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Looking for a starter point for a professional training as a Quantum Computer programmer. Is a master in Computer Science XOR Applied Physics a good starting point?

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  • $\begingroup$ It would depend on what you would want to do. CS for the theoretical and algorithmic part. AP for the hardware side is necessary. $\endgroup$ Dec 31 '20 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Jonathcraft, in the current state of things, the best way to succeed in quantum computing is to have a heavy background in physics. You'll need to get a PhD in applied physics or physics (possibly computers science or chemistry if specifically find a university with professors who do this stuff and they think it's likely you can work for them). I wouldn't worry about computer science at all unless you find a professor that specifically wants you to learn it - and I wouldn't go too hard into "applied physics" either as that's mostly engineers. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 at 0:37
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you really need to study much physics at all unless you want to work on the hardware side of things... in which case, it's a must. If you want to write algorithms for quantum computers then you need to understand the fundamentals which means a very strong background in linear algebra. Then you want to start thinking about more how the more CS stuff fits in. That being said most of the interesting things one hopes to do on a near term q-device are algorithms related to fundamental physics and chemistry... $\endgroup$
    – Condo
    Jan 2 at 21:56
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From my experience, the best entry point to learning Quantum Computing is working through Nielsen and Chuang. This book is a phenomenal introduction to the core concepts in quantum computing, and assumes very little from the reader except "mathematical maturity." Even if you're planning to start a graduate program, I would recommend working through this book during the admissions process.

If you're looking for a graduate program, there are programs forming that are specifically focused on QC and related technologies. If QC programming is your goal, I would suggest finding a school that is investing heavily in building a QC department.

The schools that I've seen first hand that are deeply invested in quantum computing education are CalTech, MIT, Univ. Chicago, UT Austin, Univ. Maryland, Duke and Berkeley; outside the US, Univ. of New South Wales in Australia, and TU Delft in the Netherlands.

New options requiring less commitment than graduate school are also becoming available, like Chicago's Quantum Certificate Program and MIT's QC Fundamentals Course. The government (mostly DOE and NSF) is also now investing heavily in developing a quantum workforce (see, e.g. here, and here), largely to ensure we're competitive with China. There may be opportunities to get your training subsidized by Uncle Sam.

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