Announcing Azure Quantum challenge at QCHack 2022

Mariia Mykhailova

We are excited to announce that Microsoft along with our partners IonQ and Quantinuum will join Quantum Coalition Hack 2022! QCHack is a virtual Hackathon hosted jointly by Yale Undergraduate Quantum Computing and Stanford Quantum Computing Association, and targets students from all over the world.

The first edition of QCHack ran in April 2021 and attracted over two thousand participants from 80 countries! Check out the last year’s event summary to learn more about the history of this Hackathon.

QCHack will consist of two parts: the Hackathon, running for 24 hours during the weekend of April 9-10, and the pre-Hackathon Bootcamp during the week of April 4-8. Same as last year, all bootcamp events and the Hackathon itself will take place online.

The Bootcamp

The bootcamp will help participants get started with their Hackathon preparation and immerse them into the world of quantum computing. It will include tutorials on general quantum computing, as well as workshops on quantum programming toolkits offered by the sponsor companies that will be used in their respective challenges. The participants will have ample opportunities to meet quantum computing professionals from the sponsor companies, to learn more about the cutting-edge research done by them and their journeys in quantum computing, and to get career advice.

You can find the recordings of the workshops offered at last year’s bootcamp in this playlist.

The Hackathon

The main event will take place over the weekend of April 9-10. Each company will offer a unique challenge focused on using their quantum programming tools and platform to solve a certain problem, revealed at the kick-off ceremony on April 9th. Look out for possible hints in the companies’ workshops at the bootcamp!

This year we will team up with our hardware partners IonQ and Quantinuum to offer a challenge focusing on Azure Quantum. It will consist of two parts:

  1. Warmup problems. To start with, you’ll be offered several simple problems to get familiar with the tools you’ll need in the main part of the challenge. Some of these tasks will come with testing harnesses, similar to the ones used in the Quantum Katas, so that you’ll be able to check whether your solutions are correct.
  2. Free-form challenge. In this part, you’ll create a project that solves a quantum computing problem within certain constraints. There will be no “right” or “wrong” way to solve this challenge; you have the freedom to decide what you want to do and what tools to use! The submissions will be judged on several criteria, such as creativity, technical depth, and the educational value of the project, published as part of the challenge description.

The points from both parts of the challenge will be added together, and the highest-scoring teams will be declared winners! The challenge will have prizes, as well as an opportunity for the winning teams to present their projects to the Azure Quantum team after the event.

Check out the recap of our challenge at QCHack 2021 to see what kind of tasks were offered. Of course, this year’s challenge will be different!

Getting a head start

Are you excited about this Hackathon? Register for it and start learning!

Here are several great resources to practice for Microsoft’s challenge:

  • Quantum computing foundations Microsoft Learn learning path introduces you to the QDK and Azure Quantum.
  • The Quantum Katas offer a collection of tutorials and programming exercises covering the basic concepts and algorithms of quantum computing. They are a great way both to get started with quantum computing and Q# programming and to get familiar with the types of tasks that can be offered as warmup problems.
  • You can use the $500 Azure Quantum credit to explore running jobs on quantum hardware and simulators via Azure Quantum.

I’m looking forward to the QCHack, and I hope to see you there!