Apply quantum technology to solve real life challenges

Until quite recently, quantum computers were only accessible to selected people at research facilities. Today, anyone can access IBM’s quantum systems and run experiments on them.
Through the IBM Quantum Challenge, you will have three weeks of learning challenges aimed to help beginners get started and novices to recap on the basics and key concepts of quantum computation and algorithms, which will help prepare contestants to tackle the final challenge.
This will be an excellent opportunity for all people who are interested in programming a quantum computer and apply its capability to solve a real-life problem.
Let’s get started!

The Final Challenge

A convenience store ('konbini') is not merely a place where customers come to buy practical necessities in Japan. From paying utility bills to discovering enjoyable innovative sweets, it has become an essential part of people's daily lives as well as a place for people to find something that sparks joy.
In this challenge, you are asked to create a plan to establish konbinis across the city of Tokyo. While you are encouraged to come up with your original plan, there are a few rules you need to adhere to...which will be revealed in our final challenge week.
The challenge consists of four stages:
First Stage

In the first stage, contestants will perform simple calculations using the basic elements of quantum circuits. This first stage will also serve as an introduction for users who are new to quantum programming.
Link to the first challenge will go live on September 16, 2019

Second and Third Stage

In the second and third stages contestants will learn and implement a specific quantum algorithm that is known for a wide range of applications.
Link to the second challenge will go live on September 23, 2019
Link to the third challenge will go live on September 30, 2019

Fourth Stage (The Final Challenge)

In the final stage, a challenge which models a real world problem will be presented. Contestants are required to build a program by incorporating the algorithms they learned in the second and third stage.
Link to the final challenge will go live on October 7, 2019



  • Cash Prize: $1,500 USD
  • Invitation to Qiskit Camp Asia from Nov 18-21, 2019
    Link Here


  • Cash Prize: $1,000 USD
  • Invitation to Qiskit Camp Asia from Nov 18-21, 2019
    Link Here


  • Cash Prize: $500 USD
  • Invitation to Qiskit Camp Asia from Nov 18-21, 2019
    Link Here

All Contestants who have completed the learning challenges (from week one to week 3) will also receive a commemorative IBMQ swag.


Qiskit: Contestants will use Qiskit, a Python based opensource software development kit for running their code on IBM’s quantum hardware.


Participants will submit the following for the final challenge:

1. Source code (Python file)
2. Execution result. (Text file)

Judge program will check:

1. If the correct answers are included
2. Total gate count (cost).

    • CNOT: 10 pts / Single Qubit Gates: 1pts
    • The smaller the cost the better.

During the final challenge week, the Leader Board will show:

1. Standings of contestants based on score
2. Score Update: Once a day (noon JST)

Note: Detailed steps for submission will be provided before the final challenge week.


Coding may begin on September 16th | Coding must stop on October 14th

Webinar schedule coming soon!

Judging Criteria

  • The judges will check if your submission contains the correct answer and then will count the quantum gate score.
  • The gate score will be the basis for each contestant’s total score.
  • In case of a tie, the judges will take other factors, such as completion rate of learning challenges and submission order, into account for final judgement.


Dr. Takahiko Satoh

Keio University Quantum Computing Center

Shin Nishio

Keio University Quantum Computing Center

Atsushi Matsuo

IBM Research - Tokyo


  • Submissions must use Qiskit to write and execute code against ibmq_qasm_simulator.
  • Use of sponsor or affiliate APIs and open source libraries is also encouraged.
  • Teams of up to five (5) participants, each at least 18 years old, are allowed.
  • A participant may not be part of multiple teams.
  • All team members must have accepted the 2019 Participation Agreement (editor’s note: sample image from ‘call for code’) at the time they submit to be eligible.
  • Applications must be new and built for the 2019 competition, but they may use code that was open sourced and publicly available to all other participants as of September, 2019.
  • Winning teams will be subject to a code review after submissions close.


Who can participate?

Individuals who are 18+

How are Teams Formed?

Teams can be created in advance using the IBM Q Virtual Hackathon Hackathon.io site and will be comprised of one to five individuals. 

How will my project be judged?

We utilize www.hackathon.io as a hackathon event facilitation platform.

What is the Fresh Code Rule?

All code developed as part of the IBM Q Virtual Hackathon must be fresh. Before the start of the IBM Q Virtual Hackathon, developers can create wireframes, designs and user flows. They can also come with hardware. But to keep things fair, all code must be written onsite at the IBM Q Virtual Hackathon. Other than that, almost anything goes and you can use any coding languages or open-source libraries.

Sponsored by:

Co-organized by:

Keio University Quantum

Computing Center


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