- IBM Expands Quantum Computing Programme to 16 Varsities
IBM has announced the expansion of its quantum computing efforts to Africa in a new collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) in South Africa.
As part of the partnership, a statement from the company said, IBM would collaborate with 16 universities across the continent to train students and professors on the functionalities of the new computing paradigm, equipping future generations with the necessary skills for next era of technology.
According to the statement, three Nigerian universities – University of Lagos, University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University lle-Ife – are some of the universities in Africa, selected for an opportunity to access IBM’s quantum computing and software for teaching.
Others are Addis Ababa University; University of Ghana; University of Nairobi; University of Rwanda; University Cheikh Anta Diop; University of Cape Town; University of Kwa-Zulu Natal; University of Pretoria; Rhodes University; University of Stellenbosch; University of the Witwatersrand; University of Dar es Salaam and Makerere University.
To gain access to the IBM Q quantum cloud service, the statement said African Research Universities Alliance scholars would be required to submit quality research proposals to a scientific committee of Wits and IBM experts for approval.
It said the Wits University was the first African partner on the IBM Q Network and would be the gateway for academics across South Africa and to the 16 universities, who are part of the African Research Universities Alliance.
“This is the latest outcome of the joint partnership between IBM Research and Wits, which started in 2016 when IBM opened its second lab in Africa in Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg. To expand the IBM Q Network to include Wits will drive innovation in frontier-technologies and benefit African-based researchers, academics and students who now have access to decades of quantum computing capabilities at the click of a button,” Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs,Prof Zeblon Vilakazi said.
IBM described quantum computing as a technology that was capable of solving problems such as chemical simulations and types of optimisation – that were beyond the practical reach of classical machines.
It said the company first made quantum computers available to the public in May 2016, through its IBM Q Experience quantum cloud service and had doubled the power of its quantum computers annually since 2017.
IBM said it established the IBM Q Network™, a community of Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.
Researchers at Wits, according to the statement, will investigate the use of quantum computing and machine learning in the fields of cosmology and molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV drug discovery.