Schools for Quantum Information Development
info [at] squids.ch

About

Schools for Quantum Information Development

Squid is an association for knowledge transfer in quantum science and related fields, such as quantum information theory, quantum computing, experimental quantum technologies and quantum foundations.  Our main services are topical summer schools, conferences, workshops, and scientific consulting, offered worldwide. Squid is set up as a nonprofit association, whose membership is open to researchers in academia and industry.

Motivation

In recent years we have witnessed a boom in quantum technologies, with hardware breakthroughs, the development of comprehensive software tools, state and federal funding programs, and industry investment at unprecedented levels.

As research on quantum technologies keeps evolving at a fast pace, the gap between quantum physics taught in traditional university curricula and current research grows wider. This creates a natural demand in specialized educational events, like summer schools and workshops, which can offer a state-of-the-art overview of different aspects of the field, from the side of researchers working both in academia and industry.

Squid addresses this gap: we are an association of researchers to organise schools and workshops in fields such as quantum information, computation, cryptography and foundations.

These events are attractive to universities, as they complement their curricula, create opportunities for a large number of  students, and promote the university as a whole. They are also attractive to industry players, by fostering connections to universities and facilitating the promotion of internships and job openings among highly motivated students.

Past experience

In the past two years, the founders of Squid have organised summer schools on the topics of quantum foundations (Solstice of Foundations 2017) and quantum computation (QuID 2018), with over 120 participants each. The feedback received from the participants in both cases was overwhelmingly positive. These past experiences have equipped us with the tools and vision needed to efficiently design similar events.

 

Services

Squid organises events that foster knowledge transfer in quantum technologies and related fields, connecting research, students and industry.

Squid can handle both the logistical side of the organisation, including finding sponsors and managing finances, and academic aspects such as drawing the scientific programme of events and working with researchers to prepare the best lecturers. We are flexible and work closely together with universities and industry partners to prepare an event that best suits the local needs.

Schools

Each school organised by Squid has one umbrella topic, such as quantum computation, foundations or cryptography. The goal of the schools is to provide a service to the students via excellent lectures on the topic, beyond standard university curricula. The schools also present networking opportunities for students, researchers and industry participants.

Schools typically last for four to five days. The structure of each school includes introductory lectures on different aspects of the subject by invited scientists on the first two days of the school, and more specialised talks on the later days. For the purposes of appealing to a wider audience, schools may offer two parallel tracks, for beginners and advanced participants. Depending on the topic, the schools can include programming or problem-solving sessions.

Conferences and workshops

Squid can also help organise conferences and workshops hosted at universities and companies worldwide. Workshops are typically more specialised in scope, have up to 50 participants, and are comprised of invited talks and free discussion slots. Conferences are larger events with both invited and contributed talks, and a wider scope. Workshops and conferences can be combined with a school.

Facilitating internships and contact with the industry

Squid can facilitate internships, interviews and general networking between academics, students and industry. This can be organised as satellite events to schools, as regular office hours within a university, or however it suits the involved players.

 

People and structure

Legal form

Squid is set up as a non-profit association (Verein), based in Zurich under Swiss law. Membership is open to the quantum research community via regular open calls.

Squid’s ordinary members include the board of directors and associated lecturers. These have voting power in the running of the association. Extraordinary members are supporters without voting power, and include industry partners.

Directors

The founders of Squid, Lídia del Rio and Nuriya Nurgalieva, also serve as directors during the first two years of the association, after which the positions are open for voting in the General Assembly.

Lídia del Rio is a lecturer at ETH Zurich and co-founder of the Quantum journal. Her research encompasses quantum foundations, quantum thermodynamics and quantum information theory.

Nuriya Nurgalieva is a researcher on quantum foundations and PhD student at ETH Zurich.

Lídia was the main organiser of the Solstice of Foundations 2017 summer school on quantum foundations, and together with Nuriya organised QuID, a summer school on quantum computing, in September 2018.

Associated lecturers

These are full-time researchers in quantum science and related fields, who are regularly available to lecture at Squid summer schools and events. They are ordinary members of the association and have voting power in the general assembly.

Squid will run an open call for lecturers in Winter 2018/2019.

Guest lecturers

Guest lecturers are invited to speak at a specific Squid school, conference or workshop, and are not part of the association. Guest lecturers are invited by the ordinary members of  Squid.

Employees

Once Squid is financially stable, it reserves the right to hire employees to support the admin and logistics efforts of running the association.

 

Guiding principles

Financial independence. Squid is a non-profit association. No single for-profit company may provide more than 30% of the income received by Squid in any year.

Transparency. Squid practices open governance and open accounting. The constitution, minutae from meetings and cash flows are made publicly available through our website.

Open access to content. Lectures shall be recorded and the videos, as well as slides and other lecture materials, made freely available online.

Student support. We strive to provide support for students to attend Squid events, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds. We will offer opportunities for local students to volunteer at our events in exchange for waiving registration fees.

Promotion of early-career researchers. We strive to have a mix of senior and junior researchers lecture at Squid schools, workshops and other events. The criteria to be selected as a lecturer are quality of research, clarity of presentation, reliability and ethical integrity. Seniority is not a criterion; excellent PhD students will be invited to lecture.

Industry partnerships. Collaborations between industry and academia are of paramount importance to the development of the fields of quantum computation and quantum technologies. Squid will work to establish and facilitate collaborations between our industry partners and universities.

Attention to environmental impact. Squid acknowledges that any event with international participants has an inherent ecological footprint. We strive to avoid further impact on local communities, animals and the environment beyond what is necessary to run Squid events. In particular, any meals served at our events will be plant-based and, to the extent possible, locally sourced.