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Quantum Computing Realities Online Program

A two-course certificate program to turn your quantum computing knowledge into action using cutting edge QC technology

Start Date: Jun 17, 2019
Duration: 4 weeks per course
Price: $2000

Course Description

Quantum Computing (QC) will soon have a substantial impact on industry -- from healthcare and pharmaceuticals to manufacturing and finance. It will not only allow companies to do things faster than traditional computing, but entirely different.

Pairing MIT’s leading experts in the field with IBM’s cutting-edge quantum computing tools, services, and hands-on materials for learners, this two-course online certificate program will take you deeper into the practical applications of quantum computing. You will explore quantum noise as well as the concepts of quantum error correction, the threshold for practical, fault-tolerant quantum computation, and models of quantum computation beyond quantum circuits. Understand the true possibilities and advantages of quantum computing while getting hands-on experience in this two-course online program.

The two courses in the certificate program are:

Learners may enroll in each course independently and receive a certificate of completion and CEUs. However, both courses are required in order to get the Professional Certificate in Quantum Computing Realities and enrolling in the program saves you $500 off the cost of the two courses individually.

Get exclusive access to IBM Q

Experience the MIT mens et manus philosophy and turn quantum computing knowledge into action in the program’s Lab Practicum components. The Quantum Computing Realities program is designed to transform learners into quantum practitioners by offering a robust curriculum and experience using the most advanced quantum computing tools available through the cloud today. These courses will utilize the IBM Q Experience, a platform for experimenting with and advancing quantum computing, and QISKit, an open-source quantum software developer kit.

MIT’s quantum computing curriculum is created in collaboration with IBM Q, an industry-first initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computers for business and science, and the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is focused on fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) research with the goal of propelling scientific breakthroughs that unlock the potential of AI. A key initiative of the lab is the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning. MIT is solely responsible for all course content decisions.

What You'll Learn

  • Familiarize with the practical tradeoffs between trapped ion and superconducting qubit implementations of quantum computers.
  • Gain proficiency with the typical coherence times and quantum gate counts achievable with leading quantum computer implementations.
  • Summarize the the physical limits for quantum coherence times and quantum communication limits over optical fibers.
  • Evaluate technology options for realizing quantum computers and quantum communication systems using atoms, photons, and superconductors.
  • Describe the conceptual role of fault-tolerance in realizing large-scale quantum and classical computation.
  • Gain knowledge of one quantum error correction code, and its code parameters.
  • Familiarize yourself with the scientific basis for families of quantum error correction codes.
  • Understand the different strategies for counteracting systematic versus random error in quantum computation.


Isaac Chuang

Isaac Chuang Professor of Physics, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Senior Associate Dean of Digital Learning at MIT

William Oliver

William Oliver Professor of the Practice, Physics, Laboratory Fellow, Lincoln Laboratory, Associate Director, Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT

Aram Harrow

Aram Harrow Associate Professor of Physics at MIT

Peter Shor

Peter Shor Morss Professor of Applied Mathematics, Applied Mathematics Committee Chair, Quantum Computation, Quantum Information at MIT


It’s professional development – the MIT way.

MIT xPRO provides professional development opportunities to a global audience via online courses and programs. Our goal is to help accelerate the pace of innovation through courses that solve industry problems. Taught by MIT faculty and leveraging the latest learning technologies, MIT xPRO courses and programs are available to individuals, teams, or as a component of corporate development initiatives.

MIT xPRO learners are not only scientists, engineers, technicians, managers, and consultants – they are change agents. They take the initiative, push boundaries, and define the future.


This program is intended for not only quantum computing engineers, scientists, and researchers but leaders of quantum computing teams, government and business executives, and anyone who needs to get a thorough understanding of quantum computing fundamentals and real-world applications.


Learners may enroll in each course independently and receive a certificate of completion and CEUs per course. However, both courses are required in order to get the Professional Certificate in Quantum Computing Fundamentals

Practical Realities of Quantum Computation and Quantum Communication Begins June 17, 2019

Requirements for Large-Scale Universal Quantum Computation Begins July 22, 2019



What do I do if I have questions about this program?

If you have any questions about this program or the individual courses that comprise this program, please email:

What do I need to do to register for this program?

Go to, click on the program “Quantum Computing Realities.” Then click “Enroll.” You may be prompted to first register for a MIT xPRO account if you do not have one already. Complete this process, and then continue with the checkout process and pay for the program. After you complete registration, you will receive a purchase receipt and confirmation/instructions via email.

How do I register a group of participants?

Group registrations of 10 or more may qualify for an additional discount. Please send an email to for more information. There are two ways to register multiple individuals at once. Once the program is added to your cart, you can select the number of seats you would like to purchase. You can then pay using a valid credit card. For a group of 10 or more individuals, you can pay via invoice. To be invoiced, please email with the number of individuals in your group you want to register. Please note that our payment terms are net zero, and all invoices must be paid prior to the course start date. Failure to remit payment before the course begins may result in removal from the program. No extensions or exceptions will be granted.

What is the registration deadline?

Current Run: June 17, 2019 – August 19, 2019 (8 weeks of content across two months’ time). Program registrations must be completed by June 24, 2019. Course 1 (Practical Realities of Quantum Computation and Quantum Communication) registration deadline is June 24, 2019. Course 2 (Requirements for Large-Scale Universal Quantum Computation) registration deadline is July 29, 2019.

Please note that once registration has closed, no late registrations or cancellations will be granted.

Who cannot register for this program?

U.S. sanctions and export control regulations prevent us from offering this course to learners in or ordinarily residing in the Crimean region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea.

How should I pay?

Individual participants must complete registration and pay online with a valid credit card at the time of registration. MIT xPRO accepts globally recognized major credit or debit cards that have a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or Diner’s Club logo. Invoices will not be generated for individuals, or for groups of less than 10 people. However, all participants will receive a payment receipt. Payment must be received in full; payment plans are not available.

When will I get access to the Program site?

Instructions for accessing the course site will be sent to all paid registrants via email prior to the program start date. If you have not received these instructions, visit your account dashboard to login and begin the course on the advertised start date.

I need to cancel my registration. Are there any fees?

Cancellation requests must be submitted to The drop deadline for Program Refund: June 24, 2019. Cancellation requests received after drop deadline are not be eligible for a refund. To submit your request, please include your full name and order number in your email request. Refunds will be credited to the credit card used when you registered and may take up to two billing cycles to process.

Can I transfer/defer my registration for another session or course?

Admission and fees paid cannot be deferred to a subsequent session; however, you may cancel your registration and reapply at a later date.

Can someone else attend in my place?

We cannot accommodate any substitution requests at this time. Please review the time commitment section and course schedule.


How do I know if this program is right for me?

Carefully review the program description page, which includes a description of program content, objectives, and target audience, and any required prerequisites.

Are there any prerequisites to apply for this program?

Linear algebra is at the core of quantum computing algorithms and hence basic knowledge of vector and matrix multiplication are a strongly suggested prerequisite. While we provide brief descriptions of the necessary aspects in the course material, we cannot replace pre-reading or having had a course on the subject.

How long is the program?

The program starts on June 17, 2019 and concludes on August 19, 2019 (8 weeks of content across two months’ time). Each course in the program runs for four weeks. Course 1 (Practical Realities of Quantum Computation and Quantum Communication) runs June 17, 2019 - July 15, 2019. Course 2 (Requirements for Large-Scale Universal Quantum Computation) runs July 22, 2019 - August 19, 2019.

How many hours per week will I have class or homework?

The time commitment per week is between three and five hours of work, between viewing videos, reading content, completing practice activities, and working on application/project assignments. The course is self-paced in the sense that learners can go through the content on their own schedule. There are, however, assignments that are date-specific because they require coordination of student submissions. There is also a message board for our learners to use, and discussion is encouraged. The professors will not be directly responding to questions, but there is a team of TAs to moderate questions.

How long will the program material be available online?

Program materials for each course will be available to registered and paid participants for 90 days after the end of Course 2: November 17, 2019. The course materials are not downloadable, but you are welcome to take your own notes.

Will I receive an MIT certificate?

Participants who successfully complete the program and all required activities will receive a Professional Certificate from MIT. Additionally, a Certificate of Completion will be awarded for each course successfully completed. Letter grades are not awarded for this program. Both courses that comprise the program are pass/fail.

Will I receive MIT credits?

This course does not render MIT credit. MIT offers non-credit/non-degree professional programs for a global audience. Participants may not imply or state in any manner, written or oral, that MIT or MIT xPRO is granting academic credit for enrollment in this professional course. None of our digital courses or programs award academic credit or degrees. Letter grades are not awarded for this course.

Will I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

Course participants who successfully complete the two courses, and thus the program, are eligible to receive 4.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from MIT xPRO. CEUs are a nationally recognized means of recording non-credit/non-degree study. They are accepted by many employers, licensing agencies, and professional associations as evidence of a participant’s serious commitment to the development of a professional competence. CEUs are based on hours of instruction. For example: One CEU = 10 hours of instruction. CEUs may not be applied toward any MIT undergraduate or graduate level course.

After I complete this course, will I be an MIT alum?

Learners who successfully complete a professional education course are considered MIT xPRO Alumni. Only those who complete an undergraduate or graduate degree are considered MIT alumni.

Are video captions available?

Each video for this course has been transcribed and the text can be found on the right side of the video when the captions function is turned on. Synchronized transcripts allow students to follow along with the video and navigate to a specific section of the video by clicking the transcript text. Students can use transcripts of media-based learning materials for study and review.

What are the technical requirements to participate in this course?

The ability to download and edit Microsoft PowerPoint files and read PDFs is also necessary. Access to our courses requires an Internet connection, as videos are only available via online streaming, and cannot be downloaded for offline viewing. Please take note of your company's restrictions for viewing content and/or firewall settings. Our courseware works best with current versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 11 and above. For the best possible experience, we recommend switching to an up-to-date version of Chrome or Firefox. We are unable to fully support access with mobile devices at this time. While many components of your courses will function on a mobile device, some may not be.

Photo courtesy of Connie Zhou for IBM.