Left to right, Nick Mayhall, Sophia Economou, and Ed Barnes, all researchers and faculty members in the Virginia Tech College of Science, discuss quantum computing algorithms.

Virginia Tech is partnering with IBM Q Network to accelerate joint research in quantum computing and develop curricula related to quantum systems. The mission is to help better prepare students for careers in the area of science and business influenced by the next era of computing.

Virginia Tech joined the IBM Q Network as a member of the IBM Q Hub at Oak Ridge National Lab. According to a press release from IBM, the university “will work in conjunction with the Department of Energy, and chemistry experts at the IBM Almaden Research Center on the development of new quantum algorithms specifically in the field of quantum chemistry.”

IBM Q is IBM’s collaboration program on quantum computing. The program seeks to collaborate with industry universities, startups and national labs.

“We're trying to advance research and quantum computing,” said Anthony Annunziata, IBM Q Network global lead. “We are trying to push technology forward and are determined to discover the first commercial applications of the technology, and we're trying to promote better education and training so that the students (and) the workforce will be ready for quantum computing as it evolves and matures.”

IBM Q is also collaborating with other universities in the country such as Duke University, Harvard University and the University of Notre Dame.

“We are really excited about the partnership with Virginia Tech and the other schools,” Annunziata said. “Partnering with academia and promoting good science and good teaching is a hallmark of the (IBM) Q network.”

The program will provide Virginia Tech with quantum expertise, resources, quantum software and developer tools. According to the press release, the IBM Q Network is the world’s first community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications.

The key piece of the partnership is the access to the IBM Q quantum computing systems. According to Annunziata, the IBM Q systems are the most advanced quantum systems and they will be available for students and faculty at Virginia Tech. Students and faculty will have access to these systems to run quantum outcomes.

VT News reported IBM will begin to host developer boot camps and hackathons to provide students with hands-on practices with IBM Q softwares and systems in summer 2019.

“The collaboration with IBM will allow us to advance our efforts in these directions by directly testing our ideas on IBM hardware,” said Sophia Economou, an associate professor from the department of physics in the College of Science, to VT News. “Interactions with IBM researchers and student internships will further accelerate Virginia Tech’s expansion into the burgeoning field of quantum computing.”

News Editor

News editor for the Collegiate Times

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