Free quantum computing class for tech leaders

Quantum computing is the future, and the Linux Foundation and World Bank want to help you prepare for tomorrow.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Quantum computing still seems like the stuff of science fiction. It's not. It is a rapidly maturing technology that harnesses quantum mechanics to solve problems beyond what classical computers can handle. Whether that means cracking all current cryptography, directing millions of self-driving cars, or being able to really predict the weather, we don't know yet. What we do know is that it's going to require a new generation of computer experts. To help that generation find its way, the Linux Foundation and World Bank have launched a new free class, Fundamentals of Quantum Computing (LFQ101).

This course isn't for programmers or administrators. It's for the leaders and planners who need to understand how quantum computing will change the world. So it's appropriate for CIOs, CTOs, and anyone in charge of planning, designing, and developing 2020's and 2030's computing worlds.

While Deloitte estimates that fewer than a dozen companies will use quantum computers in their day-to-day operations in 2022, the future is coming faster than you might think. IBM plans to deliver a 4,000-plus qubit quantum computer by 2025

What can you do with 4,000 qubits? Quantum-based encryption. You can seamlessly bind quantum and classical computations together. That means you could break RSA-2048 bit encryption keys in under 10 seconds and everything that depends on encryption, from cryptocurrency to the security of your bank account. 

That's a huge deal. Hence, this class gets company and government movers and shakers ready to address this and other issues when computers take a quantum leap into the future.

As Sheila Jagannathan, head of the World Bank's Open Learning Campus, explained. "Given its potential impact, it is important to develop foundational knowledge of this new technology as it develops, to understand its implications for our skills, systems, and technological governance." Exactly so. 

This is not a deep course. It only takes about three hours to complete. But with it, you can pick up the fundamentals of quantum computing and gain a better understanding of and how it will disrupt today's technology. It covers where we are today with quantum computing and what we can expect from it tomorrow. It also dispels some of quantum computing's myths. 

Clyde Seepersad, the Linux Foundation's SVP and general manager of training and certification, put it well. "We are on the cusp of another technological revolution as quantum computing technology matures and enables us to solve problems that are too computationally intensive for traditional computers. Now is the time to start teaching folks around the world about quantum computing in order to ensure that the policy implications are thought through and that the requisite talent pool is nurtured to support this technology as it grows."

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