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UChicago, IBM and top universities in Japan and Korea will partner to advance quantum education

A student holds experimental quantum technology in the laboratory of Prof. David Awschalom at the University of Chicago. @ Jean Lachat

IBM announced Dec. 14 that the company intends to engage with the University of Chicago, Keio University, the University of Tokyo, Yonsei University, and Seoul National University to work together to support quantum education activities in Japan, Korea, and the United States.

IBM intends to deliver educational offerings in combination with contributions from each of the participating universities to advance the training of up to 40,000 students over the next 10 years to prepare them for the quantum workforce and promote the growth of a global quantum ecosystems.

Quantum computing offers a different approach to computation which may solve problems that are intractable today. A skilled quantum workforce is critical to growing the quantum industry that will lead to economic development through leveraging quantum computing technology. Currently, people trained and skilled in quantum computing are in high demand as more higher-education and research institutions, national labs, and industries adopt quantum computing. To address the increasing demands of a growing quantum workforce, this new partnership aims to educate new and future generations of quantum computing users.

This international initiative may include materials for educators from broad disciplines of science and technology such as physics, computer science, engineering, math, life sciences and chemistry. To prepare for today’s era of quantum utility, and the coming era of quantum-centric supercomputing, the universities and IBM are focused on preparing a workforce capable of using the latest quantum computing technologies for scientific discovery and explore industry applications that create new value in specific domains.

IBM intends to participate with the universities to develop a robust quantum curriculum to teach the next generation of computational scientists, who will be able to use quantum computers as a scientific tool. All parties involved will have the resources to engage in educator training, course material development, and community-driven educational events, including mentorships, joint summer programs, exchange programs and distinguished lecture programs.

“The University of Chicago was an early pioneer of the field of quantum engineering, and was the first university in the U.S. to award graduate degrees in this emerging area of technology,” said Paul Alivisatos, President of the University of Chicago. “With other partners in the Chicago region, UChicago has strived to develop a vibrant ecosystem for quantum technologies that is attracting companies and investments from around the world. These developments have underscored the need for a talented workforce. The University of Chicago is excited and proud to work with our partners at IBM, and to build on its long-standing ties to Keio University, Yonsei University, Seoul National University, and The University of Tokyo, to deliver world-class educational programs that will prepare thousands of students for jobs and opportunities in quantum information sciences.”

“With the recent demonstrations that quantum computers at a scale of more than 100 qubits are capable of being used as scientific tools to deliver insights reaching beyond leading classical approaches, we have an even greater need to educate today’s students to join the growing quantum workforce,” said IBM Senior Vice President and Director of Research Darío Gil. “This effort intends to provide Keio University, the University of Tokyo, Yonsei University, Seoul National University, and the University of Chicago with IBM’s latest and most advanced quantum education materials is a crucial step toward exploring useful quantum applications.”

The new partnerships build upon the University of Chicago’s and the Chicago area’s strengths in quantum science and engineering. A leading global hub for research in quantum technology, Chicago is also home to one of the largest quantum networks in the country. This May, UChicago joined two global partnerships to advance quantum computing: a $100 million plan with IBM and the University of Tokyo to help develop a quantum-centric supercomputer; and a $50 million partnership with Google and the University of Tokyo to support quantum research and workforce development.

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