The New School News

The Art and Design of Quantum Computing

“When students are presented with the opportunity to experiment with frontier technologies and create something truly innovative, they become trailblazers, expanding the boundaries of what’s possible and blurring the lines between technology, science, and creativity. The New School’s quantum program gives us the perfect opportunity for this—the challenge of exploring quantum computing applications, quantum art, and what our students can make with this new medium,” says Maya Georgieva, senior director of The New School’s Innovation Center. Some of the student work created through the program will be on display at one of the first Quantum Art exhibits, Creative Expressions of the Infamously Counter Intuitive, launched in collaboration with IBM Quantum. The exhibition showcases 11 groundbreaking projects created by Parsons School of Design students in The New School’s Quantum Computing initiative, as well as pieces by Russell Huffman, Qiskit Design Lead at IBM and a pioneer in quantum art. The exhibition is being held at the Microscope Gallery, 525 West 29th Street, 2nd floor, March 22–30, 2023. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00– 6:00 p.m.

“The Quantum Art Exhibition is a provocation, challenging our students to discover new affordances and push the boundaries of what’s possible with this exciting new medium,” says Georgieva.  “We encourage our students to think critically and creatively, to ask daring questions and explore the unknown. The result is a showcase of works that are not only visually stunning but also thought-provoking and intellectually engaging and the first of its kind.” 

Even in its early development, the Quantum Design initiative has achieved significant accolades, including from the prestigious Wharton-QS 2022 Reimagine Education Awards. This annual global competition that identifies world leaders in education technology honored The New School’s project Harnessing Quantum Computing for the Future of Arts & Humanities with the Gold prize in the Developing Emerging Skills and Competencies category. “The winning of the high-profile international competition is a significant recognition of our leadership in leveraging emerging technology to elevate education standards and prepare students for the complex future,” says Lin Zhou, senior vice president and chief information officer at The New School. “Quantum computing is disrupting how we live, work, and collaborate. Leveraging our university’s long-standing strength in design and social justice, the quantum initiative at The New School gives the technology good social DNA at the starting line.”

The New School’s quantum initiative was established in fall 2020, in partnership with IBM Quantum, starting with a quantum computing course co-taught by Zhou and Sven Travis, associate professor of media and design at Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT). Since the creation of that course, the program has expanded to include the Quantum Design Jam and now the new exhibition. 

As the next emerging and breakthrough technology, quantum computing has the potential to solve problems that classic computing cannot solve. While quantum computing seems like a subject that would be offered at schools emphasizing engineering and computer science, The New School’s program shows how it can be applied in broader ways and why it’s important for creatives to be able to provide input at early stage development to consider how it can change and make an impact on the world. “This is a science that exists in labs for a very small, privileged group of scientists. It’s something that is very abstract for a lot of people, and we have a unique opportunity to make the field more accessible and inclusive,” says Georgieva. 

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