Young people in a lecture theatre

The future of quantum technology

The first ever Youth Quantum Summit (YQS) took place at the University of Oxford on Saturday 4 November. The event was organised by Qsium, a student-led initiative that aims to raise 'quantum literacy' by creating a thriving quantum ecosystem through their Quantum Youth Network. There were 100 aspiring physicists at the event, aged 16-17 years, who travelled from as far as Newcastle for an exciting day full of talks from world-leading researchers in quantum computing, including Professor David Deutsch and Professor Professor Vlatko Vedral. Maria Violaris, Qsium adviser and Department of Physics alumna, kicked off the day with a talk about cats and qubits; with further workshops from IBM Quantum and Quantinuum (with Dr Bob Coecke), it was also a chance for undergraduates and ambitious sixth formers to start learning about the quantum industry. 

Dr Tom Hird, sub-departmental representative (Atomic and Laser Physics) on the central Physics Access and Engagement Committee, was the local contact and liaised with the Qsium team in the organisation of the event. Tom said: 'It has been an absolute pleasure to host the inaugural Youth Quantum Summit  (YQS), at Oxford's Department of Physics where the young brilliant minds of today blossom into the scientific trailblazers of tomorrow. These young enthusiasts were not just attendees; they were the potential architects of our quantum future. Witnessing their curiosity and passion during this conference, I am filled with hope for a generation that may stand at the forefront of quantum exploration.

'Our speakers illuminated the conference with a diverse spectrum of quantum talks and YQS has truly been a nexus of inspiration, fostering a community where young minds intersect with seasoned pioneers, laying the foundation for a future where the boundaries of quantum technologies are continually pushed and expanded.'

Hyunjo Kim, founder of Qsium, reflected on why the event was important: 'I started organising this event after a conversation with a student at Qsium. The greatest problem he faced when learning quantum computing was the accessibility of resources, and despite it being a dream to join the quantum industry, it felt like an otherworldly pursuit. Therefore, I wanted to create an opportunity for students to learn about quantum accessibly, while also giving them a chance to discuss directly with world-leading researchers and industry leaders to show that their pursuits can become realities. It was simply a joy to see students interacting with each other, running their first Qiskit code on quantum simulators, and asking insightful questions. It was a day of fearless learning, and it was a privilege to see the spark of learning happen in person.'

The event was sponsored by Quantinuum, Jane Street, Institute of Physics, with support from other donors. The funds supported participating students with travel bursaries and free meals. 

This event inspired me to question literally everything I know, Thank you!