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USRA Quantum Academy

Training the Next Generation of Quantum Information Scientists


The exploding interest in quantum information sciences and quantum physics has led to a significant shortage of highly trained early career scientists. In addition to expanding the quantum science workforce, the USRA Quantum Academy trains qualified scientists on the quantum computing assets available at NASA’s Ames Research Center, maximizing the utilization of the quantum computing facilities and broadening the domains to which the technology has been applied. Students will receive valuable experience working on teams, undertaking projects in quantum computing and developing algorithms to solve problems within important application domains.


A three to six-months period in the USRA-NASA-Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory at NASA’s Advanced Supercomputing Center introduces graduate students to scientific opportunities in quantum information sciences and trains them to do research on quantum computing hardware such as the D-Wave 2000Q.

Students work in close collaboration with quantum scientists, receive hands-on training, and undertake an individualized research project as part of the program. The project will involve application of quantum computing techniques to develop novel approaches to solve real world challenges in the NASA-related domains such as robotic exploration, air traffic management, and earth science. Students will also participate in seminars and workshops with researchers from other organizations doing quantum computing research, including academic institutions and industrial organizations.

Summary of Summer Activities

Students will complete the required training for running jobs on one of the quantum computers available to USRA, such as the D-Wave 2000Q, including mapping problems to be solved with the quantum processor unit in the first 3 weeks of the program. Once training is complete, students will select a research project in collaboration with a mentor and develop an implementation plan. They will design the algorithms for their chosen application and if possible they will run them on the quantum hardware resulting in data they will analyze. Students will be asked to write a final report and make a formal presentation of their results.

Academy Success to Date

Since the program began in the summer of 2016, it has attracted students from U.S. universities such as Harvard University and Columbia University, and the program is open to international participation as well, pending VISA approval. The program accepts up to 6 students annually. The small size of the program ensures that each student receives engaged scientific mentoring, which often results in publication and presentation opportunities at technical conferences.

For further information, please contact:

David Bell, Ph.D.
Director, USRA Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science

Davide Venturelli, Ph.D.
Science Operations Manager, Quantum AI Lab


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