Need for an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery

  1. In a nutshell — An association dedicated to practical quantum computing
  2. Details are beyond the scope of this overview paper
  3. Need for an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery to promote quantum computing as a profession while advancing its science, technology, and applications
  4. The single most powerful focus of an association dedicated to quantum computing is the leap (or slog) to practical quantum computing
  5. The exact name of the association is not a critical part of this proposal
  6. A nonprofit organization focused on serving its members
  7. Focused exclusively on the needs of members
  8. Local, regional, national, international, and both offline and online in scope
  9. The essential activities and areas of interest of an association for quantum computing machinery
  10. The essential technical areas of interest of an association for quantum computing machinery
  11. The essential activities of an association for quantum computing machinery
  12. Committees and working groups
  13. Personas, use cases, and access patterns of an association for quantum computing machinery
  14. Personas for an association dedicated to quantum computing
  15. Adjunct affiliation
  16. Other personas
  17. Use cases for an association dedicated to quantum computing
  18. Access patterns for an association dedicated to quantum computing
  19. QSTEM — expanding STEM to emphasize quantum effects
  20. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as the inspiration for an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery (AQCM)
  21. What does the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) do?
  22. Origin of ACM
  23. ACM awards
  24. Why a separate association, for now
  25. Quantum computing needs a dedicated association, undistracted by all of the baggage and competing interests of classical computing
  26. Quantum computing needs a keen focus on hardware as well
  27. Criteria for merger with ACM proper
  28. Relation to IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society
  29. Summary of the IEEE Computer Society
  30. Relation to the American Physical Society (APS)
  31. Relation to Nature magazine
  32. arXiv as the premiere repository for published papers on quantum computing
  33. phys.org for news on the latest papers posted on arXiv.org
  34. A simplified and streamlined association
  35. Cooperation with ACM
  36. ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing (TQC) journal
  37. Quantum computing is only a small “corner” of ACM, a diluted focus, not a dedicated and exclusive focus
  38. ACM as a scientific and educational organization
  39. Association for Quantum Computing Machinery as a QSTEM research, practice, and educational organization
  40. When should such an association be brought into existence?
  41. The association will happen when a motivated team of founding fathers make it happen
  42. Timing for creation of an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery
  43. But the sooner this effort gets started, the better
  44. Why it may be too soon to get this organized
  45. Need for a core team of elite founding fathers
  46. Need for an advisory board to drive organization of the association
  47. My only role is at this idea stage
  48. Details of founding, organization, and operation of the association are beyond the scope of this proposal
  49. Should founding of the association be synchronized with The ENIAC Moment for quantum computing?
  50. ACM was founded very shortly after ENIAC went operational
  51. The ENIAC Moment for quantum computing should be in sight
  52. 28 if not 32-qubit algorithms should be common
  53. Origin relative to a Quantum Winter
  54. Need for sponsors
  55. Reverse sponsorships
  56. Are the quantum old guard over the hill or too busy to focus on founding an association?
  57. But the quantum old guard would be ideal for an emeritus advisory board
  58. Should academia or industry lead the push for an association?
  59. Role of government is vitally significant — not just academia and industry
  60. One association vs. let 1,000 associations bloom
  61. Wildcard: an association led by students or smaller entrepreneurs and startups with an interest in growing the talent pool
  62. Research, product, and practice
  63. Commercial competition
  64. Drop “Machinery” to make it the Association for Quantum Computing?
  65. Quantum information science
  66. Quantum effects
  67. Quantum information
  68. Need for new fields
  69. Need for the new field of quantum information theory
  70. Quantum information science vs. quantum information theory
  71. Quantum information science and technology (QIST)
  72. Quantum science
  73. Need for the new field of quantum computer engineering
  74. Need for the new field of quantum computer science
  75. Need for the new field of quantum software engineering
  76. Local chapters
  77. Student chapters
  78. ACM Special Interest Groups
  79. Special Interest Groups for quantum computing
  80. Publications for quantum computing
  81. Conferences, symposia, and trade shows for quantum computing
  82. An association dedicated to quantum computing wouldn’t replace all other venues for publishing papers and holding conferences
  83. Symposia for quantum computing
  84. Quantum computing community
  85. Quantum computing ecosystem
  86. Distinction between the quantum computing community and the quantum computing ecosystem
  87. Investors and venture capital for quantum computing
  88. A rough 50/50 split between theory and practice
  89. Need for curriculum and syllabus for quantum computing education
  90. Certification for quantum computing skills
  91. Recognition and awards for quantum computing
  92. Students — the future of quantum computing
  93. Post-ACM focus and organization
  94. How can someone get involved? Just do it! Do your own thing! Do something, anything, and see what develops!
  95. For now, quantum computing remains a mere laboratory curiosity
  96. For now, quantum computing is still more appropriate for the lunatic fringe rather than mainstream application developers
  97. For now, quantum computing remains in the pre-commercialization stage, not ready for commercialization yet and at risk of premature commercialization
  98. My original proposal for this topic
  99. Summary and conclusions

In a nutshell — An association dedicated to practical quantum computing

The core essential purpose of an association for quantum computing machinery would be twofold, to be detailed shortly:

  1. To advance the science, technology, and applications of quantum computing. Including research and the development and deployment of quantum applications.
  2. To advance quantum computing as a profession. Including education and training, professional development, and networking of professionals and students.
  • Practical quantum computers capable of addressing production-scale practical real-world problems and professionals capable of exploiting them.
  • An association dedicated to producing practical quantum computers capable of addressing production-scale practical real-world problems and professionals capable of exploiting them.
  • An association dedicated to practical quantum computing.
  1. Quantum information theory. Information at the quantum level. From basic concepts to advanced theory.
  2. Quantum computer engineering. The hardware, particularly the programming model, architecture, and qubit technology and qubit control. Including fault-tolerant quantum computing — full, automatic, and transparent error detection and correction.
  3. Quantum computer science. Quantum algorithms operating on quantum information.
  4. Quantum software engineering. Design, development, deployment, and operation of quantum applications which utilize quantum algorithms.
  5. Quantum algorithms and applications. Application domain-specific quantum algorithms and software.
  6. Quantum infrastructure and support software. Including software tools.
  1. Support for research. Administrative and institutional support for research. Separate from the specific technical content and funding of the research.
  2. Quantum computing education and training. Both academic and commercial. Seminars, workshops, and conferences as well. Professional growth. Life-long learning. Career development.
  3. Quantum certification. Play a role in the development and promotion of certification programs for all aspects of quantum computing skills. Credentials which bear witness to the skills of a professional.
  4. Quantum computing standards. To produce and promote the use of formal (or even informal) standards in the quantum computing community and ecosystem. Most importantly, to take an active role in keeping attention focused on standards.
  5. Quantum publications. Books and journals. Print, electronic, and online. Email newsletters. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  6. Quantum computing community. Conferences. In-person and online networking and support forums. Hackathons. Local and student chapters. Employment and academic opportunities. Funding opportunities — academic and commercial, private sector, and government. Emphasis on research, products, and practice. Part of the larger quantum computing ecosystem, which includes vendors, customers, users, and investors and venture capital.
  7. Quantum computing ecosystem. The quantum computing community plus vendors, customers, users, and investors and venture capital.
  8. Students. Outreach. Community. Education. Internship opportunities. Mentoring. Research opportunities. Recognition and awards. Job placement in industry, government, and academia.
  9. Recognition and awards. Acknowledge and reward notable technical and professional contributions to the field.
  10. Code of ethics and professional conduct.
  1. Association for Computing Machinery. Primarily focused on software.
  2. IEEE. Primarily focused on hardware.
  3. IEEE Computer Society. Mix of hardware and software.

Details are beyond the scope of this overview paper

This informal paper is intended to be only an overview of the proposed need for an association for quantum computing machinery, so it will by design be light on specific details.

Need for an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery to promote quantum computing as a profession while advancing its science, technology, and applications

The core essential purpose of an association for quantum computing machinery is twofold:

  1. To advance the science, technology, and applications of quantum computing. Including theory, research, prototyping, experimentation, and the development and deployment of quantum applications.
  2. To advance quantum computing as a profession. Including education, training, professional development, career development, and networking of professionals and students. Including outreach and attracting and educating young people and seasoned professionals alike of classical computing and other professions to pursue a career in quantum computing.

The single most powerful focus of an association dedicated to quantum computing is the leap (or slog) to practical quantum computing

As much progress as has been made on quantum computing in recent years, we’re a long way from achieving a truly practical quantum computer capable of addressing production-scale practical real-world problems.

The exact name of the association is not a critical part of this proposal

The exact literal name of the proposed association for quantum computing machinery is not critical to the point of this paper which is promoting the concept of the association rather than the exact literal name.

A nonprofit organization focused on serving its members

Since the essential purpose of an association for quantum computing machinery is to serve its members, it makes the most sense for it to be a nonprofit organization, not a commercial venture. Its purpose is to serve its members, professionals and students, not investors or shareholders.

Focused exclusively on the needs of members

Just to reemphasize this essential point, that the members and their needs has to be the central, essential, and only focus of an association for quantum computing machinery.

Local, regional, national, international, and both offline and online in scope

The association would operate at the individual, interpersonal, group, local, regional, national, international, and both offline and online levels. All scopes are of interest.

The essential activities and areas of interest of an association for quantum computing machinery

Although there are a wide range of activities and interests covered by quantum computing, there are some more essential activities and areas of interest.

  1. Technical areas of interest. The science and technology itself. The STEM content.
  2. Activities. Professional activities in pursuit of advancing the science and technology. The process of producing the STEM content.

The essential technical areas of interest of an association for quantum computing machinery

The essential technical areas of interest of an association for quantum computing machinery are:

  1. Quantum information science. The umbrella concept covering everything related to quantum information: quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum networking, quantum metrology, and quantum sensing.
  2. Quantum effects. The essential concepts from quantum mechanics and quantum physics which underpin quantum information science.
  3. Quantum information theory. Information at the quantum level. From basic concepts to advanced theory. Applies across all of the areas of quantum information science. Binary basis states (or even higher order than strictly binary), continuous values of phase and probability amplitudes and probabilities, and strings of binary basis states for product states of entangled qubits. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  4. Quantum computer engineering. The hardware, particularly the programming model, architecture, and qubit technology and qubit control. Including fault-tolerant quantum computing — full, automatic, and transparent error detection and correction. Representing quantum information in its most basic and primitive form and operations on that information in their most basic and primitive form. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  5. Quantum computer science. Quantum algorithms operating on quantum information. Focusing on generic algorithms and algorithmic building blocks and software that is generic and not specific to particular application domains. Translation between classical and quantum information. Hybrid quantum/classical and quantum-inspired algorithms as well. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  6. Quantum software engineering. Design, development, deployment, and operation of quantum applications, which utilize quantum algorithms in conjunction with classical code. Modular design, modules, modular structure, interfaces, APIs, systems, system architectures, and networked services as well. User experience (UX) design. The craft of software development including specifications, coding style, naming conventions, commenting conventions, and documentation. Staged development, prototyping, scalability. Source, version, and release control. Quality assurance and testing in general. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  7. Quantum algorithms and applications. Application domain-specific quantum algorithms and software. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  8. Quantum infrastructure and support software. Includes software tools, compilers, libraries, frameworks, utilities, support software, testing and quality assurance, performance and capacity characterization and testing, benchmarking and resource estimation, and system and network infrastructure. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  9. Quantum cybersecurity and cyberwarfare. Generally surrounding cryptography and post-quantum cryptography. Nominally part of infrastructure, but with dramatic ramifications beyond simple computations.

The essential activities of an association for quantum computing machinery

The essential activities of an association for quantum computing machinery are:

  1. Support for research. Administrative and institutional support for research. Separate from the specific technical content and funding of the research.
  2. Quantum computing education and training. Both academic and commercial. Seminars, workshops, and conferences as well. Professional growth. Life-long learning. Career development.
  3. Quantum certification. Play a role in the development and promotion of certification programs for all aspects of quantum computing skills. Credentials which bear witness to the skills of a professional.
  4. Quantum computing standards. To produce and promote the use of formal (or even informal) standards in the quantum computing community and ecosystem. Most importantly, to take an active role in keeping attention focused on standards.
  5. Quantum publications. Books and journals. Print, electronic, and online. Email newsletters. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  6. Quantum computing community. Conferences. In-person and online networking and support forums. Hackathons. Local and student chapters. Employment and academic opportunities. Funding opportunities — academic and commercial, private sector, and government. Emphasis on research, products, and practice. Part of the larger quantum computing ecosystem, which includes vendors, customers, users, and investors and venture capital.
  7. Quantum computing ecosystem. The quantum computing community plus vendors, customers, users, and investors and venture capital.
  8. Students. Outreach. Community. Education. Internship opportunities. Mentoring. Research opportunities. Recognition and awards. Job placement in industry, government, and academia.
  9. Recognition and awards. Acknowledge and reward notable technical and professional contributions to the field.
  10. Public policy. Advocacy and initiatives in all areas of public policy to influence policymakers.
  11. Code of ethics and professional conduct.
  12. Committees and working groups. Formal or ad hoc groups intended to focus on specific or general technical, non-technical, or professional matters.

Committees and working groups

Not to delve into organizational minutiae, but as with almost any organization of any substantial size, an association dedicated to quantum computing would likely need a fairly wide range of committees and working groups. These would be formal or ad hoc groups intended to focus on specific or general technical, non-technical, or professional matters.

  1. Standards for newer technologies.
  2. Education and curricula issues. Including proposals for education and training for new technologies. Or new approaches to existing technologies. Or new pedagogical approaches.
  3. Students. Addressing issues relating to student participation in the association, including student participation in committees and working groups.
  4. Public policy. Continual review and revision for advocacy and initiatives in all areas of public policy to influence policymakers.
  5. Ethical matters. Addressing scandals or unresolved conflicts. Continual review and revision of ethics rules and code of conduct.
  6. Emergent technological, social, political, or economic issues worthy of some response. Review, respond, and possibly address.
  7. Outreach. Considering new possibilities and reviewing existing approaches.
  8. Vision, mission, and strategic objectives. Continual and occasional review and revision of the overall vision, mission, and strategic objectives of the association. Sometimes expanding and extending, sometimes contracting.
  9. Programs and initiatives. Reviewing and revising the various programs and initiatives of the association.

Personas, use cases, and access patterns of an association for quantum computing machinery

As for any field or organization, an association for quantum computing machinery can be conceptualized as:

  1. Personas. Or roles. Who is interested or involved.
  2. Use cases. What they are trying to achieve. Areas of interest and study.
  3. Access patterns. Specific tasks they are attempting to perform. Or goals they are trying to achieve.

Personas for an association dedicated to quantum computing

To whom will such an association cater?

  1. Scientists.
  2. Computer scientists,
  3. Mathematicians.
  4. Engineers.
  5. Software engineers.
  6. Software developers.
  7. Application developers.
  8. Quality assurance engineers.
  9. Students.
  10. Professors and other educators.

Adjunct affiliation

Generally, the association won’t cater to less-skilled technical staff such as those with only a vocational-technical background, although there should be some sort of adjunct affiliation so that such technical staff can still participate with the association to some degree. Areas of technical expertise would include:

  1. IT staff in general.
  2. Network engineers.
  3. System administration.
  4. Network administration.
  5. Installation technicians.
  6. Maintenance technicians.
  7. Repair technicians.
  8. Software installation.
  9. Network security.
  10. End users.
  11. Quality assurance technicians.
  12. Solution engineers.
  13. Sales engineers.
  14. Solution specialists.
  15. Supervisors and managers of any of the above.

Other personas

There are a number of other personas which have at least a peripheral interest in quantum computing but don’t quite qualify as hard-core quantum computing professionals per se.

  1. Chip design and fabrication, testing, and production.
  2. AI. Such as machine learning. But not focused on quantum.
  3. Data science. But not focused on quantum.
  4. Mathematics. Linear algebra. Statistics. But not focused on quantum.
  5. Technical planning. But not focused on quantum.
  6. Product planning.
  7. Technical management.
  8. General management. Such as CTO, CIO, or even COO and CEO. But without any focus on quantum.

Use cases for an association dedicated to quantum computing

Areas of interest for an association for quantum computing include:

  1. Theory.
  2. Research.
  3. Publication.
  4. Education.
  5. Outreach.
  6. Application areas.
  1. Physics.
  2. Chemistry.
  3. Drug design and discovery.
  4. Material design.
  5. Optimization.
  6. Machine learning.
  7. Finance.
  8. Cybersecurity.

Access patterns for an association dedicated to quantum computing

Some of the access patterns of interest in quantum computing include:

  1. Perform research.
  2. Publish research.
  3. Utilize published research.
  4. Educate.
  5. Train.
  6. Study.
  7. Learn.
  8. Certification.
  9. Design. Algorithms and applications.
  10. Develop. Applications.
  11. Debug. Algorithms and applications.
  12. Test. Algorithms and applications.
  13. Test, evaluate, and characterize performance. Algorithms and applications.
  14. Distribute applications.
  15. Install applications.
  16. Test installed applications.
  17. Deploy applications.
  18. Use deployed applications.
  19. Monitor deployed applications.
  20. Debug and troubleshoot deployed applications.
  21. Upgrade deployed applications.
  22. Characterize performance and capacity of applications.
  23. Benchmarking.
  24. Resource estimation. What quantum resources does this algorithm require — qubit count, circuit depth, qubit fidelity, granularity of phase and probability amplitude, qubit connectivity.

QSTEM — expanding STEM to emphasize quantum effects

In my paper on research for quantum computing I suggest the term QSTEM as an expansion of the traditional concept of STEM to broaden it to emphasize the role of quantum effects, including all areas of quantum information science — quantum information, quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum networking, quantum sensing, and quantum metrology.

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as the inspiration for an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery (AQCM)

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is an existing nonprofit professional society for the advancement of computing — classical computing that is. It’s the ideal starting point for considering what a professional association dedicated to quantum computing might look like.

What does the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) do?

My own abbreviated summary is that the activities of the ACM are:

  1. Publications.
  2. Conferences.
  3. Networking. Interaction with other computing professionals.
  4. Promoting computing among students. Students are the primary pool for future computing professionals. Encouraging and supporting their interest in computing is an essential activity of ACM.
  5. Professional and career development. Education, training, and access to opportunities.
  6. Advancing computing technology. Primarily focused on software. IEEE focuses more on hardware.
  7. Advancing the profession. Including advocating for ethics.
  8. Advocacy for public policy.
  1. Educational and scientific computing society.
  2. Advancing computing as a science & profession.
  3. We see a world where computing helps solve tomorrow’s problems — where we use our knowledge and skills to advance the profession and make a positive impact.
  4. ACM, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, delivers resources that advance computing as a science and a profession. ACM provides the computing field’s premier Digital Library and serves its members and the computing profession with leading-edge publications, conferences, and career resources.
  5. ACM brings together computing educators, researchers, and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges. As the world’s largest computing society, ACM strengthens the profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life‐long learning, career development, and professional networking.
  6. Founded at the dawn of the computer age, ACM’s reach extends to every part of the globe, with more than half of its nearly 100,000 members residing outside the U.S. Its growing membership has led to Councils in Europe, India, and China, fostering networking opportunities that strengthen ties within and across countries and technical communities. Their actions enhance ACM’s ability to raise awareness of computing’s important technical, educational, and social issues around the world.
  7. ACM was established in 1947 soon after the creation of ENIAC, the first stored-program digital computer, to “advance the science, development, construction, and application of the new machinery for computing, reasoning, and other handling of information.”
  8. Mission. ACM is a global scientific and educational organization dedicated to advancing the art, science, engineering, and application of computing, serving both professional and public interests by fostering the open exchange of information and by promoting the highest professional and ethical standards.
  9. Vision. ACM will continue to be the premiere global computing society.
  10. Core values. Technical excellence, Education and technical advancement, Ethical computing and technology for positive impact, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  11. Special Interest Groups Form around ACM’s Powerful, Vibrant Communities. Networking opportunities in ACM’s 38 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are always expanding, reflecting the growth of computing’s discrete disciplines and technical communities. The leading representatives of their fields, ACM SIGs sponsor annual conferences, workshops, and symposia serving practitioner‐ and research‐based constituencies. Because they provide objective arenas for novel, often competing ideas, many of these meetings have become premier global events.
  12. Chapters: ACM’s “Local Neighborhoods”. ACM’s broad‐based infrastructure supports more than 860 professional and student chapters worldwide. These “local neighborhoods” offer opportunities for members to gain access to critical research and establish personal networking systems.
  13. ACM, Member-driven, Volunteer-led. ACM offers volunteer opportunities for members and non‐members that create networking possibilities and enhance career development. At the grassroots level, ACM volunteers serve a growing international community of researchers, practitioners and students by lending valuable assistance at conferences, publications, webinars, and other events. Volunteers have a direct and critical impact on ACM’s governance through the ACM Council, the highest governing authority. Volunteers also serve on the ACM Executive Committee and numerous other boards and task forces. Volunteers — members and non-members alike — hold leadership roles in ACM journal publications as Editors‐in‐Chief, Associate Editors, and reviewers. They also comprise the ACM Education Board, which provides curriculum recommendations for four‐year universities as well as community colleges. The Board’s 2013 recommendations in computer science have even been translated into Chinese.
  14. ACM’s “Big Tent” Philosophy Embraces Diversity. The ACM community is as diverse as the subfields that comprise computer science, from educators and researchers in academia to practitioners in project management, industrial research, and software development, engineering, and application design. This diversity extends to their gender and ethnicities. The ACM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council coordinates and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion efforts throughout the organization. The ACM Women’s Committee (ACM‐W) advocates internationally for full engagement of women in all aspects of computing. The ACM‐sponsored Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing brings together students, faculty, researchers, and professionals from all backgrounds. It provides a supportive networking environment for under‐represented groups across a range of computing and information technology fields.
  15. Students — Supporting Tomorrow’s Problem Solvers Today. ACM Student Chapters enable students to fully engage in its professional activities. Participants from more than 500 colleges and universities worldwide enhance their learning through the exchange of ideas with other students and established professionals. ACM offers $1.5 million in scholarships and an affordable Student Membership. Both undergraduate and graduate student members can compete in ACM Student Research Competitions, an internationally recognized venue hosted at ACM conferences and sponsored by Microsoft. They benefit by sharing their research with peers and academic and industry luminaries, gaining recognition and experience, and earning rewards.
  16. Giving Credit where Credit Is Due. ACM recognizes excellence through its eminent awards for technical and professional achievements and contributions in computer science and information technology. It also names as Fellows and Distinguished Members those members who, in addition to professional accomplishments, have made significant contributions to ACM’s mission. ACM’s prestigious A.M. Turing Award is accompanied by a $1 million prize provided by Google for contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the computing field. Other prominent ACM awards recognize achievements by young computing professionals, educators, theoretical computer scientists, software systems innovators, and pioneers who have made humanitarian and cross-discipline contributions.
  17. Providing Tireless Advocacy of Critical Public Policy Issues. ACM leverages its international respect and leadership to shape public policy worldwide. Through its geographically distributed policy entities in Europe and North America, ACM helps develop policy statements, issue briefs, white papers, and reports to provide policymakers with knowledge‐based analysis that accelerates computing innovations which benefit society. It also delivers expertise on education policy, women in computing, and diversification of computing.
  18. ACM Publications — Advancing Research, Technology, and Innovation. As a leading global source for scientific information, ACM promotes computer research and innovation through its journals, magazines, and the proceedings of more than 170 annual conferences and symposia. ACM authors are among the world’s leading thinkers in computing and information technologies, providing original research and firsthand perspectives. ACM also provides access to the ACM Digital Library (DL), a comprehensive and expanding database of literature and detailed bibliographic resources for computing professionals from a wide range of publishers. The DL currently includes more than 600,000 full-text articles authored by leading researchers in computing. The flagship magazine Communications of the ACM provides industry news, commentary, observations, and practical research.
  19. Guiding Members with a Framework of Ethical Conduct. The ACM Code of Ethics identifies the elements of every member’s commitment to ethical professional conduct. It outlines fundamental considerations that contribute to society and human well-being and those that specifically relate to professional responsibilities, organizational imperatives, and compliance with the code.
  20. Lifelong Learning. ACM offers lifelong learning resources including online books from O’Reilly, online courses from Skillsoft, TechTalks on the hottest topics in computing and IT, and more.
  1. https://www.acm.org/
  2. https://www.acm.org/about-acm
  3. https://www.acm.org/about-acm/about-the-acm-organization
  4. https://www.acm.org/about-acm/mission-vision-values-goals
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_for_Computing_Machinery

Origin of ACM

From the ACM web site:

  1. The Association for Computing Machinery was founded as the Eastern Association for Computing Machinery at a meeting at Columbia University in New York on September 15, 1947.
  2. ACM was established in 1947 soon after the creation of ENIAC, the first stored-program digital computer.
  3. Its creation was the logical outgrowth of increasing interest in computers as evidenced by several events, including a January 1947 symposium at Harvard University on large-scale digital calculating machinery; the six-meeting series in 1946–47 on digital and analog computing machinery conducted by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers; and the six-meeting series in March and April 1947, on electronic computing machinery conducted by the Department of Electrical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  4. In January 1948, the word “Eastern” was dropped from the name of the Association.
  5. In September 1949, a constitution was instituted by membership approval.
  6. The original notice for the September 15, 1947, organization meeting stated in part: “The purpose of this organization would be to advance the science, development, construction, and application of the new machinery for computing, reasoning, and other handling of information.”
  7. The first and subsequent constitutions for the Association have elaborated on this statement, although the essential content remains. The present constitution states: “The Association is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to advancing the art, science, engineering, and application of information technology, serving both professional and public interests by fostering the open interchange of information and by promoting the highest professional and ethical standards.”

ACM awards

ACM offers quite a few awards to recognize notable technical and professional contributions to the field of computing. The most notable being the Turing Award.

  1. ACM A.M. Turing Award. ACM’s most prestigious technical award is given for major contributions of lasting importance to computing.
  2. ACM Prize in Computing. Recognizes an early to mid-career fundamental innovative contribution in computing that, through its depth, impact and broad implications, exemplifies the greatest achievements in the discipline.
  3. ACM Thacker Breakthrough in Computing Award. Celebrates Chuck Thacker’s pioneering contributions in computing — “the pioneering design and realization of the first modern personal computer — the Alto at Xerox PARC — and seminal inventions and contributions to local area networks (including the Ethernet), multiprocessor workstations, snooping cache coherence protocols, and tablet personal computers” — and his long-term inspirational mentorship of generations of computer scientists. The ACM Breakthrough Award recognizes individuals with the same out-of-the-box thinking and “can-do” approach to solving the unsolved that Thacker exhibited. The recipient should be someone who has made a surprising or disruptive leapfrog in computing ideas or technologies.
  4. ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing. Recognizes talented high school students in computer science. The intent of the program is to promote and encourage the field of computer science, as well as to empower young and aspiring learners to pursue computing challenges outside of the traditional classroom environment. Eligible applicants include graduating High School Seniors residing and attending school in the United States. The challenge will focus on developing an artifact that engages modern computing technology and computer science. Judges will be looking for submissions that demonstrate ingenuity, complexity, relevancy, originality, and a desire to further computer science as a discipline.
  5. ACM Distinguished Service Award. Awarded on the basis of value and degree of services to the computing community. The contribution should not be limited to service to the Association, but should include activities in other computer organizations and should emphasize contributions to the computing community at large.
  6. ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award. Presented annually to the author(s) of the best doctoral dissertation(s) in computer science and engineering.
  7. ACM — IEEE CS Eckert-Mauchly. For contributions to computer and digital systems architecture where the field of computer architecture is considered at present to encompass the combined hardware-software design and analysis of computing and digital systems.
  8. ACM Frances E. Allen Award. Presented to an individual who has exemplified excellence and/or innovation in mentoring with particular attention to recognition of individuals who have shown outstanding leadership in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in computing.
  9. ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award. Awarded to the outstanding young computer professional of the year, selected on the basis of a single recent major technical or service contribution. The candidate must have been 35 years of age or less at the time the qualifying contribution was made.
  10. ACM Gordon Bell Prize. Recognizes outstanding achievement in high-performance computing. The purpose of the award is to track the progress over time of parallel computing, with particular emphasis on rewarding innovation in applying high-performance computing to applications in science, engineering, and large-scale data analytics. Prizes may be awarded for peak performance or special achievements in scalability and time-to-solution on important science and engineering problems.

Why a separate association, for now

Although quantum computing could and probably will ultimately, eventually be subsumed into ACM itself, for now quantum computing is such a distinct enterprise that it simply doesn’t fit cleanly into the existing ACM structure and organization.

  1. Keen interest in the hardware. ACM focuses on software. IEEE focuses on hardware.
  2. Need for an absolute focus on quantum computing.
  3. Priority for quantum computing.

Quantum computing needs a dedicated association, undistracted by all of the baggage and competing interests of classical computing

Ultimately, the main reason that quantum needs its own association is that the field needs a lot of attention and just getting only a fraction of the attention of ACM just wouldn’t be enough — quantum computing needs 100% of the attention of its own association, and none of the distractions and unrelated interests of classical computing.

Quantum computing needs a keen focus on hardware as well

ACM is focused almost exclusively on software and the programming of computers. Computing hardware is generally the focus of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) in general and the IEEE Computer Society in particular.

Criteria for merger with ACM proper

The preceding sections notwithstanding, it’s still quite possible that a dedicated association for quantum computing might be accommodated within the traditional ACM organizational structure. Although I’m not so sure how it might happen or even if it should happen, some criteria and issues are:

  1. The financial cost and organizational overhead of an entirely new association could be quite daunting.
  2. Potential for synergism.
  3. Common goals. Computational parallelism. High-performance computing. Intractable problems and applications.
  4. Common interests.
  5. Shared interest.
  6. Expedience. Start small and possibly diverge once a critical mass is achieved

Relation to IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society

ACM is not the only game in town when it comes to computing. IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and the IEEE Computer Society in particular have a keen interest in both computing in general and the emerging field of quantum computing as well.

Summary of the IEEE Computer Society

While the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) overall has more of a focus on hardware, the IEEE Computer Society offers a focus more on computer software, roughly comparable to ACM.

  1. We Are the Home for Computer Science and Engineering Leaders. The IEEE Computer Society is the premier source for information, inspiration, and collaboration in computer science and engineering. Connecting members worldwide, the Computer Society empowers the people who advance technology by delivering tools for individuals at all stages of their professional careers. Our trusted resources include international conferences, peer-reviewed publications, a robust digital library, globally recognized standards, and continuous learning opportunities.
  2. The Premier Organization for Computing Professionals. As the world’s top member organization dedicated to computer science and technology, the IEEE Computer Society advances the theory, design, practice, and application of computer and information-processing science and technology, as well as the professional standing of its members.
  3. A Society Dedicated to Empowering Technology Leaders. We strive to be the leading provider of technical information, community services, and personalized support to the world’s computer science and technology communities, as well as to celebrate the contributions of computer science and engineering professionals who develop new technologies and applications to improve the lives of people everywhere.
  4. Over 75 Years of Innovation and Leadership. The IEEE Computer Society traces its origins back to 1946. For over 75 years, our members have played a central role in the rapid evolution of computer technologies, and we’ve grown from a small group of specialists to an international organization with more than 373,000 individuals who are dedicated to advancing all aspects of computer science and engineering.
  5. What We Do. The IEEE Computer Society offers an array of products and services to keep you and your organization at the top of technology: 215+ conferences, a digital library (CSDL) with 847k articles, peer-reviewed magazines and journals, online education, and a solutions center. Conferences | Digital Library | Publications | Education | Resource Center.
  6. IEEE Computer Society Vision. To be the leading provider of technical information, community services, and personalized services to the world’s computing professionals.
  7. IEEE Computer Society Field of Interest. The scope of the Society shall encompass all aspects of theory, design, practice, and application relating to computer and information processing science and technology.
  8. IEEE Computer Society Goal. Be essential to the global technical community and computer professionals everywhere and be universally recognized for the contributions of technical professionals in developing and applying technology to improve global conditions.
  9. The purposes of the Society shall be scientific, literary, and educational in character. The Society shall strive to advance the theory, practice, and application of computer and information processing science and technology and shall maintain a high professional standing among its members. The Society shall promote cooperation and exchange of technical information among its members and to this end shall hold meetings for the presentation and discussion of technical papers, shall support life long professional education and certification, shall develop standards, shall publish technical journals, shall provide technical and professional products and services, and shall through its organization and other appropriate means provide for the needs of its members.
  10. Strategic Goals for the Society. Engage more students and early career professionals. Engage more industry individuals and organizations. Lead the way in new technical areas.
  11. Standards activities. The Computer Society is home to 205 active technical standards. The Computer Society recognizes that standards fuel the development and implementation of technologies that influence and transform the way we live, work, and communicate. The Computer Society strongly supports the development of new technical standards to reflect the continuous creation of new practices and technologies. Seventeen Computer Society standards committees and their working groups are currently developing almost 200 new standards.
  1. The IEEE Computer Society traces its origins to the 1946 formation of the Subcommittee on Large-Scale Computing Devices (LCD) of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). Five years later, the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) formed its Professional Group on Electronic Computers (PGEC). The principal volunteer officers of both these groups were designated chairs.
  2. The AIEE and the IRE merged in 1963 to become the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The respective committee and group of the predecessor organizations combined to form the modern IEEE Computer Society. The society’s principal volunteer officer has been designated as president since 1971.
  3. The Computer Society celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016. [Which means they celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2021.]
  1. https://www.computer.org/
  2. https://www.computer.org/about
  3. https://www.computer.org/about/cs-history
  4. https://www.computer.org/about/vision
  5. https://www.computer.org/volunteering/boards-and-committees/resources/constitution
  6. https://www.computer.org/volunteering/boards-and-committees/standards-activities/home

Relation to the American Physical Society (APS)

The lower levels of quantum computing hardware quickly devolve into physics itself, which is the domain of the American Physical Society (APS).

Relation to Nature magazine

Nature magazine is one of the premiere venues for publication of papers on quantum computing. Whether that would remain the case once an association dedicated to quantum computing comes into existence is an interesting open question.

arXiv as the premiere repository for published papers on quantum computing

In the old days it was critical to have an association with printed journals to publish and disseminate technical papers, but nowadays papers can trivially be posted and read online electronically by anyone. The arXiv online paper repository is the premiere venue for posting what are commonly called preprints of papers which are intended to be eventually published in established technical journals. In some cases the papers may never be formally published in established journals, but are nonetheless readily viewable in the arXiv repository.

phys.org for news on the latest papers posted on arXiv.org

There is even a website, phys.org, which posts summaries of interesting recent papers which have been posted to arXiv.org. To get a sense of the kinds of papers relevant to quantum physics, see:

A simplified and streamlined association

I am not proposing that quantum computing needs all of the large-scale structure, organization, bureaucracy, and trappings of ACM. in fact, it should initially have more of an informal organization, more reminiscent of ACM in its early days back in 1947.

Cooperation with ACM

I also anticipate that the new quantum computing association will cooperate with ACM — and the IEEE Computer Society — and engage in joint activities whenever that seems appropriate and delivers significant value.

ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing (TQC) journal

ACM does indeed have some limited offerings in the area of quantum computing, such as their ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing (TQC) journal which they inaugurated in 2020:

  1. New York, NY, December 14, 2020 — ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, today announced the inaugural issue of ACM Transactions on Quantum Computing (TQC), a new peer-reviewed journal with a focus on the theory and practice of quantum computing. TQC publishes high-impact, original research papers and select surveys on topics in quantum computing and quantum information science.
  2. Though quantum computing, an interdisciplinary field that draws on contributions from computer science, physics, mathematics, and other disciplines, has been around since the 1980s, recent advances have propelled it to become one of the most highly anticipated innovations. Some of the largest technology companies are in a race to produce the first quantum computer, and governments around the world have invested billions in developing this burgeoning field.
  3. It is expected that quantum computers, though not yet a fully realized technology, will be both disruptive and transformative, providing solutions to problems that were previously thought too complex. Many scientists also believe that quantum computing has the potential to usher in valuable advances in a number of areas including pharmaceuticals, materials science, artificial intelligence, and transportation, among many others.
  4. “Quantum computing is at a tipping point,” said TQC Co-Editor-in-Chief Travis S. Humble of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “A worldwide effort is underway to address not only the engineering challenges of developing a quantum computer, but the potential software applications as well. Presently most of the research in the field has been published in physics journals. We envision TQC as the first computing-centric journal that will take a broad approach to quantum information science and become the flagship journal of this promising new field.”
  5. “Quantum computing is very different from other areas of computing, as it traverses many disciplines,” added TQC Co Editor-in-Chief Mingsheng Ying of the University of Technology Sydney. “So we will be taking new approaches to encourage a diverse range of submissions to this journal. We envision TQC as the home for the most important new research in quantum information science. Significantly, we plan on publishing work by established thought leaders, and we hope the journal will encourage the younger generation to enter this exciting new field.”
  6. Topics covered in TQC include, but are not limited to: models of quantum computing, quantum algorithms and complexity, quantum computing architecture, principles and methods of fault-tolerant quantum computation, design automation for quantum computing, quantum programming languages and systems, distributed quantum computing, quantum networking, quantum security and privacy, and applications (e.g., in machine learning and AI).
  7. The inaugural issue of TQC presents a collection of five outstanding research papers that capture the breadth and sophistication of quantum computing research including (partial list): a novel technique for decomposition of a large class of quantum circuits that can achieve a significant improvement of depth over the best-known qubit only techniques; an efficient procedure for characterizing Pauli channels, which are an important noise model in many practical quantum computing architectures; and new quantum machine learning algorithms for training and evaluating feedforward neural networks that can be quadratically faster in the size of the network than their classical counterparts.
  8. In addition to Co-EICs Ying and Humble, the TQC editorial team includes Fred Chong, University of Chicago; Richard Jozsa, University of Cambridge; and Peter Shor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will serve as members of TQC’s Advisory Board. The editorial team also includes 16 Associate Editors representing various countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Quantum computing is only a small “corner” of ACM, a diluted focus, not a dedicated and exclusive focus

One of the main reasons why a separate and dedicated association is needed for quantum computing is that quantum computing is simply only one small corner of ACM, a rather tiny fraction of the total interests and focus of ACM.

ACM as a scientific and educational organization

ACM bills itself as a “scientific and educational organization.” The proposed association for quantum computing machinery would not contrast with that characterization per se, other than simply to note that back when ACM was founded in 1947, scientific may have had the same essential meaning as the expanded term STEM has today — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — including the practical aspects of technology and engineering as if science, or as the implications or consequences of science.

Association for Quantum Computing Machinery as a QSTEM research, practice, and educational organization

I would expand the ACM notion of a scientific and educational organization and make it more explicit as:

  • The Association for Quantum Computing Machinery is a QSTEM research, practice, and educational organization.

When should such an association be brought into existence?

Founding of an association for quantum computing could happen at any time, but there are any number of reasons to delay its formation for a more opportune time.

The association will happen when a motivated team of founding fathers make it happen

Ultimately, the association will happen when a motivated team of founding fathers (and mothers!) get together and put in the effort to make it happen in a sustainable manner.

Timing for creation of an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery

It may be premature to institute this proposed professional society for quantum computing at this time. There is too much up in the air. Much research is needed. So much is likely to change over even the next few years. It might well be more prudent to give the field a little time to settle down into at least an approximation of professional conduct before attempting to institutionalize such professional conduct.

But the sooner this effort gets started, the better

On the flip side, the sooner this effort gets started, the better.

  1. Systematizing the ad hoc.
  2. Turning craft into discipline and engineering.
  3. Assuring that everything technical has a solid foundation of science.

Why it may be too soon to get this organized

Some of the technical and non-technical factors which suggest that it may still be too soon to organize an association for quantum computing machinery include:

  1. Not even a coherent definition for quantum information.
  2. Quantum information theory is not even started or even recognized as a field.
  3. Quantum computer engineering is not even started or even recognized as a field.
  4. Quantum computer science is not even started or even recognized as a field.
  5. Quantum software engineering is not even started or even recognized as a field.
  6. No coherent high-level programming model.
  7. Only toy and relatively simple algorithms are currently feasible.
  8. Too much is done on an ad hoc basis, with no sense of being systematic.
  9. No sense that we are near to any dramatic advantage for quantum computing.
  10. No practical and production-scale applications have been demonstrated.

Need for a core team of elite founding fathers

Founding such a prestigious association is not to be treated lightly or cavalierly. An elite team of founding fathers (and mothers!) is needed.

Need for an advisory board to drive organization of the association

Beyond the core founding team, there should be an advisory board to guide more of the detailed decisions organizing the association. Probably a dozen members or so.

My only role is at this idea stage

My personal role is simply at the idea stage, conceptualizing the association and communicating and promoting it.

Details of founding, organization, and operation of the association are beyond the scope of this proposal

I’m only concerned with the high-level concept of such an association. Organizational, bureaucratic, and logistical details are beyond my interest. And beyond the scope of this informal paper.

Should founding of the association be synchronized with The ENIAC Moment for quantum computing?

The ENIAC Moment for quantum computing will be a seminal moment, a turning point for quantum computing, much as it was for classical computing. The question is whether organization of a quantum computing association should occur before, after, or in-sync with The ENIAC Moment for quantum computing.

  1. Long before The ENIAC Moment. More than a year before.
  2. Shortly before The ENIAC Moment. Up to a year before.
  3. Synchronized with The ENIAC Moment. No more than a couple of months before or after.
  4. Shortly after The ENIAC Moment. Up to a year after.
  5. Long after The ENIAC Moment. More than a year after.

ACM was founded very shortly after ENIAC went operational

ENIAC was built in 1945, debuted in 1946, and put into service in late July 1947. ACM was founded in September 1947. Whether the founding of ACM was actually synchronized with ENIAC being put into service could be debated, but at it’s less disputable to say that ACM was founded shortly after ENIAC went into service — barely two months.

The ENIAC Moment for quantum computing should be in sight

My preference would be to hold off founding an association for quantum computing until the field has evolved to the stage that The ENIAC Moment for quantum computing is palpable. It could still be months or even a year or two off in the future, but it needs to be palpable — people can see how it’s possible and practical and not off over the horizon indefinitely.

28 if not 32-qubit algorithms should be common

It is also my preference to hold off founding an association for quantum computing until the field has evolved to the stage where 28 and even 32-qubit algorithms are common, even the norm.

Origin relative to a Quantum Winter

There is at least some marginal concern that quantum computing may stumble or slide into a so-called Quantum Winter sometime over the next few years. This raises the question of whether it makes sense to hold off founding an association for quantum computing until after we emerge from such a Quantum Winter, or should we go full steam ahead anyway and expect to either power through any Quantum Winter or expect to hibernate or otherwise slow down but somehow manage to at least limp through any Quantum Winter.

  1. Die off due to the Quantum Winter.
  2. Survive the Quantum Winter. Limp along, neither dying off nor thriving.
  3. Thrive during the Winter. Largely due to a research and academic focus.

Need for sponsors

It would probably be helpful for the association to have a few sponsors to help it get off the ground financially initially. Ultimately it should probably be self-financed via membership fees, possibly supplemented with limited sponsorship opportunities, as well as entry fees for conferences.

Reverse sponsorships

On the flip side of external entities (businesses and government agencies) sponsoring the association for quantum computing, the association itself might lend its good name to sponsor external events and activities, such as:

  • Commercial conferences.
  • Commercial seminars.
  • Commercial workshops.
  • Trade shows.
  • Certification programs.
  • Standardization efforts.
  • Commercial training programs.
  • Outreach programs. Such as to minority and underserved communities.

Are the quantum old guard over the hill or too busy to focus on founding an association?

There are still quite a few researchers who have been active in quantum computing for twenty years or longer, even thirty or even forty years, even since the 1980’s. They certainly have the background to found an association dedicated to quantum computing, but do they really have a sufficient interest in an active association?

But the quantum old guard would be ideal for an emeritus advisory board

Even if the quantum old guard are too busy in their own research, too busy focusing on commercial ventures, or merely too comfortably retired, to be active in founding, organizing or operating a professional association dedicated to quantum computing, they are still likely to be great for an emeritus advisory board for the association to:

  1. Offer sage advice.
  2. Express what services they want and need.
  3. Express what they value and find useful and helpful.
  4. Provide historical context.

Should academia or industry lead the push for an association?

The primary push for an association dedicated to quantum computing could come from either academia or industry — or even both. Or from government.

Role of government is vitally significant — not just academia and industry

Although it is common to contrast academia and industry, and to see them as the two main sources of interest and driving factors in computing — classical and quantum, it is vitally important to recognize the role of government as well. To wit:

  1. Government is typically the single largest consumer of most technical products.
  2. Government requirements commonly drive the high-end interest in most technical products.
  3. Government grants frequently fund much of research and advanced development for many technologically-advanced products.
  4. For example, government funded ENIAC and other early computers. And supercomputers.
  5. For example, government funded early Internet networking research and development. The ARPANET, etc.
  6. Government drives a lot of the interest in standards. Government has a strong desire to acquire compatible products from a diversity of vendors.
  7. NIST — the National Institute of Standards and Technology — performs a lot of fundamental research which drives a lot of academic research.
  8. Various national governments have created and funded a variety of quantum initiatives.
  9. And more.

One association vs. let 1,000 associations bloom

I’m only advocating for a single association, but it’s quite possible that multiple associations might flourish. Or, at the extreme, there could be 1,000 associations. With low-cost online technology, an association could be set up and operate at very low cost and effort.

  1. Spinoffs.
  2. Splintering.
  3. Specialization.
  4. Generalization.
  5. Mergers.
  6. Winnowing.
  7. Survival of the fittest.
  8. One association to rule them all.

Wildcard: an association led by students or smaller entrepreneurs and startups with an interest in growing the talent pool

Rather than founding an association based on academic and established industry professionals, it’s very possible that an association might be founded by students and small entrepreneurs with a primary interest of growing the quantum talent pool.

Research, product, and practice

There are really three distinct prongs for efforts in quantum computing:

  1. Research. Conceptualization, theory, and testing and evaluation of computing technologies.
  2. Product. Reducing concept and theory to practical products. Including tools, support software, and infrastructure.
  3. Practice. Utilizing products to address and solve practical real-world problems. Developing and deploying applications.

Commercial competition

An association for quantum computing would be a nonprofit organization, but already we have a wide variety of commercial entities providing offerings and services that would compete with such a nonprofit organization, with offerings such as:

  1. Publications. Academic journals. Books. Web sites. Blogs.
  2. Training programs.
  3. Conferences.
  4. Seminars.
  5. Workshops.
  6. Recruiting and career services.

Drop “Machinery” to make it the Association for Quantum Computing?

The presence of the word Machinery in Association for Quantum Computing Machinery, is mostly just to emphasize the parallel to ACM as the Association for Computing Machinery and in truth seems a bit anachronistic and archaic, so maybe it could or should be dropped, making the name of the proposed association simply:

  • Association for Quantum Computing
  1. Emphasize the historic parallel to ACM.
  2. Use a simpler, more modern name.

Quantum information science

Quantum information science is the umbrella concept covering everything related to quantum information processing:

  1. Quantum computing.
  2. Quantum communication.
  3. Quantum networking.
  4. Quantum metrology.
  5. Quantum sensing.
  1. Quantum effects. The essential concepts from quantum mechanics and quantum physics which underpin quantum information science.
  2. Quantum information. Information at the quantum level. From basic concepts to advanced theory. Applies across all of the areas of quantum information science. Binary basis states, continuous values of phase and probability amplitudes and probabilities, and strings of binary basis states for product states of entangled qubits.

Quantum effects

Quantum effects are the essential concepts from quantum mechanics and quantum physics which underpin quantum information science.

Quantum information

Quantum information is information at the quantum level, in contrast to classical information.

  1. Quantum system. Isolation and interaction.
  2. Quantum state.
  3. Wavefunctions.
  4. Probability amplitude.
  5. Phase.
  6. Basis states. Typically binary, but can be higher order, such as 3 or 10 states.
  7. Superposition.
  8. Entanglement.
  9. Product states.
  10. Interference.
  11. Measurement. Or observation.

Need for new fields

Quantum mechanics and quantum physics have a long and rich history as established science.

  1. Quantum information theory doesn’t even exist yet as a recognized field.
  2. Quantum computer engineering doesn’t even exist yet as a recognized field.
  3. Quantum computer science doesn’t even exist yet as a recognized field.
  4. Quantum software engineering doesn’t even exist yet as a recognized field.

Need for the new field of quantum information theory

  1. Some elements of classical information theory.
  2. But not all elements of classical information theory.
  3. Additional elements of information theory which are quantum-specific. Especially from quantum mechanics.
  1. Linear algebra. Not clear how much is needed here other than state vectors. Unitary transformation matrices are needed in quantum computer engineering and quantum computer science — execution and specification of quantum logic gates.
  2. Quantum system. Isolation and interaction.
  3. Quantum state.
  4. Wavefunctions.
  5. Probability amplitude.
  6. Phase.
  7. Basis states.
  8. Superposition.
  9. Entanglement.
  10. Product states.
  11. Interference.
  12. Measurement. Or observation.

Quantum information science vs. quantum information theory

I would prefer to use the term quantum information science rather than quantum information theory, but unfortunately the term quantum information science is already taken and used as the umbrella covering all of quantum information processing — quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum networking, quantum metrology, and quantum sensing — and quantum information theory.

Quantum information science and technology (QIST)

You may see references to QIST — short for quantum information science and technology. It is generally a synonym for QIS — quantum information science. Generally, there is no intention to exclude technology from QIS. Essentially, QIST is redundant. But, in some contexts QIS may be intended to focus on research and QIST is intended to emphasize the practical applications of the more theoretical and research aspects of QIS. When in doubt, just use QIS and read QIST and QIS as synonyms.

Quantum science

Some people use the term quantum science as a synonym or shorthand for quantum information science (QIS). Similarly, some people use the term quantum science and technology as a synonym or shorthand for quantum information science and technology (QIST). Generally, it is better to use the full terms, and to read the shorthand terms as intending to refer to the full terms.

Need for the new field of quantum computer engineering

  1. Some elements of classical computer engineering.
  2. But not all elements of classical computer engineering.
  3. Additional elements of computer engineering which are quantum-specific.
  1. The new field of quantum information theory. Quantum information is the starting point and fundamental basis for quantum computer engineering and quantum computer science.
  2. Linear algebra. State vectors, unitary transformation matrices for execution of quantum logic gates.
  3. Focus on the programming model.
  4. Architecture.
  5. Qubit technology.
  6. Qubit control.
  7. Fault-tolerant quantum computing — full, automatic, and transparent error detection and correction
  8. Representing quantum information in its most basic and primitive form and operations on that information in their most basic and primitive form.
  9. Alternative architectures and alternative programming models. Such as quantum annealing and specialized simulators for physical systems.
  10. Quantum networking. Physically supporting the distribution and management of quantum state between physically separated quantum computers. Hardware and firmware enablement for distributed quantum computing software infrastructure, algorithms and applications.
  11. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.

Need for the new field of quantum computer science

  1. Some elements of classical computer science.
  2. But not all elements of classical computer science.
  3. Additional elements of computer science which are quantum-specific.
  1. The new field of quantum information theory. Quantum information is the starting point and fundamental basis for quantum computer science.
  2. Linear algebra. State vectors, unitary transformation matrices for specification of quantum logic gates to be executed on a quantum computer or simulator.
  3. Translation between classical and quantum information.
  4. Quantum algorithms.
  5. Quantum algorithms operating on quantum information.
  6. Focusing on generic algorithms and algorithmic building blocks and software that is generic and not specific to particular application domains.
  7. Algorithmic building blocks.
  8. Quantum circuits.
  9. Hybrid quantum/classical algorithms.
  10. Quantum-inspired algorithms.
  11. Quantum algorithmic complexity. In part based on classical computational complexity.
  12. Quantum parallelism.
  13. Quantum advantage.
  14. Quantum computation.
  15. Expectation value of results of a quantum computation. Shot counts and circuit repetitions.
  16. State preparation.
  17. Measurement.
  18. Coherence.
  19. Error mitigation.
  20. Error correction.
  21. Quantum networking. Managing quantum state distributed between physically separated quantum computers. Software infrastructure to support quantum networks.
  22. Quantum distributed computing. Quantum computations distributed across quantum networks — computations using quantum state distributed between physically separated quantum computers. Software infrastructure to enable, support, and manage distributed quantum computations — algorithms and applications.

Need for the new field of quantum software engineering

  1. Some elements of classical software engineering.
  2. But not all elements of classical software engineering.
  3. Additional elements of software engineering which are quantum-specific.
  1. Design, development, deployment, and operation of quantum applications, which utilize quantum algorithms in conjunction with classical code.
  2. Modular design. Modules, modular structure, interfaces, APIs, systems, system architectures, and networked services as well.
  3. User experience (UX) design.
  4. The craft of software development. Including specifications, requirements, coding style, naming conventions, commenting conventions, and documentation. Staged development, prototyping, scalability. Source, version, and release control.
  5. Configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  6. Quality assurance and testing in general.
  7. Quantum networking. Enabling, managing, and operating quantum networks.
  8. Quantum distributed computing. Enabling and managing quantum distributed computation.
  9. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.

Local chapters

In addition to national membership, ACM also has more informal local chapters which may have meetings and newsletters, including hosting of semi-regular presentations, and even local field trips.

Student chapters

In addition to national membership for students, ACM also has local student chapters which may have meetings and newsletters, including hosting of regular presentations and lectures, and even local field trips. They tend to be organized at and around the interests of particular educational institutions.

ACM Special Interest Groups

A core aspect of ACM is its wealth of active special interest groupsSIGs. as per ACM’s website:

  • ACM’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) represent major areas of computing, addressing the interests of technical communities that drive innovation. SIGs offer a wealth of conferences, publications and activities focused on specific computing sub-disciplines. They enable members to share expertise, discovery and best practices.

Special Interest Groups for quantum computing

I expect that an association for quantum computing machinery would have a wide variety of special interest groups (SIGs), covering, among other topics:

  1. Hardware.
  2. Algorithms.
  3. Support software.
  4. Tools.
  5. Programming models.
  6. Programming languages.
  7. Specific application areas. Science applications. Engineering applications. Business applications. Finance applications.
  8. Specific qubit technologies.
  9. Specific vendors.
  10. Specific products.
  11. Specific toolkits and libraries.
  12. Specific methodologies.
  13. Cybersecurity.

Publications for quantum computing

I won’t go into detail here in this paper on publications, but simply suggest that the publications of the ACM are a good starting point for consideration of the publication model for an association for quantum computing machinery.

  1. Some will tend to be more academic. More theoretical and abstract.
  2. Some will tend to be more practical. Actual experience.
  3. Some will be more general in interest.
  4. Some will focus on relatively or very narrow niche interests.
  5. Some will focus on specific special interest groups (SIGs).
  6. Some will be more formal. Peer review journals.
  7. Some will be more informal. Even brief notes.
  8. Greater emphasis on online distribution and access.
  9. Topics of immediate interest. Now.
  10. Current events. And news in the field.
  11. Policy topics.
  12. Topics of short-term interest. Next few months. Maybe a year.
  13. Topics of medium-term interest. Next few years.
  14. Topics of longer-term interest. Five to ten years or longer.
  1. Algorithms. General purpose.
  2. Algorithmic building blocks. Some large, some medium, some small. Generally algorithms should be decomposed primarily into algorithmic building blocks rather than vast and incomprehensible extended sequences and trees of raw quantum logic gates.
  3. Algorithmic complexity.
  4. Application-specific algorithms.
  5. Design patterns.
  6. Libraries.
  7. Application frameworks.
  8. Applications.
  9. Configurable packaged quantum solutions.
  10. Infrastructure and support software.
  11. Tools.
  12. Performance and capacity testing, measurement, and characterization.
  13. Benchmarking.
  14. Resource estimation. What quantum resources does this algorithm require — qubit count, circuit depth, qubit fidelity, granularity of phase and probability amplitude, qubit connectivity.
  15. Training approaches.
  16. Summary of recent research advances.
  17. Summary of recent approaches to practical applications.
  18. Advances in qubit technologies.
  19. Architectural advances.
  20. Progress towards quantum advantage.
  21. Scaling of algorithms.
  22. Quantum programming languages.
  23. Programming models.
  24. Advances in simulators.
  25. Topics in physical simulation — simulation of physical systems. Physics, chemistry, biology, geology, oceanography, climate, astronomy.
  26. Quantum-inspired algorithms.
  27. Hybrid quantum/classical algorithms.
  28. Digital/analog hybrid quantum algorithms.
  29. Towards visions of universal quantum computing. Merging and integrating classical and quantum computing.
  1. A mix of dedicated journals and topic-oriented sections of broader journals. Not all topics will deserve dedicated journals
  2. Short notes. It will frequently be beneficial to publish relatively short notes, in contrast to full-length formal papers. Observations. Work in progress. Possible future directions. Uncertainties. Unknowns. Brief communication should be encouraged, especially in more dynamic areas.

Conferences, symposia, and trade shows for quantum computing

Conferences and symposia are a mainstay of ACM, so I would imagine the same for an association for quantum computing machinery.

An association dedicated to quantum computing wouldn’t replace all other venues for publishing papers and holding conferences

As valuable as an association dedicated to quantum computing would be, it wouldn’t be the only venue for publishing papers or holding conferences related to quantum computing. Other venues would include:

  1. ACM.
  2. IEEE.
  3. IEEE Computer Society.
  4. American Physical Society (APS).
  5. Commercial publications, conferences, seminars, workshops, and web sites.

Symposia for quantum computing

There’s no hard and fast distinction between conferences and symposia, but I draw the distinction that conferences tend to be more about presenting definitive results while symposia tend to focus more on tentative results and thinking out loud about open problems.

Quantum computing community

The quantum computing community encompasses all aspects of individuals interacting as individuals and as groups. This includes:

  1. Conferences.
  2. In-person and online networking and support forums.
  3. Local and student chapters.
  4. Employment and academic opportunities.
  5. Funding opportunities — academic and commercial, private sector and government.
  6. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  7. Part of the larger quantum computing ecosystem, which includes vendors, customers, users, and investors and venture capital.

Quantum computing ecosystem

The quantum computing ecosystem is the whole enchilada of quantum computing. It includes:

  1. The technology.
  2. The research.
  3. Academia.
  4. Community.
  5. Vendors.
  6. Customers.
  7. Users.
  8. Investors. Venture capital firms. Investors in startups.

Distinction between the quantum computing community and the quantum computing ecosystem

As used in this paper, quantum computing community refers to the professionals responsible for designing and building quantum computing systems. The core of those professionals being scientists and engineers. This notion of community is distinct from the operational and business aspects of quantum computing, which is nominally the world of vendors, customers, users, and investors — those individuals and groups working with complete and fully-functional quantum computing systems and applications, in contrast to those professionals who design and develop those quantum computing systems and applications.

  1. A vendor. Selling and distributing complete quantum computing systems. Or producing components which other vendors are integrating to produce complete quantum computing systems.
  2. A customer. Buying, leasing, deploying, and operating complete quantum computing systems. Includes cloud access.
  3. A user. Using or operating quantum applications.
  4. An investor. Such as a venture capital firm.

Investors and venture capital for quantum computing

In a real sense, money makes the world go round. Research needs to be funded. Education needs to be paid for. Products and services needed to be purchased. Product development needs to be funded. Investment is critical for any technology.

A rough 50/50 split between theory and practice

When it comes to conferences, publications, and topics of interest, I expect that an association dedicated to quantum computing would tend to have roughly a 50/50 split between a focus on theory and a focus on practice. Both research and practical applications are of equal value and equal interest.

Need for curriculum and syllabus for quantum computing education

Formal academic education for quantum computing is a new area with no clear guidance for what a curriculum or syllabus for courses should look like. An association for quantum computing could and should offer model curricula and syllabi for formal academic education in quantum computing.

Certification for quantum computing skills

An association for quantum computing could and should play a role in the development and promotion of certification programs for all aspects of quantum computing skills.

Recognition and awards for quantum computing

Quantum computing has been around long enough and accomplished enough that it is high time that there be formal recognition to acknowledge and reward notable technical and professional contributions to the field.

Students — the future of quantum computing

Students are literally the future of quantum computing. An association for quantum computing should do everything it can to assist students in becoming productive members of the quantum computing community. And that starts with outreach to young people, even in high school.

  1. Formal academic education.
  2. Tuition assistance. Scholarships.
  3. Field trips.
  4. Publication of papers.
  5. Participation in conferences.
  6. Networking. Other students. Professors and other education professionals. Professionals in academia, government, and industry.
  7. Mentoring.
  8. Internship opportunities.
  9. Research opportunities.
  10. Recognition and awards.
  11. Job placement in industry, government, and academia.
  12. Outreach. Attracting young people to quantum computing.
  13. Ethics.

Post-ACM focus and organization

The current ACM has a lot of history and baggage behind it. It bears worth considering what focus and organization a new, modern ACM might have if founded from scratch today and freed from all of that history and baggage, some of which is rather archaic and anachronistic or dated to say the least. That vision for the future rather than of the past should be used as a guide for founding and organizing an association for quantum computing machinery.

  1. Experience from ACM over the decades of its existence.
  2. Newer technology.
  3. Newer products and services.
  4. New technology for supporting organizations.
  5. Newer and younger audience.
  6. Newer and evolved markets.
  7. New media.
  8. Social media.
  9. New thoughts on governance.

How can someone get involved? Just do it! Do your own thing! Do something, anything, and see what develops!

If the thought of an association dedicated to quantum computing appeals to you, what can you do to get involved? Just go ahead and make whatever contribution works best for you. If you have some ideas or even just some interest worth pursuing… Just do it!

  • #aqcm
  • #associationforquantumcomputingmachinery
  • #associationforquantumcomputing

For now, quantum computing remains a mere laboratory curiosity

Quantum computing remains at the stage of being a mere laboratory curiosity, not even close to being ready for development and deployment of production-scale practical real-world quantum applications.

For now, quantum computing is still more appropriate for the lunatic fringe rather than mainstream application developers

The lunatic fringe are those super-elite technical staff who are capable and interested in working with a new technology regardless of whether the technology is ready for commercial deployment. Quantum computing remains at the stage where its primary appeal is to the lunatic fringe rather than to mainstream application developers.

For now, quantum computing remains in the pre-commercialization stage, not ready for commercialization yet and at risk of premature commercialization

For now, quantum computing remains in the pre-commercialization stage, not ready for commercialization yet and at risk of premature commercialization.

My original proposal for this topic

For reference, here is the original proposal I had for this topic. It may have some value for some people wanting a more concise summary of this paper.

  • Need for an Association for Quantum Computing Machinery. Analogous to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for classical computing, but adapted to quantum computing. Areas of interest… Quantum computer science. Quantum computer engineering. Quantum software engineering. Quantum algorithms. Quantum applications. Quantum data science. Quantum artificial intelligence. Quantum computing education. Quantum computing training. Quantum computing certification. Quantum Information Science (QIS). Quantum networking. Quantum testing. Quantum quality assurance. Quantum methodologies. Craft of quantum software development — design process, system design, modular structure, design patterns, coding style, commenting conventions, documentation of algorithms and code, debugging techniques. Service level agreements. Quantum user experience (UX). Quantum special interest groups (SIGs). IEEE Computer Society equivalent as well. Dovetails with the structure of formal education programs for quantum computing. This paper would be more of an overview rather than fine detail. Nor would it be concerned with the bureaucratic structure of the organization.

Summary and conclusions

  1. Although there are existing professional organizations for computing which can at least partially address quantum computing, a dedicated association for quantum computing is needed.
  2. There are existing organizations for computing which can cover quantum computing to a limited extent: the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) — primarily focused on software, the IEEE — primarily focused on hardware, and the IEEE Computer Society — a mix of hardware and software.
  3. One of the two core essential purposes of an association for quantum computing machinery would be to advance the science, technology, and applications of quantum computing, including research and the development and deployment of quantum applications.
  4. The other core essential purpose is to advance quantum computing as a profession, including education and training, professional development, and networking of professionals and students.
  5. The ultimate primary goal of the association would be to achieve the ultimate goal of quantum computing — constructing a practical quantum computer capable of addressing production-scale practical real-world problems.
  6. Such an association would be a nonprofit organization, not a commercial venture. Its purpose is to serve its members, professionals and students, not investors or shareholders.
  7. Local, regional, national, international, and both offline and online in scope. Overall, the association can best be described as international or global.
  8. The most essential technical areas of quantum computing to be covered by the association are: quantum information theory, quantum computer engineering, quantum computer science, quantum software engineering, quantum algorithms and applications, and quantum infrastructure and support software.
  9. Quantum information theory. Information at the quantum level. From basic concepts to advanced theory.
  10. Quantum computer engineering. The hardware, particularly the programming model, architecture, and qubit technology and qubit control. Including fault-tolerant quantum computing — full, automatic, and transparent error detection and correction.
  11. Quantum computer science. Quantum algorithms operating on quantum information.
  12. Quantum software engineering. Design, development, deployment, and operation of quantum applications which utilize quantum algorithms.
  13. Quantum algorithms and applications. Application domain-specific quantum algorithms and software.
  14. Quantum infrastructure and support software.
  15. Beyond the technical areas of interest, activities of the association would include: support for research, quantum computing education and training, quantum certification, quantum computing standards, quantum publications, quantum computing community, students, recognition and awards, code of ethics and professional conduct.
  16. Support for research. Administrative and institutional support for research. Separate from the specific technical content and funding of the research.
  17. Quantum computing education and training. Both academic and commercial. Seminars, workshops, and conferences as well. Professional growth. Life-long learning. Career development.
  18. Quantum certification. Play a role in the development and promotion of certification programs for all aspects of quantum computing skills. Credentials which bear witness to the skills of a professional.
  19. Quantum computing standards. To produce and promote the use of formal (or even informal) standards in the quantum computing community and ecosystem. Most importantly, to take an active role in keeping attention focused on standards.
  20. Quantum publications. Books and journals. Print, electronic, and online. Email newsletters. Emphasis on research, products, and practice.
  21. Quantum computing community. Conferences. In-person and online networking and support forums. Hackathons. Local and student chapters. Employment and academic opportunities. Funding opportunities — academic and commercial, private sector and government. Emphasis on research, products, and practice. Part of the larger quantum computing ecosystem, which includes vendors, customers, users, and investors and venture capital.
  22. Quantum computing ecosystem. The quantum computing community plus vendors, customers, users, and investors and venture capital.
  23. Students. Outreach. Community. Education. Internship opportunities. Mentoring. Research opportunities. Recognition and awards. Job placement in industry, government, and academia.
  24. Recognition and awards. Acknowledge and reward notable technical and professional contributions to the field.
  25. Code of ethics and professional conduct.
  26. Students would warrant special attention since they are in fact the future of quantum computing.
  27. A rough 50/50 split between theory and practice. Research and practical applications are of equal value and equal interest.
  28. The proposed Association for Quantum Computing Machinery is a QSTEM research, practice, and educational organization. Research, practice, and students are all of equal value and equal interest. I suggest the term QSTEM as an expansion of the traditional concept of STEM to broaden it to emphasize the role of quantum effects.
  29. Role of government is vitally significant — not just academia and industry. Government funds much computing research and uses much computing technology — classical and quantum.
  30. When should such an association be brought into existence? It could happen at any time, but there are any number of reasons to delay its formation for a more opportune time. The Association for Computing Machinery didn’t come into existence until 1947, shortly after the pioneering ENIAC computer entered service. It might be wise to wait for a similar moment for quantum computing. Or maybe wait until quantum computing has a more advanced programming model which is more usable by less-elite professionals.
  31. Ultimately, the association will happen when a motivated team of founding fathers (and mothers!) get together and put in the effort to make it happen — in a sustainable manner.
  32. Some sponsors may be needed to get the association off the ground financially initially, but primarily it would be funded by memberships, although ongoing sponsorships may be appropriate, provided that there are no strings attached and that sponsors get no say in the operation or administration of the association.
  33. How can someone get involved? Just do it! Do your own thing! Do something, anything, and see what develops!
  34. For now, quantum computing remains a mere laboratory curiosity.
  35. For now, quantum computing is still more appropriate for the lunatic fringe rather than mainstream application developers.
  36. For now, quantum computing remains in the pre-commercialization stage, not ready for commercialization yet and at risk of premature commercialization. Much more research, prototyping, and experimentation is needed before commercial products and production-scale applications can even be conceptualized with enough detail and accuracy to avoid premature commercialization.
  37. But we’re still in the early days, when an association dedicated to quantum computing could well make the difference in getting past both the laboratory curiosity stage and the lunatic fringe stage.

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Freelance Consultant

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