Q-CTRL offering quantum knowledge at Black Friday prices

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The Black Opal platform lets anyone 16 years old or older gain hands-on experience with a variety of quantum computing concepts.(Getty Images)

On Black Friday this year, don’t forget to buy the tech lover in your life the latest tablet, a 5G smartphone, wireless earbuds and a 4K TV--and maybe the Black Opal quantum computing training program as a stocking stuffer.

Wait, what? 

Yes, quantum computing has leveled up in the pop culture hierarchy to the point that Q-CTRL, a quantum control engineering firm based in Australia, is promoting a Black Friday sale for its newly-released Black Opal interactive online learning platform. The platform allows anyone 16 years old and up to learn basic quantum computing skills.

The company said a one-year subscription to Black Opal, currently valued at $180, will be discounted by 70% to $50 from Nov. 19-29 (like all good Black Friday deals, this one starts early.) The special deal also includes four extra months worth of beta access, for a total of 16 months access for $50.

Q-CTRL described Black Opal as “the perfect gift for technology professionals, STEM-obsessed teenagers, science fans, and self-learners who like staying a step ahead. This unique gift combines the enjoyment of learning with useful, real-world skills for beginners to advanced learners.”

Black Opal arrives at a time when the quantum computing sector, like many industries, is facing shortages of skilled workers. For firms in quantum, this situation also comes at a time when many of them, flush with new funding, are trying like crazy to add staff as quickly as possible.

Michael J. Biercuk, CEO and founder of Q-CTRL, told Fierce Electronics by email that the company sees an opportunity to educate more students and quantum-adjacent professionals about a field that thus far has been dominated by Ph.Ds, but needs workers of all levels of education and skill.

“Black Opal is our signature edtech tool for quantum computing,” he said. “With our public launch coming up early next year, we saw an opportunity to supplement our traditional go-to-market approach that involves in-person events by introducing a digital-first promotion with our first ever Black Friday sale. Kevin Chee, our Head of Product, was the brains behind the idea.”

He said the company conducted a private beta program that drew users ranging from high school students to engineers, and the hope is that they can get the foundation-level understanding to help them pursue other education opportunities or even get them into a position of pursuing jobs in the field.

“We have a dual mission to help newcomers enter the field, and to make every C-Suite executive quantum conversant. Black Opal removes all barriers to understanding how quantum computing can change the world and gives a competitive edge to individuals and organizations.”