Announcing Microsoft Quantum challenge at QCHack

Mariia Mykhailova

Mariia

We are excited to announce that Microsoft will join Quantum Coalition Hack! QCHack is hosted jointly by Yale Undergraduate Quantum Computing and Stanford Quantum Computing Association, and targets students from all over the world.

QCHack will consist of two parts: the Hackathon, running for 24 hours during the weekend of April 10-11, and the pre-Hackathon bootcamp during the week of April 5-9.

The bootcamp

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

Check out the QCHack schedule for the complete list of tutorials, panels, and social events planned for the bootcamp week!

The Hackathon

The weekend of April 10-11 will be the time when the participants will put their newly acquired quantum computing skills to test. Each company will offer a unique challenge focused on their toolkit and using it to solve a certain problem, revealed at the kick-off ceremony on April 10th. The teams will then have 24 hours to do their best at solving the challenges, and afterward, the judges from each company will pick the winners of their challenge.

Of course, you must be curious about what challenge Microsoft Quantum will offer to the QCHack participants. Let me give you a couple of spoilers without giving away too much.

Our challenge focuses on Microsoft Quantum Development Kit and Q#, and will consist of two parts:

  1. Warmup problems. To start with, you’ll be offered several problems of increasing difficulty that solve tasks similar to the ones you’ll need to handle in the second part of the challenge. 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. The submissions will be judged automatically using the same or similar testing harnesses: if your code for the problem passes the tests, you get the points for it!
  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! The submissions will be judged on several criteria, such as creativity, technical depth, and the educational value of the project.

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 Microsoft Quantum team after the event.

Getting a head start

If you’re excited about this event and can’t wait to get started, here are the next steps for you:

  1. Register for it.
  2. Start learning as much as you can about quantum computing and the sponsor companies’ tools!

And here are several good ways to practice for the Microsoft Quantum challenge:

  1. 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 in the first part of the challenge.
  2. The past Q# Coding Contests are another collection of Q# programming problems that you can use for practice. Be warned, though, that the current QDK version used on the Codeforces platform is 0.11, so the Q# syntax accepted there will differ slightly from the latest one.

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

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