Over and Out!
As I come to the end of my time with IT4Innovations and PRACE, I have been reflecting on the amazing experience that I’ve had over the past eight weeks. Although I was not able to travel to the IT4Innovations National Supercomputing site in Ostrava, Czech Republic; I have had so much fun with my mentors and fellow interns online!
Having the opportunity to work in a field that I love and appreciate has taught me so much. Below are a few key points that I have taken away with me after working in the quantum field for two months.
1. Ask loads of questions
Quantum computing isn’t the easiest of concepts to understand, and when I started my internship a lot of information went straight over my head. However, my mentor and colleagues encouraged me to be inquisitive and ask questions, no matter how silly I thought they were! This allowed me to solidify my understanding of quantum techniques and their applications to chemistry.
2. Take breaks little and often
A lot of the work I did during my summer involved coding in Qiskit, which can be intense and frustrating at times, especially when the code keeps breaking and throwing errors. I found myself staring at my computer screen for hours, and not getting anywhere with finding a solution. I started taking small breaks, so that when I came back to my computer, I could approach the problem with fresh eyes and a different perspective. Most of the time, I found the error almost instantly!
3. Draw diagrams
In a field like quantum computing and chemistry, where the concepts are so abstract, it can be hard to visualise the problem at hand. For example, in our project we were looking at the roto-vibrational dynamics of a hydrogen molecule, which is something we cannot physically see with the naked eye. To help with this, I found that sketching the molecules and interactions aided me with my understanding of core concepts, as I could picture what was happening at the subatomic scale.
4. Take every opportunity that you can!
With quantum computing being such a hot topic nowadays, it is important to gain as much insight and understanding you can, if it is something you want to be involved in. I have learnt to take every opportunity that I can, to get more experience in this exciting field, and ultimately contribute to the quantum revolution that we’re living in. Even if this means applying to a programme or job role that seems far out of reach – it’s always worth it! The probability that I would get accepted onto the PRACE SoHPC programme seemed slim, considering I did not have much previous experience in quantum. However, I showed my enthusiasm for the subject and I couldn’t be happier that I applied.
So, that’s all from me this summer. I can’t express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity, and I can’t wait to keep learning about quantum computing, and its applications to chemistry!