What is Quantum Computational Thinking?

We envision developing students' capability of tackling problems in information science with solutions enabled and constrained by the laws of quantum mechanics as a critical goal of quantum education. We refer to this capability as quantum computational thinking (QCT). Specifically, QCT is a multifaceted construct at the nexus of science, engineering, and computation that comprises three interconnected parts:

  • a scientific ability to think in terms of quantum mechanics;
  • an engineering ability to apply quantum mechanics to solve computation and communication problems;
  • a computational ability to use computational thinking to process quantum information.

Students with a QCT mindset can comprehend and explain how quantum computing and communication work, what hardware and software must be built to unleash the power, and what bottlenecks are impeding the progress.