UCSB Partners with Xanadu to Enhance Quantum Education

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

UC Santa Barbara  has selected world-leading photonic quantum computing company Xanadu as its partner to enhance quantum education in the state and prepare its students for careers in quantum.

Quantum computers are the next generation of supercomputers. As a dynamic and top-ranking research university, UCSB recognized the prospective value of quantum early on and has been a leader in the quantum field for several years, establishing a dedicated quantum photonics lab and receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the federal agency’s first Quantum Foundry for developing novel quantum materials. Partnering with Xanadu will propel the quantum efforts at UCSB even further, providing students with a unique opportunity to access top-tier quantum tools and receive hands-on educational training from experts in the field.

Xanadu is a quantum computing company on a mission to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere. Founded in 2016, Xanadu has become a leader in the quantum field, known for its impressive strides in quantum hardware, including being one of three teams worldwide to achieve a Nature-backed demonstration of quantum computational advantage. Their open-source software library for quantum computing and application development, PennyLane, has also become a pillar of academic research. UCSB and Xanadu will leverage Xanadu's suite of existing educational materials to co-create custom resources for students and develop training materials for educators.

"Partnering with Xanadu, getting access to their quantum hardware and software, and working with their highly skilled team will be an incredible advantage for UCSB students,” said Galan Moody, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at UCSB. “Our students will be ahead of the curve in preparedness to enter the growing quantum workforce — that is something to be proud of." 

"The students in the Quantum Foundry are thrilled to work more closely with real-world quantum devices based on photonic degrees of freedom,” said physics professor Ania Bleszynski Jayich, who is also co-director of UCSB’s NSF Quantum Foundry. “This partnership fits squarely into our mission to create, characterize, and control quantum coherence states, educate the next-generation quantum workforce, and engage with our industrial partners.”

In addition to creating educational materials and support for UCSB’s quantum-related courses, students will have open access to Xanadu's X-Series devices (via Xanadu's cloud computing platform), seminars, and workshops to support their quantum journey and push the boundaries of their quantum research. 

Moody already has plans to incorporate new education content using Xanadu’s cloud-based quantum hardware into his quantum photonics lab course, ECE 136C, taught to UCSB undergraduate students each year. 

“For the course, we’ve developed a series of hands-on lab modules using optical entanglement and qubits to help students develop an intuition about the core concepts of quantum information science,” said Moody. “In spring 2024, we’ll add several new modules that give students access to Xanadu’s hardware so they can learn how to program quantum computers.”

"We are excited to work with UCSB to diversify their course offerings, expand their already impressive quantum foundation and accelerate quantum education in the region," said Christian Weedbrook, Xanadu Founder and CEO. 

Electrical and computer engineering professor Galan Moody (right) says UCSB students like Amalu Shimamura (left), a PhD student in his research group, will benefit greatly from the partnership.