Quantum Education and Community Building with Olivia Lanes

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Sebastian Hassinger:

Alright. We are joined today by Olivia Lanes, who is the Global Lead for Education and Learning with IBM Quantum. It's great to have you with us, Olivia. How are you doing?

Olivia Lanes:

I'm great. Thanks for having me.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Thank you for joining us. So, yeah, if you want, Olivia, it'd be great to get a little bit of an introduction and a little bit of insight into how you ended up in the field of quantum computing.

Olivia Lanes:

Sure. So my background is in, experimental quantum physics. So I did my PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, and I studied quantum limited amplifiers and made a whole bunch of those for 6 years. And then when I graduated, my transition to IBM was really pretty smooth. People always ask me, you know, what was it like transitioning from academia to industry?

Olivia Lanes:

But when your transition is literally you doing the exact same thing in one building versus another building, it's really pretty easy. But then there was the pandemic, of course. So when the pandemic hit, we had some conversations about my role shifting a little bit. And then that's how I got involved in the community and the education front end because I wasn't

Sebastian Hassinger:

in Right. The labs shut down.

Olivia Lanes:

The labs didn't completely shut

Sebastian Hassinger:

down Restricted.

Olivia Lanes:

But I wasn't, being brand new Right. Like I needed personnel.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. So I was also on Abe's team, who was leading the education

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

Effort back in the day. And he said, why don't you just focus on that for a while? And I said, great. I love this stuff. That's fine.

Olivia Lanes:

I can't go to the labs anyways. And then I just did that for a few years and worked in the lab in my, you know, free time basically. But I ended up getting promoted and really following that course instead. How I ended up here was just an accident.

Sebastian Hassinger:

That's what most people's answers boil down to.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. If you really look at it, like, this was not the plan. I'm a failed I call myself a failed astronomer. Like, that's what I wanted to do. That's what I like, that was that was the plan was I will be the next Carl Sagan and I will go study astronomy.

Olivia Lanes:

And what happened was I did an internship, but I actually attempted to study astronomy. And I was like, oh, I don't like it. What do I do now? This is plan b.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right. Yeah. I can't remember if it was it was either Ken Brown or Dave Bacon. 1 of the 2 of them said that they consider themselves a failed chemist. So Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

You're you're in good and like I said, almost everybody's story does distill down to that. And that's kind of, in a way, I think that's, kind of the challenge around the education in this field is, like, there isn't a formal path, but then again, even play you know, sort of careers that do have formal paths, people end up falling into them anyway.

Olivia Lanes:

You sort of have to Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Plan for serendipity in a way.

Olivia Lanes:

You kinda do, and I that's why I feel I always feel very self conscious when people ask me for advice, and they try to, you know, emulate my footsteps. I'm like, no. No. Don't do that. It worked once for me, and that was it.

Olivia Lanes:

Like, you don't wanna plan to do what I did. You wanna be a lot more deliberate and smarter about it.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. And I guess in a way, that's sort of the the differentiator between, like, training and education. Right? I mean, training is is sort of a more defined, like, you need need this set of skills in order to do x, y, and z. Whereas education is like, I don't know, find a bunch of stuff out and try things and

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

You'll find if you keep applying yourself, you'll find a way to do something interesting.

Olivia Lanes:

Right. I think that that's a really good message too because, like, when I was in high school and undergrad, it started to become a career that

Olivia Lanes:

you could consider doing, you know, on purpose when I was in graduate school. But when I was in high school and undergrad, like, this was not a viable career path.

Sebastian Hassinger:

No.

Olivia Lanes:

But now it is. And now that I go out into the world and do a lot of outreach and talk to these people who are all trying to do the field that I did but on purpose, it really has just been, like, a 180 degrees in the way that I've been thinking about it. Right. Because it really just shows how the landscape is just so different. And, I mean, I'm not that old.

Olivia Lanes:

It hasn't been that long. You know, I graduated, like, 10 years ago, so that's not that much time in

Sebastian Hassinger:

the grand scheme of things. No. And the field changes so quickly too. I mean, you know, it's it feels like ages ago when I got involved, and it's only it's only 7 years now, really. So and so much has changed.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. It's really incredible. Well, you definitely did, you are following in in Carl Sagan's footsteps in one regard, which is you're becoming much more of a a public spokesperson for the field. Yes. So so in that way, you're definitely still on that path.

Sebastian Hassinger:

How is that like, what's that like? I mean, you you're quite a well known personality on YouTube now with relation to to quantum computing, and explainers. Only. Very small niche. You're a micro celebrity.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yes. But still, I mean, does that make it easier in some ways to to sort of get sort of messages across to drive, like, educational agendas, or does it does it get in the way? Or what's that experience like?

Olivia Lanes:

I think it is very helpful, usually, like, in regards to talking about, like, education and workforce development. I think people do tend to trust what I'm saying. But I think, you know, one of the problems that all science communicators have, and Carl Sagan even had this problem, is people are like, well, are you a real researcher? Because if you're up here doing this, you can't possibly be doing real science. So why should I listen to you?

Olivia Lanes:

And I do get that kind of sentiment every once in a while. But, of course, it's always you get you just have to laugh at it at some point because it's like, okay, random YouTube user 13 567. I'm sure that you had know this stuff way better than me. I'll just shut up.

Sebastian Hassinger:

I've seen you, employ some very adept jiu jitsu on on, Twitter trolls as well, so it's very well done. I'm sure

Olivia Lanes:

my bosses really appreciate that.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Well, you're always I'll say it is never, it's never aggressive. It's never you're never crossing any lines. You're just sort of very gently pointing out the idiots that are coming at you. So

Olivia Lanes:

I want to

Sebastian Hassinger:

Always gentle.

Olivia Lanes:

I I always wanna teach. I never wanna come across as, you know, being a jerk, but every once in a while, I gotta stand up for myself a little bit.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Absolutely. Absolutely. You used the the the phrase workforce development, which is frankly something I hadn't encountered before getting involved in the quantum field. It makes a lot of sense because if if this is a, you know, a disruptive technology with sort of broad, impact across a number of different industries, We're gonna need people to know how to do it. Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

But I mean, I guess, like, how do you see because there's sort of there's a bunch of different categories of workforce here. There's sort of people who could work at IBM, at TJ Watson. There's people who could work at, you know, in an industrial R and D setting, for a pharma company or whatever. And then there's the sort of broader set of skills as the technology becomes more capable and broadly distributed. Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Do you how do you sort of deal with those types of or, you know, priorities, I guess?

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. That's a really good question. So like you pointed out, it's really a multifaceted problem. So priorities, you know, I I work for IBM, so I guess one of my priorities has to be to make sure that we can hire people. And as a hiring manager too.

Olivia Lanes:

Like, I wanna make sure there are people that can fulfill jobs that we're trying to hire for and that have skills to fulfill the needs that we have. I mean, that's a top priority. But, you know, it's not

Olivia Lanes:

just for IBM.

Olivia Lanes:

Like, we really do believe that other industries and other companies are

Olivia Lanes:

gonna have to succeed if we're gonna succeed succeed as well. So it's really about growing the workforce for Right. All of these places. But like you said, the conversation is just so multifaceted. Did do we start educating people more in quantum at the undergrad level, at the high school level, at the middle school level?

Olivia Lanes:

Do kindergarteners need to know what quantum is? Oh, but then we don't have enough postdocs. Like, it almost feels unsolvable Yeah. Because there are so many different problems that we have to solve, but I'm just so fascinated by all of these questions. Like, that's those are the problems that keep me up at night that I wanna work

Olivia Lanes:

to solve. Yeah. So, you know, we're never gonna be be perfect, but hopefully, we will asymptotically approach some solutions as one does in science, and that'll bring about, you know, better change, we hope.

Sebastian Hassinger:

We hope. I could make a dumb joke about using a quantum computer to solve the problem. I won't do that. But, I should say also, you mentioned Abe. Abe and I, we were you and I crossed paths at IBM for a time.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Abe and I worked together, when I when he he and I both were new to IBM Quantum and started, like, the open source textbook and some other early education efforts. And the way you just put it was the thing I always appreciated about IBM's attitude towards this, which is that it's not just for the benefit of IBM. I mean, I thought that the the amount that IBM has invested in education and workforce development for Quantum has been a really good example for the rest of the industry.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. We certainly don't want to be the only pillar of quantum education. I mean, IBM has invested a 100,000,000 over the past

Sebastian Hassinger:

5 years.

Olivia Lanes:

It's not a small investment. No. It's a lot. We've hired people like myself, you know, specifically to work on this. But, I mean, it doesn't have to be the case that we're the only ones.

Olivia Lanes:

Like, we welcome other people to join us in this endeavor too because, you know, a high tide raises all ships, as they say. Is that the expression?

Sebastian Hassinger:

Something like that. I'm not a I'm not a mariner, so I can't be certain, but that sounds right.

Olivia Lanes:

Yes. Me neither.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. That's awesome. And, you know, you mentioned as early as middle school, we've both been involved in Q12, which is an NSF funded effort out of, I guess, UIUC and University of Chicago, initially. I guess Emily is now at Duke, so I

Sebastian Hassinger:

guess Thank you, Duke. Yes. Congrats, Emily. Congrats, Emily. That's a terrific project that's sort of collecting resources for exposing kids earlier and earlier, sort of fundamental STEM concepts is, you know, you're not gonna talk about cubits necessarily in grade 8, but you might talk about, you know, photonic polarization with a demonstration

Olivia Lanes:

of lenses. People always ask me, you know, is it really necessary to talk to middle schoolers about cubits and quantum computing. I'm like, well, no. Is it necessary? No.

Olivia Lanes:

It's not necessary. Like, they will live just fine. Yeah. It's cool. But, like, the other thing is, like, if I had to devise some sort of presentation for middle schoolers, I don't even know if I'd use the word cute like you were saying.

Olivia Lanes:

I might just try to show them something or talk a little bit about, you know, entanglement or superposition. Like, it my philosophy is at that stage, before they're ready to, like, do any of the math that will solidify, like, a philosophical understanding, all you have to do is blow their minds off.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Exactly.

Olivia Lanes:

Like, that's it. It's sorta like a magic show.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Like, where you're like poof and then the rabbit appears and it's like, alright. I'm out. And, like, if you can just confuse them

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yes.

Olivia Lanes:

Because middle schoolers and high schoolers think they know everything. Right. If you can just confuse them and show them that they don't actually understand the world as much as they think, this will annoy them, and they will come back.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right. Right.

Olivia Lanes:

I swear they will. Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

That's sort of the nature of human curiosity is, like, I didn't get that. I'm gonna try it again.

Olivia Lanes:

I mean, I that could be my whole story too. Totally. Like, physics was my worst class in high school, and I was, like, annoyed that that was the one that I didn't do well on. So I was like, I better go get a PhD in that, I guess.

Sebastian Hassinger:

That's hilarious. And it does I mean, it feels like I mean, people talk about sort of the problem in STEM education as being one of, like, a bigger funnel, and especially when you talk about, you know, diversity and inclusion, a bigger funnel, but then also a less leaky as you said, all the way. Leaky pipeline. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

I mean, the funnel, to me, like, that's great, but, like, those are hollow words Yeah. Unless you fix the the leakiness issue.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

So yeah. I mean, those conversations are all well and good, and I we have them a lot. Like, how do we fix the funnel? How do we attract more people? But the conversations I'm more interested in are, like, how do we promote the people that are already here?

Olivia Lanes:

How do we make sure that they're happy? Like, have you talked to the senior managers in your Right. Company lately? Have you asked the people who have been here, like, a few years how their career is going, how they feel like they've been treated by peers? Not implying anything bad, but

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

Those are the more important questions, I think.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. I totally agree, and I think you're absolutely go wrong.

Olivia Lanes:

Exactly. Like, they should be proactive instead of reactive.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yes. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

And I would like to see more people do that, you know, across the board. In academia and industry, it's not, you know, an isolated problem as I'm sure

Sebastian Hassinger:

we all know. No. No. Definitely. It's let's just keep our scope to STEM and and more narrowly quantum because we're not gonna fix the rest of society's problems on this one.

Sebastian Hassinger:

It's only 30 minutes, Olivia. So Well,

Olivia Lanes:

how much time do we have left?

Sebastian Hassinger:

Okay. Like, I don't know. 12 minutes? Alright.

Olivia Lanes:

We'll fix all

Sebastian Hassinger:

of them. Not all of them. No. No. Alright.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Climate change. No. Never mind. So, yeah. I I guess, next question I had for you, like, what do you see this is sort of going to the sort of the collaboration, side of things.

Sebastian Hassinger:

What role do you see, international collaboration playing in in sort of this broader I mean, again, so, you know, talk about diversity, you've got a concentration of sort of access to resources in wealthier nations, which tend to be more northern hemisphere. So people use the term global south often as as, you know, indicative of populations that have less access. Is that something that we can help fix with more international collaboration?

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. I think so. For sure. I mean, we have made as much as we can make free and open access. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

When I say we, I mean the IBM team, not me alone, specifically, which I think is great because we've been able to see the geographic population of people who are accessing the systems and, you know, completing their first lesson really exploded when we did that, which I think is great. But in terms of other international collaborations, you know, I think they're a huge priority. One thing I've noticed is that certain countries and certain geographical regions, even in the United States, but, you know, more broadly across the whole world. Like, there are people there are pockets of people who specialize in really specific things in different areas of the world. And it just really brings into the whole conversation about quantum mechanics and quantum computing being a really interdisciplinary field.

Olivia Lanes:

And since we need all of these different types of brains and minds and backgrounds to complete our mission, I would say, in some ways. I think the collaborations that we have with all of these different pockets of specialties across the globe is what's gonna enable our success.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Interesting. That's funny. We were just talking to Martin Savage from University of Washington a couple weeks ago, who did a great experiment on the IBM system over over the the Christmas holidays. Yeah. And he said that he thought that quantum information science would become more of almost a lingua franca, like a universal language for physical sciences

Olivia Lanes:

Mhmm.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Over time because the the toolkit as these devices get more and more capable, the toolkit's gonna be so powerful, whether you're talking about chemistry or, you know, biology even, that quantum information science will just sort of be, like, part of the standard approach to these

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. I think that that's we're sort of, like, on the precipice of that right now. Like, a lot of the conversations that we're having, are, you know, how much can we abstract away and how much do I really need to learn to use this? Right. And in the past, you know, maybe even 2 or 3 years ago, I'm gonna be like, well, you're gonna have to learn some quantum physics.

Olivia Lanes:

Sorry about that. Yeah. Good news is it's fun.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Don't worry. But now we're getting to the point where it's like, yeah. You should know a little bit. Like, you need to know what gates mean and it's helpful to visualize the Bloch sphere, but, like, you don't actually need to know what a transmon is

Sebastian Hassinger:

at this point. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. You don't

Olivia Lanes:

need to know what a superconducting qubit is. You don't actually even need to know what architecture you're using.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

And that kinda blows my mind a little bit just because you don't normally see that level of abstraction, this soon

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right. When

Olivia Lanes:

you're building a new technology.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's sort of I mean, I always think of we're in sort of, like, whatever the period of classical computing that roughly equates to like the 19 fifties or sixties, sort of, you know, somewhere between the transistor and the monolithic solution. We've got microprocessors, except that we also have the cloud and GPUs and open source software and all this incredibly sophisticated

Olivia Lanes:

tech bulb. Funny because, like, all the really sophisticated technology is actually the classical part right now. I mean, the cryogenics, that's been around for decades. Yeah. Like, it it looks cool.

Olivia Lanes:

Don't get me wrong. And, like, we should totally use that to, like, lure people in, but it's not new. And it's really not that sophisticated. It's like a bunch of plumbing hearts. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. But it's shiny, so people are like, this is the future.

Sebastian Hassinger:

It draws the crowds. I remember the, first supercomputing conference that we brought the chandelier to, and there were more people around the IBM booth than any other booth in that show Yeah. Because it was very, very interesting looking. Okay. Cool.

Sebastian Hassinger:

So well, we're at I should mention, we're at RPI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on the occasion of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Quantum Center, which is centered around an IBM Quantum device, which is on premises. What is your view of what the sort of educational opportunities or, I mean, this is a unique this is the only university with an actual quantum computer on its campus. It's in the middle of a beautiful building that you can walk in and see, as you're saying. The shiny object is right there in front of people. Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Do you like, what do you see as being kind of the opportunity here educationally for them?

Olivia Lanes:

Well, there's a few, you know, very boring but tangible things, which I'll mention first, which is that when you have an on premise system, you don't have to wait in line Right. To use it. Like, that is your school's dedicated system.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

And if you're trying to do something, you don't have to wait in the queue. And sometimes those queues can really pile on.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Get really long.

Olivia Lanes:

So, you know, that's a boring answer, but that's another piece of the puzzle.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Practical, I think I would say. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

But the other piece of it is that I really do think it brings something intangible to just the vibe of the educational landscape. Like, so many of the professors, so many of the faculty that I've talked to, and the students too are just so excited about this. And that level of excitement is something that you can't buy No. And you can't just install in your class. Right.

Olivia Lanes:

You know, it's cool that you can run simulations and you can send jobs to real quantum computers over the cloud. Like, I still I still think that's really cool. Me too. I probably don't appreciate how cool it is on a daily basis. But if you really sit and think about it for a while, it's cool.

Sebastian Hassinger:

It's really cool.

Olivia Lanes:

But it's not as cool as seeing it in real life and being like, I just sent my job to that machine. Yeah. And I also think being able to visualize it and, like, see all of the parts and all of the pieces Right. Brings

Olivia Lanes:

a more fundamental understanding than you could possibly have otherwise.

Olivia Lanes:

Because no matter how feel as cool as when you see in real life. It's just not. Yeah. It's just not. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

It's just

Olivia Lanes:

not. Yeah. It's just not. Yeah. It's just not.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

It's just not. Yeah. It's just not. Yeah. It's just not gonna feel as cool as when you see it in real life.

Olivia Lanes:

It's just not.

Sebastian Hassinger:

No. I saw it this morning. I can attest to the fact it looks really cool in real life.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. Oh, good. I haven't seen it yet.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. I got the VIP tour this morning.

Olivia Lanes:

Alright. Sebastian's a VIP. I'm not

Sebastian Hassinger:

but, yeah, I I agree with you, and I guess the other aspect I wonder about is, you know, Rensselaer is known for being, very advanced in their their HPC and their supercomputing cluster. It's sort of been, you know, a close partner of the power systems team within IBM for many years. They've done a lot of really cutting edge things here, and I wonder about having that kind of HPC culture and this on premise device, whether that sort of affords opportunities for experimenting with, you know, the the physical deployment architectures because these things are gonna live in regular data centers eventually.

Olivia Lanes:

Yes. I think it will definitely offer Yeah. Offer the opportunity to do that. We have, you know, another team that's very focused on the HPC thing as well. And then another thing, you know, that I'll point out is that RPI, you know, they have a strong physics and computer science department.

Olivia Lanes:

No doubt about that. But they are so strong in all STEM fields Yeah. And tech subjects. And one of the really cool things about working with RPI over these past few months is that I've gotten to talk to faculty from all different, schools Right. Which is something that's really important to me because I always say, you know, physics has been hogging the quantum and we shouldn't let them do that because Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Quantum is really the underlying physics of every subject.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

And I'm very big on the we need interdisciplinary minds to solve the problems that we have.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

So I think it'll be really cool in terms of just recruiting and studying things that we don't normally get to think about.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. Well, and in a way, back to sort of the the training theme, like, I think the whole industry, quantum industry has been challenged by, you know, how do you get people to think in terms of these quantum information technologies enough, people from industry, so that they bring forward sort of the problem statements that can turn into use cases over time. Right?

Olivia Lanes:

That's the hardest part.

Sebastian Hassinger:

That's the hardest part.

Olivia Lanes:

Like, unfortunately, whenever I talk to clients and students are like, the hardest part is the first problem. Unfortunately, that's how it is with quantum computing. The hardest part isn't the last step Right. Like it is with a lot of technologies. The hardest part is the first step here Right.

Olivia Lanes:

Which is identifying a good problem which could have real solutions based in quantum technology. Right. And people are like, well, how do I know where to start? I'm like, excellent question.

Olivia Lanes:

You gotta

Olivia Lanes:

talk to her through.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Wish I had a answer. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So back to your point.

Sebastian Hassinger:

I mean, I feel like because there's such a diversity of STEM, strengths here and this quantum resource, there's almost, you know, a breeding ground for those types of interactions that'll lead to those problem statements that can turn into real use cases.

Olivia Lanes:

I hope so.

Sebastian Hassinger:

And, you

Olivia Lanes:

know Me too. Hopefully, we can identify some more use cases as well because, you know, we know, you know, there are some in chemistry. We don't we all are aware of that. We know there are some in finance, but and crypto as well. But are there more in, you know, the biology space and the information science space Right.

Olivia Lanes:

And, I don't know, other STEM fields I'm forgetting Sure. That we're not focused on. We haven't really been dedicating enough time and resources to because it's such a big space.

Sebastian Hassinger:

You know,

Olivia Lanes:

it's hard to know where to start and where to divert most of our efforts to. So, like you said, I think there's opportunity for real synergy here.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. Totally. And I mean, it's it also I mean, you said physics has been hogging the quantum. You know, the the the reality is I mean, I I like to tell people that Feynman's sort of prediction or or statement that if you wanna simulate a quantum system, you need a quantum device, that we're at that stage now. Right?

Sebastian Hassinger:

There's now novel science being done on these devices that is a simulation of a quantum many body problem at some scale that is very, very difficult to do, if not impossible classically. We're we're right on the cusp of that.

Olivia Lanes:

We're right on the cusp of that. Yeah. And, yeah, one way that I I've described it to people is that, you know, in a few years, all computers that are not quantum are going to be a sad approximation of a computer because physics and nature behaves quantum mechanically.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

It doesn't behave classically. Right. So if you're gonna try to simulate quantum phenomena

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

On a computer that doesn't understand that, you're not gonna get it.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right. Right. Right.

Olivia Lanes:

It'll be an approximation.

Sebastian Hassinger:

And in a way, like, I mean, physics has been hogging quantum because that's where, I mean, those are the people who are thinking in those terms day to day. But once this becomes a tool kit that you can use in other domains, it may be that we find we can map all kinds of different problems at some level to some kind of quantum simulation.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. And there are, you know, hybrid classical quantum algorithms as well. Like, I think that confuses people because they always ask me, you know, which one is gonna win classical and quantum? And I'm like, it's really that's not the right question to be asking. They're always going to play with one another.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

And it's just how much are we gonna divert to each resource. Right. You know? Right. We don't know yet.

Olivia Lanes:

But I mean, when you use a supercomputing cluster, you don't specify what rack

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

You send your job to. Yeah. It'll just do that automatically at some point. And at some point, you know, our software stack will be intelligent enough to be able to divert the problem to whatever hardware cluster is more aptly suited for your problem.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

So I don't neither is going to win.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right. Right.

Olivia Lanes:

We are the

Sebastian Hassinger:

winners. Yeah. Exactly.

Olivia Lanes:

Exactly. Not the machines.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Not yet. Hopefully. Okay. So we've we've, we've gotten a little off off of the the main theme of training and education, but I like that because I wanted to actually swing around to almost more of a personal dimension here, which is you said you started building, quantum filters. And on the experimentalist side of things, you've had this, you know, foray into training and education.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Do you see yourself getting back to experimental physics at some point?

Olivia Lanes:

That's a good that's a really good question. You know, I don't make a lot of predictions at this point in my life anymore is the honest answer. So I don't know exactly what the future is gonna hold, but I have to say I'm loving what I'm doing right now. And there are so many good experimental physicists in the world that I'm not worried that, like, my leaving would leave a vacuum of any kind.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Well, it would on the training and education side.

Olivia Lanes:

I don't wanna, like, toot my horn too much, but I do feel like that is sort of where I've found a need for right now for the specific skills that I have. Yeah. So for right now, I don't think I'm going to venture back into the lab anytime soon.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Good. We need more explainers, Olivia.

Olivia Lanes:

I I love explaining things.

Sebastian Hassinger:

I know.

Olivia Lanes:

And I think

Sebastian Hassinger:

You're very good at it.

Olivia Lanes:

Thank you. I think it helps that I had a technical background. I certainly don't regret getting my PhD. Right. Not that it was like all, you know, unicorns and rainbows, but I think it helped me learn to think in a way that helps me explain things

Sebastian Hassinger:

better. Awesome. Well, it it it has worked. Okay. So last question then.

Sebastian Hassinger:

What are I'm gonna steal the Ezra Klein thing. What are 3 resources that you would like the listeners to go, go look up for for, you know, training learning more and taking the next steps in quantum computing.

Olivia Lanes:

Oh, 3 resources. Okay.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. He usually says 3 books, but that's not applicable here.

Olivia Lanes:

So

Olivia Lanes:

Three books or resources. Yeah. Okay. Well, I think the first one I'd have to point out is the learning platform that we've created on the IBM Quantum site because I really do think it is a good source of information. We put a lot of work into it.

Olivia Lanes:

It's not, like, done now. It's a living document. So if there's if you are logged on, you're like, I've already taken all of these courses. Like, don't worry. Just visit in, like, a month or 2.

Olivia Lanes:

I'm working very hard to populate it with more material. But we were trying to make the quality, you know, top notch. So it takes a little while. Another book that I really like for beginners, is Tom Wong's book. I plug that book a lot.

Olivia Lanes:

I forget the exact title. It's like understanding quantum Yeah. Information, I think. But, I think it's free online but I bought a copy also really cheaply off Amazon too. And I think that if you're trying to understand, like, the statistical nature

Sebastian Hassinger:

Mhmm. Of

Olivia Lanes:

things and you're not used to thinking that way, the book is really, really great for that. And then I don't know. I might just say YouTube for the last one.

Sebastian Hassinger:

The Qiskit channel is pretty rich.

Olivia Lanes:

We put

Olivia Lanes:

a lot of stuff there.

Olivia Lanes:

I mean, I

Olivia Lanes:

could say, like, Nielsen and Chuang, but

Sebastian Hassinger:

I did say resources. So YouTube channels definitely allowed.

Olivia Lanes:

You can learn so much Yeah. For free if you know where to look. The only thing, you know, I'll caution people who are online trying to create their own solo learning experiences. So make sure you're

Sebastian Hassinger:

not Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Listening to somebody who has no idea what they're

Sebastian Hassinger:

talking about. If anybody says do your own research, don't.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. That's such a loaded statement. There are so many nuances with that. It's like, you should do your own research, but you have to know how to do research first. And, oh, that takes, like, 15 years.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. So Well, I think the Qiskit channel is a

Sebastian Hassinger:

really good example of well curated content.

Sebastian Hassinger:

So, I mean, anything you watch on that channel, you can at least, trust that it's fully vetted. It's coming from, people who know very well what they're talking about. That's true. I promise. Super, super useful.

Olivia Lanes:

There are opinions. You know, opinions are not necessarily fact

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

But I am not none of none there are no falsehoods.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right.

Olivia Lanes:

Yes.

Sebastian Hassinger:

Right. Yeah. And, actually, Zlachko is still doing his Friday seminar series, I think, too. Yep. That's what actually got me thinking about doing a podcast originally.

Olivia Lanes:

Oh, Zlatko's seminar?

Sebastian Hassinger:

Yeah. Yeah.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. Those are really good too.

Sebastian Hassinger:

They're terrific. Yeah. Well, great. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us, Olivia.

Olivia Lanes:

Yeah. This was so fun.

Sebastian Hassinger:

A great conversation.

Creators and Guests

Sebastian HassingeršŸŒ»
Host
Sebastian HassingeršŸŒ»
Business development #QuantumComputing @AWScloud Opinions mine, he/him.
person
Guest
Olivia Lanes
Global Lead, IBM Quantum advocacy & education| PhD @PittTweet | @DickinsonCol | ā€œSufficiently amusingā€ | Ask me about my qubit.
Omar Costa Hamido
Composer
Omar Costa Hamido
OCH is a performer, composer, and technologist, working primarily in multimedia and improvisation. His current research is on quantum computing and music composition, telematics, and multimedia. He is passionate about emerging technology, cinema, teaching, and performing new works. He earned his PhD in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology at University of California, Irvine with his research project Adventures in Quantumland (quantumland.art). He also earned his MA in Music Theory and Composition at ESMAE-IPP Portugal with his research on the relations between music and painting. In recent years, his work has been recognized with grants and awards from MSCA, Fulbright, FundaĆ§Ć£o para a CiĆŖncia e a Tecnologia, Medici, Beall Center for Art+Technology, and IBM.
Quantum Education and Community Building with Olivia Lanes
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