UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute


Innovation: Ready, steady, code!

1 October 2020

UCLQ PhD students Nedeen Al Sharif and Daniel O’Connor lead-up the UCLQ Hackathon team.

Photo of Nedeen Alsharif and Daniel O'Connor

The idea for our hackathon really came together over drinks and food at our annual Christmas party. Three months later, we were sending out confirmation emails to attendees and getting ready to welcome hackers from across the world at UCL’s spin-out incubation centre in Kings Cross London. Then, countries and businesses started locking-down due to covid-19. However, we haven’t been deterred and we are now exploring running a series of small-scale online hackathons.

We are both PhD students studying quantum computation at UCLQ and we both have a keen interest in the near-term applications of quantum computation for industry. Through our research, we can see that quantum computers have the potential to revolutionise a diverse range of fields such as materials research, drug discovery and finance.

Research in quantum technologies is developing rapidly, where research groups and industry players are already exploring possible quantum algorithms for applications.

Our hackathons aim to bring together the expertise of researchers, quantum industry specialists, and end-user communities together in a vibrant space to explore the current applications of quantum computation and simulation.

With UCLQ’s Quantum Finance Hackathon, now delayed until 2021, we aim to bring together people from a diverse set of backgrounds, including quantum physics, computer scientists, finance experts, and coders to explore the finance applications of quantum computing.

Working with the Qiskit team from IBM Q, finance experts from Banco Santander, and the UK Quantum Computation and Simulation Hub (QCS), UCLQ has organised a two-day hackathon that will explore the finance applications for quantum computers.

Our Qiskit hackathon is open to everyone and free to join! We are looking for students and professionals from all fields to attend. However, prior knowledge in programming with Python is expected and participants will need to bring their own laptops for coding.

Over the course of two days you will work with quantum computers from IBM on a task devised by Banco Santander. You and 4 others will form a multidisciplinary team to hack, innovate and explore the problem for 24-hours, before presenting your results.

During the hackathon, expert coaches from IBM, UCLQ and Santander will be available to help you and give you tips and you will have access to quantum machines from IBM.

Our hackathons are not limited to the financial industry, we are always looking for other partners and industries to work with to create events.

If you are interested in attending or working with us to create our next hackathon, please get in touch.

More information or register your interest for our next hackathon.

This article was featured in UCLQ’s 2019/20 annual report.