W08 Grand Challenges and Research Tools for Quantum Computing

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Ali Javadi, IBM, US (Contact Ali Javadi)

Links to installation (instructions + tutorial script) are below. Preinstall software before the tutorial. The Docker + Docker image file size is ~7GB, so please start the installation process now.

Quantum computing is at an inflection point, where 72-qubit (quantum bit) machines have been built, 100-qubit machines are just around the corner, and even 1000-qubit machines are perhaps only a few years away. These machines have the potential to fundamentally change our concept of what is computable and demonstrate practical applications in areas such as quantum chemistry, optimization, and quantum simulation.

Yet a significant resource gap remains between practical quantum algorithms and near-term machines. Software and architectures are what are needed to increase the efficiency of algorithms and machines and close this gap. There is a urgent shortage of the necessary computer scientists to work on closing this gap (there are over 60 public and private companies trying to hire in this area).

This tutorial will outline the grand research challenges in closing this gap, including programming language design, software and hardware verification, defining and perforating abstraction boundaries, cross-layer optimization, managing parallelism and communication, mapping and scheduling computations, reducing control complexity, machine-specific optimizations, and many more. Some of these challenges can be approached with minimal quantum computing background and some will require greater depth.

We will introduce the basic concepts and resources to enable researchers to begin to delve into these challenges. We will also introduce quantum algorithms of near-term significance.

Finally, we will provide an overview and hands-on experience with an end-to-end set of software tools from a high-level programming language to running experiments on cloud-access IBM quantum machines. These tools will be a combination of the Scaffold Quantum Programming Language/Compiler and the IBM QISkit tools and interfaces.

This tutorial will be highly interactive. Participants will install our tools and work with code examples running on real quantum hardware at IBM, all organized within Jupyter notebooks, throughout the afternoon.


Slides from previous tutorial offering (ISCA 2018) linked below, videos available on Youtube


  • Fred Chong (UChicago) -- co-author of the Scaffold compiler and simulation tools for quantum computing and a synthesis lecture on quantum computing for computer architects.
  • Margaret Martonosi (Princeton) -- co-author of the Scaffold compiler and simulation tools for quantum computing and member of the NASEM (National Academies) study committee on feasibility and implications of Quantum Computing
  • Ali Javadi-Abhari (IBM Research) -- co-author of the Scaffold compiler and simulation tools for quantum computing and researcher for IBM's QISkit quantum computing tools and cloud access to IBM's prototype machines.


  • Ken Brown (Duke) -- Leading researcher in the control of quantum systems for both understanding the natural world and developing new technologies. His current research areas are the development of robust quantum computers and the study of molecular properties at cold and ultracold temperatures.


  • Pranav Gokhale (UChicago) -- second year PhD student in quantum computer architecture
  • Xin-Chuan (Ryan) Wu (UChicago) -- third year PhD student in quantum computer architecture



07:30W08.1Registration Desk opens
08:30W08.2Workshops start
10:00W08.3Coffee break 1
12:00W08.4Lunch break
14:30W08.5Coffee break 2
17:30W08.6Workshops end