In Partnership with IBM, Canada to Get Its First Universal

IBM today announced it will deploy its first quantum computer in Canada, putting Canada on a short list of countries that will have access to an IBM Quantum System One machine. The Canadian province of Quebec is partnering with IBM to establish the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator to advance R&D within the fields of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, semiconductors and high-performance computing.

The collaboration will lay the foundation for novel energy materials and life science discoveries, according to the partners. The new technology hub is also focused on STEM education and skills development with an emphasis on supporting genomics and drug discovery. 

The IBM Quantum System One is expected to be up and running at IBM’s facility in Bromont, Quebec, by early next year, said Anthony Annunziata, IBM’s director of accelerated discovery, in an interview with Reuters. IBM said the partnership will leverage the company’s knowledge of semiconductor design and packaging.  

“The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator is further proof of our commitment to building open communities of innovation to tackle the big problems of our time through a combination of quantum computing, AI and high-performance computing, all integrated through the hybrid cloud,” said Dr. Darío Gil, senior vice president and director of Research, IBM.

“The dedicated IBM quantum computer will pave the way for us to make incredible progress in areas such as artificial intelligence and modeling,” said François Legault, Premier of Quebec. “Quantum science is the future of computing. With our innovation zone, we’re positioning ourselves at the forefront of this future.” 

IBM has in the last twelve months announced similar partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council Hartree Centre. The Canadian Quantum One system marks the fifth global installation that IBM has announced, following engagements in the U.S., Germany, Japan and South Korea.

Canada has made quantum computing a high-priority research target, seeking to hone its technical and strategic edge in the global marketplace. A year ago, the government of Canada extended a $40-million contribution to quantum computing firm D-Wave Systems Inc. as part of a larger $120 million investment in quantum computing technologies. (Based in British Columbia, D-Wave has long championed quantum annealing-based quantum computing, but recently announced it was expanding into gate-based quantum computing.)

While IBM has primarily provided its quantum computing platform as a service, the company launched the IBM Quantum System One in 2019 as an on-premises offering, billed as “the world’s first fully integrated universal quantum computing system.”


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