This summer, kids will learn quantum computing principles and solve problems using a real quantum computer at summer camps in Metro Vancouver and Kelowna. The camps, which are run by UBC’s Geering Up Engineering Outreach program, offer an introduction to concepts in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and will teach the basics of computing and quantum computing to kids from grades 6 to 12. Geering Up is also offering online quantum computing camps for kids in grades 5 through 12.

Kids learn quantum computing at a UBC Geering Up summer camp.

Image source: UBC Geering Up.

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The camps are an opportunity to introduce kids to the possibilities in quantum science and technology fields.

“Quantum computing is a relatively new field in tech, and because of that, we’re at an exciting moment where we get to decide what the field will look like,” said Ella Meyer, Quantum Computing Outreach Program Coordinator at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute and Geering Up. “If we can connect with kids at a young age we can create a really inclusive, vibrant field over the next few generations.”

Meyer has been working with the Geering Up team and consultants in both industry and education to develop quantum computing curriculum that speaks to kids but that can be easily integrated into existing programs. Topics range from how computing works, to what a quantum computer is and how they work and are different from classical computers, with lessons on drag and drop coding, how algorithms work, and what key terms like “superposition” and “entanglement” mean.

Young kids learn quantum computing skills at a UBC Geering Up Summer Camp.

Image credit: UBC Geering Up.

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“Geering Up is a fore-runner in the field of emerging technology, and this is a great way for kids to develop those foundational skills that they can build on through subsequent camps and their own education as they pass through the K-12 system,” said Meyer.

A particular highlight of the program is its relationship with D-Wave Systems, Inc., a Vancouver-based quantum computing company and a leader in the industry. D-Wave and Geering Up are connected through Quantum BC’s Diversifying Talent in Quantum Computing Quantum Hub, an initiative supported by the Canadian Digital Technology Supercluster. As students learn the basics of quantum computing this summer, they’ll be able to put that learning to work using D-Wave’s 2000Q quantum processor.

“This is a cool time in history to be part of,” said Meyer. “Quantum computing as a field is still in its formative years, and so kids in BC are really growing up alongside it. We’re still in a place where anyone can be part of this, and that’s very exciting.”

About UBC Geering Up

UBC Geering Up Engineering Outreach is a non-profit organization with the mandate of promoting science, engineering, and technology to youth across British Columbia. Affiliated with the University of British Columbia, Geering Up is designed, organized, and operated by UBC students. We endeavor to show program participants how fun, exciting, and useful engineering and science can be.