QCE20 VirtualIEEE Quantum Week Panels feature enlightening and impactful discussions among experts on different perspectives of quantum topics, including quantum education & training, quantum hardware & software, quantum engineering challenges, fault-tolerant quantum computers, quantum error correction, quantum intermediate language representation, hardware-software co-design, and hybrid quantum-classical computing platforms. The length of each panel is 45-90 minutes.

Panels — Preliminary Digital Presentation Guidelines

As a QCE20 Panel Organizer or Panelist, please visit this page regularly for updates on how to orchestrate your QCE20 Panel for the week of October 12-16, 2020. A preliminary detailed conference program will be published in early August.

Panels Program


Engineering Challenges in Building a Quantum Computer

Organizers: Patty Lee, Tom Markham: Honeywell Quantum Solutions; Sheryl Genco: NTIA; Travis Scholten: IBM Quantum
Moderator: Tatjana Curcic, DARPA
Panelists: Yu Chen, Google Quantum AI; Jerry Chow, IBM Quantum; Chris Langer, Honeywell; Martin Roetteler, Microsoft Quantum

Abstract: As quantum computing moves from scientific laboratories into the commercial world, a host of engineering challenges at all levels of the quantum computing stack arise. In addition to businesses needing to build high-performance, universal quantum computing functionalities into their products, issues such as stability and robustness are also crucial, as uptime and other metrics have business impact. The fidelity, reproducibility, robustness, and scalability of delicate quantum hardware challenge both physicists and engineers. These challenges also extend further up the stack into the software layer, as access to quantum computers is often delivered through the cloud. And finally, organizational challenges arise as enterprise companies develop their capabilities and organizational know-how for commercializing this technology.

This panel will bring together four leading enterprise companies invested in quantum computing to talk about the hardware, software, and organizational engineering challenges they have faced in building out their quantum computing business. They will also discuss some of the near-to-medium-term obstacles facing their companies from an engineering perspective, and share ways that those challenges are being addressed by their organization and the industry more broadly.

Target Audience: The intended audience for this panel is the following kinds of people: (1) Engineers seeking positions within the quantum computing industry, who benefit from hearing about the challenges organizations face, and who can learn how their skills can help organizations overcome them. (2) Quantum computing enthusiasts who casually follow developments in the industry, and who benefit from hearing directly from those organizations whose efforts directly impact their ability to use and consume quantum computers. (3) Academics and government technical leaders who would like to understand what opportunities may exist for collaboration with industry on relevant and timely research projects. (4) News analysts and consultants who would like to understand how organizations are thinking about their quantum computing efforts, and who would be interested to gain perspective on what the near to medium-term future of the industry could look like.

Streams: QHW, QSW, QIS, QAPP

Date: Mon, Oct 12, 2020
Time: 13:30 Mountain Time (MT) — UTC-7


Building a Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computer from the Ground Up

Organizers/Panelists: Itamar Sivan, Quantum Machines; Michael Biercuk, Q-CTRL; Théau Peronnin, Alice&Bob

Abstract: Error-correction is well established as an essential tool for the realization of large-scale quantum computers. As quantum processors still suffer from high levels of noise, much effort is devoted to demonstrating useful applications long before error-correction is employed and in order to reach ‘quantum advantage’ with so-called NISQ-era devices.

In this panel, we will discuss the importance of addressing the requirements which flow down from the demanding application of quantum error-correction, from the ground up. This, of course, requires incredible engineering efforts which are in several regards unnecessary for achieving quantum advantage with NISQ-era devices in the near-term but establish a pathway to major advantages in the long-term. Preparing for fault-tolerant operation influences the quantum computer architecture on all levels – from the quantum processor design and high-level software, through the quantum orchestration layer and embedded quantum firmware. Considering the relationships between these different abstraction layers often leads to trade-offs between scalability, qubit connectivity, noise, etc.

We will address recent advances in quantum error-correction and the relationship between error-correction and techniques for efficient hardware manipulation such as quantum control, quantum firmware, and quantum orchestration. Ultimately we will explore the various efforts aiming to build the necessary hardware and software infrastructure supporting the realization of quantum error-correction in fault-tolerant quantum processors.

Target Audience: This panel brings together experts working on all layers of the quantum computer, and are leading revolutionary startups all of which are committed to reaching the holy grail of fault-tolerant quantum computers and realizing the full potential of quantum computers.

Streams: QHW, QSW, QIS, QAPP

Date: Mon, Oct 12, 2020
Time: 15:30 Mountain Time (MT) — UTC-7


Pivoting into Quantum Computing

Organizers: Abraham Asfaw, Rajeev Malik, Travis Scholten: IBM Quantum
Moderator: Travis Humble, Oak Ridge National Lab
Panelists:  Luuk Ament, Julianna Murphy, Andrew Wack, Paco Martin, Jessie Yu, Ben Fearon, IBM

Abstract: The development of quantum computing as a commercial endeavor requires a “whole of industry” effort, bringing together individuals with a wide variety of skills. From marketing and design, to product and organizational management, to software and classical hardware, the continued maturation of this industry requires contributions from individuals with different backgrounds and skillsets.

For many outside the industry without quantum computing skills, knowledge, or know-how, how to “pivot into quantum”, and thereby join this growing industry, is unclear. This is especially true for those individuals who have already established their career in a different industry, or who are just now finishing their education. Such individuals have much to contribute to the industry, if they can identify ways to “plug in” and get involved.

In this panel, members of the IBM Quantum team who come from “non-quantum” backgrounds (such as design, front-end development, and classical HPC) will share their perspectives on their journey to quantum. They will discuss how their skills fit into IBM Quantum’s effort, how they learned complementary skills, and how their past experiences have helped them thrive in the organization.

Target Audience: The intended audience for this panel is people whose skills are “non-quantum”, and who are new to the industry. Such people would like to know how their skills map onto the
industry. In particular, two groups of people would especially benefit from the panel: (1) Students whose degrees are not in quantum computing or adjacent scientific fields. Such students benefit from hearing
from panelists who are in the early stages of their careers, and who themselves we recently engaged in academic studies. (2) Professionals in established careers who are interested in pivoting. They benefit from hearing from panelists who have are mid-career and who themselves have had to made changes in their career to join IBM Quantum’s effort.

Another group of people that would benefit from this panel are those “quantum natives” who might be looking to develop complementary skills. Such people benefit from hearing about the kinds of non-quantum opportunities present in industry. For example, by hearing from a designer or an offering manager, such people may consider looking into developing skills in those subjects.


Date: Wed, Oct 14, 2020
Time: 13:30 Mountain Time (MT) — UTC-7


Towards a Practical Intermediate Representation (IR) for Quantum

Organizer/Moderator: Yudong Cao: Zapata Computing
Tentative Panelists: Blake Johnson, IBM; Gian Giacomo Guerreschi, Intel; David Rivas, Rigetti; Andres Paz, Microsoft; Dave Bacon, Google; Ntwali Toussaint, Zapata Computing

Abstract: As the field of quantum computing matures as an engineering discipline, there have been various proposals for building the software infrastructure for quantum programming, namely the pipeline that starts with the source code as the input and terminates with quantum-classical machine-readable instructions as the output. However, with the growing diversity of quantum hardware as well as classical programming languages (particularly the advent of languages such as Julia for scientific computing), an important question is how to build a low-level software infrastructure that is scalable with respect to these growths. In classical compiler infrastructure, the design of intermediate representation (IR) is precisely intended for handling the multitude of both programming languages and hardware architectures. Therefore, a natural question becomes how to design a practical IR that incorporates quantum instructions? This question opens up an entire design space encompassing many tradeoffs (such as between complexity and generality, near-term gain versus long-term consideration) that warrant serious debates and discussions.

Target Audience: This panel represents the state of the art in various approaches to quantum programming. The audience will glean a bird’s-eye view of the landscape at the forefront of the current discussions.
For a research audience, this panel will reveal the design thinking behind some of the most commonly adopted programming paradigms and hence provide a deep appreciation for their apparently disparate approaches. For an industry audience, no matter which part of the quantum computing stack they are working on, this panel will bring forth one of the quintessential engineering challenges in quantum software-hardware integration that were previously under-appreciated.

Streams: QHW, QSW

Date: Wed, Oct 14, 2020
Time: 15:30 Mountain Time (MT) — UTC-7


Training the Next Generation of Quantum Scientists, Engineers, and Software Developers

Organizers: Abraham Asfaw, Rajeev Malik, Travis Scholten: IBM Quantum
Moderator: Irene Qualters, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Panelists: Sophia Economou, Virgina Tech; Matt Langione, Boston Consulting Group; Peter Johnson, Zapata Computing; AbrahamAsfaw, IBM Quantum; Steve Sanders, Honeywell

Abstract: In recent years, quantum computing has moved out of the scientific lab and into the world as a commercial endeavor. The continued maturation and success of this nascent industry (and the technology powering it) requires training the next generation of highly-competent, technically-proficient quantum computing scientists, engineers, and software developers. This sort of workforce development requires coordination among several entities, including government funding agencies, universities, national laboratories, and private sector companies (enterprise and startup alike). Especially in this early stage of the field, close collaboration is necessary to ensure the right talent and skills are developed and harnessed to help the industry flourish.

In this panel, representatives from the private sector, academic institutions, startups, and national labs will share their perspective on how cross-institutional collaboration can remove obstacles to the development of the quantum computing workforce. This panel will not only touch on the successes these institutions have had in training their employees, educating students, and helping their broader industries understand the impact quantum computing could have, but will also reflect on the gap in skills and diversity that they see today and discuss possible ways to address them.

Target Audience: This panel is intended for the following kinds of people: (1) Members of industry who want to understand the challenges and opportunities in developing quantum computing knowledge within their organization. Such people benefit from hearing from panelists who themselves have successfully confronted such challenges. (2) Academics interested in developing quantum computing courses, and ensuring the students of those courses learn industry-relevant skills. As a result of listening to this panel, these audience members will better understand the successes academia and the private sector has had in developing and deploying educational content, and also be more cognizant of the challenges on the horizon. They will be equipped to identify opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of best practices and pick up
some tips and insights along the way.


Date: Thu, Oct 15, 2020
Time: 13:30 Mountain Time (MT) — UTC-7


Enabling and Growing the Quantum Industry

Organizers: Joe Broz, VP, SRI International & Executive Director, QED-C and Celia Merzbacher, Sr Director, SRI International & Deputy Director, QED-C
Moderator: Tom Ohki, Raytheon BBN
Ricardo Borges, Synopsys; Ashley Huff, Janis Research Company; Ofer Naaman, Google; Chad Hoyt, Honeywell (tentative)

Abstract: Applications of quantum information science and technology (QIST) include sensing, metrology, communications, cybersecurity, and computing. Taking QIST from the lab to commercial applications requires advances not only in quantum components but also in various “classical” technologies. This panel will discuss technologies that will enable quantum-based systems to be scalable, deployable, manufacturable, and to meet performance requirements. Experts in cryogenics, electronics, photonics, and design tools will discuss the relevance and challenges of each technology to the success of the emerging quantum industry. The panelists also will discuss the need for collaboration and partnerships among the various stakeholders in the quantum “ecosystem”.

Target Audience: The panel will provide an understanding of several “classical” technologies that comprise critical components in quantum systems for diverse applications. The audience will learn about the enabling technology advances needed to support quantum applications. The panel will be informative for those in academia or industry who are relatively new to quantum or who have expertise in the enabling technology areas of photonics, control electronics, cryogenics, and electronic circuit and system design. The audience also will learn about the Quantum Economic Development Consortium, which is open to all stakeholders with an interest in the development of a quantum economy.


Date: Fri, Oct 16, 2020
Time: 15:30 Mountain Time (MT) — UTC-7