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Five Things to Know About the New National Quantum Centers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced five National Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers, of which IBM is a research partner with three. Here are five things to know about this announcement and why this is a big deal for building a Quantum Industry.

What’s the news?
The DOE is establishing five QIS Centers, under the 2018 National Quantum Initiative Act. The law authorizes up to $625 million in funding over five years to help promote research into quantum computing, which promises to be one of the most significant technologies of our era.

Why is this important?
Quantum computers have the potential to help tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges that are beyond classical computing power. The IBM Q Network already works with 115 clients around the world—including government labs—on these use cases. But reaching Quantum Advantage—the point where quantum machines outperform classical computers in certain cases—requires addressing research challenges at an accelerated pace only possible through a national private-public sector collaboration.

Why is the DOE launching these new quantum centers now?
There are still many technological obstacles to realizing quantum computing’s full potential. Overcoming them will require more resources than a single team at a single institution has available. The QIS Centers will unite the best minds from academia, industry, and government to work together on specific quantum-related challenges to reach Quantum Advantage.

How is IBM involved with the National Quantum Information Science Research Centers?
IBM played an integral role in the development and passage of the National Quantum Initiative Act in 2018, which called for the establishment of these centers.

As part of today’s announcement, IBM has been selected as an industry partner at three of the QIS Centers:

  • Q-Next at Argonne National Lab,
  • The Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage (C2QA) at Brookhaven National Lab, and
  • The Quantum Science Center (QSC) at Oak Ridge National Lab.

What are each labs’ goals, and what will IBM contribute?
Q-NEXT aims to establish efficient quantum networks for information processing with scalable hardware. IBM will work to develop crucial building blocks to accomplish that mission: technologies for quantum interconnects to link individual processors and potentially allow quantum computers to scale to billions of qubits.

C2QA, aims to deliver 10x improvement in software optimization, materials and device properties, and quantum error correction to provide a 1000x improvement in computation. IBM will provide quantum computing tools for prototyping, integration, testing, and benchmarking of quantum error correction codes.

QSC aims to harness and control quantum coherence for new applications of QIS for sensing and scientific discovery. IBM will work to design new quantum algorithms and advanced error mitigation techniques bridging the gap between near-term and fault-tolerant quantum computers, and apply them to the study of novel materials.


For more information:

IBM Research blog: Charting the Course for the Future of Quantum Computing
Nextgov: Why Five New National Quantum Information Science Centers Are a Huge Deal 
Nextgov: U.S. to spend $625 million in five quantum information research hubs
Protocol: The White House wants to win the race to quantum supremacy