Brilliant has more than 8 million students and professionals worldwide learning subjects from algebra to special relativity through guided problem-solving. In partnership with Microsoft’s quantum team, Brilliant has launched an interactive course called “Quantum Computing,” for learning quantum computing and programming in Q#, Microsoft’s new quantum-tuned programming language. The course features Q# programming exercises with Python as the host language (one of our new features!). Brilliant and Microsoft are excited to empower the next generation of quantum computer scientists and engineers and start growing a quantum workforce today.
Starting from scratch
Because quantum computing bridges the fields of information theory, physics, mathematics, and computer science, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Brilliant’s course, integrated with some of Microsoft’s leading quantum development tools, provides self-learners with the tools they need to master quantum computing.
The new quantum computing course starts from scratch and brings students along in a way that suits their schedule and skills. Students can build and simulate simple quantum algorithms on the go or implement advanced quantum algorithms in Q# on the web, without ever downloading a development environment.
From quantum Plinko to teleportation and algorithms
Quantum Computing covers quantum information, quantum operations, and introductory algorithm design in an intuitive way. Quantum Computing, the fundamental concepts of quantum information are built up from first principles, and then by finding and addressing the points where classical intuition falls apart. The course aims to present the deep mysteries of quantum phenomena in an approachable way. For example, the course begins with a ball bouncing down The Price is Right®’s Plinko board and then—with a few added lasers—reveals an example of boson sampling, a simple problem that is likely to be impossible to solve efficiently with a classical computer.
Q# for developing quantum solutions
To teach basic quantum operations, the course features a drag-and-drop simulator that follows the student throughout the course and offloads mathematical heavy lifting so it’s easier to focus on the quantum learnings. Brilliant’s circuit simulator allows self-learners to solve quantum circuit puzzles, peek inside the quantum state at any point along the simulation, and get a feel for the operations that a quantum computer may be able to perform. Such experimentation with full knowledge of a quantum state is a great way to learn the tools of the trade, but to really program a quantum computer, you need to follow quantum rules where observing the quantum state can destroy it. That’s where Microsoft’s Q# programming language comes in. Brilliant incorporates the Q# language into Quantum Computing so that programmers can modify and construct quantum algorithms.
Q# also provides a powerful way to quickly prototype quantum programs in tandem with a classical programming environment. Using Q#’s new Python integration within the Brilliant course, students call Python to implement the classical side of an algorithm and call Q# to run the quantum side—all in a single coding environment in their browser. Q#’s integration with Python provides a glimpse into the future of quantum computing: a classical computer that can leverage quantum hardware for particular problems, in much the same way that we currently use GPUs to speed up the solutions of ray tracing or machine learning problems.
Advanced topics of quantum computing
Even before quantum systems will be sufficient to implement the most well-known algorithms at a useful scale, there may be algorithms that can take advantage of mixed classical and quantum computing. By the end of this course, students will appreciate how a difficult classical problem can be translated into a quantum representation, and experiment with the reality of quantum computation. Quantum Computing also illustrates how quantum hardware may enable large-scale quantum chemistry simulation, by taking learners through the efficient preparation and manipulation of highly-entangled states which are prohibitively costly with classical computers.
To learn more
Access Brilliant’s course here. For a limited time following the release of this blog post, the first two chapters of Quantum Computing, including an interactive introduction to coding in Q# will be available to all registered Brilliant users for free.
To learn more about Q# and the Quantum Development Kit: