theory and is responsible for translating this into the architecture(s) necessary to make a Quantum Computer.

To end this, please note that these jobs will be advertised differently by various companies. Also, other jobs are company-specific.

Here are a few examples;

All the best!!

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