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"Quantum is for everyone:" An all-girls computing camp gives young coders a head start

Posted at 11:42 PM, Jul 20, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It’s the world’s first ever free all-girls quantum computing summer camp. This week-long program is being hosted in Tucson in partnership with the University of Arizona and the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona.

Qubit by Qubit is a non-profit pushing this initiative nationwide. Program manager Gabbie Meis says, “we’ve taught over 14,000 students virtually since 2013.” But this camp is hosted in-person.

Meis says the camp is about “harnessing the power of quantum mechanics to power a whole new type of computer called 'quantum computers'.”

Experts in the field of quantum computing say this developing technology will eventually be so powerful, we will use it to solve problems traditional computers can’t.

Meis says, “huge problems that deal with a big amount of data.” Some examples include climate change.

Michelle Higgins, the camp organizer from the University of Arizona, says, “there will be more individualized and more precise healthcare, better communication systems, and things that perhaps don’t go down when we have huge storms.”

Girls are encouraged to pursue a career in quantum because it is currently a male-dominated industry.

Higgins says, “in the past there have been more men going into the field and that’s what they see now.”

She adds, "quantum really has a marketing problem because we automatically think, 'oh we have to be a genius, I have to be like Einstein, I have to have my PhD to understand'."

But that’s not the case. The camp is meant to do the opposite in hopes of encouraging girls to get a start in physics early on. Meis says for anyone interested, “there are no prerequisites for the camp, so we have girls that have never even coded on a computer before, to some that have created their own game. So we like to say quantum is for everyone.”

The camp will be hosted again next summer.

This story was originally published by KGUN in Tucson, Arizona.