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Quebec to Get Canada’s First-Ever IBM Quantum Computer

Over the past few years, the world has seen a series of revolutions take place in computing. The fields of AI, cloud, and quantum computing are pushing industries and society at large forward in ways unimaginable just a few decades ago. When able to leverage some of these technologies, or all three together, the potential for discovering new materials, finding novel drugs, or tackling some of the world’s toughest problems increases dramatically.

Scientists from across the globe came together to synthesize and develop vaccines for COVID-19 in a matter of months. That’s a step-change from the 10 to 15 years it typically takes for vaccine and drug discovery, thanks in part to capabilities of modern computing.

IBM and Quebec Government announce Quantum Partnership

That is why IBM and Government of Quebec Launch Groundbreaking Partnership to Accelerate Discovery with First IBM Quantum System in Canada. IBM refers to this as “accelerated discovery”, and it’s now a core thesis for much of the work they will be undertaking at IBM Research. 

We’re at a moment in time where computing is poised to reshape just about every industry, field of study — and even society itself. – IBM Research

Built on a foundation with the University of Sherbrooke, using IBM’s first quantum hub in Canada, it spurred an ongoing partnership with AI research institute Montreal based Mila. The goal being to use open-source AI capabilities and demystify the “black box” nature of machine learning models.

The Canadian province and IBM’s new partnership will establish Quebec as a leading technology hub in the development of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, semiconductors and high-performance computing through the launch of their Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator.

IBM Discovery Accelerator Quick Notes

“We are proud to be working with the Government of Quebec, as well as private sector and academic partners, to take innovation in Quebec to the next level.”, said Dr. Darío Gil, SVP and Director of Research, IBM.

  • The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator seeks to advance discovery and solutions in energy, life sciences and sustainability using quantum computing, AI and high-performance computing
  • IBM plans to deploy its first quantum system in Canada empowering Quebec’s Quantum Innovation Zone
  • Discovery Accelerator builds on existing semiconductor innovation ecosystem as a further step to enhance Quebec’s thriving high-tech economy

“Quebec’s potential to innovate in high technology and be a leader in the economy of the future is immense. We have world-class universities, creative entrepreneurs and talented workers. The dedicated IBM quantum computer will pave the way for us to make incredible progress in areas such as artificial intelligence and modeling. Quantum science is the future of computing. With our innovation zone, we’re positioning ourselves at the forefront of this future.”

François Legault, Premier of Quebec
IBM announces its first IBM Quantum System in Canada! We’re excited to partner with the Government of Quebec to accelerate innovation and research in areas such as energy, life sciences and sustainability.

Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator Working with partners in private sector

Working with partners in the scientific research and private sectors, the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator plans to make advances using computational technologies such as:

  • Quantum computing: Leveraging an IBM Quantum System One to be deployed at IBM’s Bromont facility for the use of partners to facilitate the mission of the Government of Quebec’s Innovation Zones, the Discovery Accelerator will explore complex problems including the modeling of new materials and how quantum computing can be used as part of broader sustainability efforts. 
  • AI: IBM-Quebec Discovery Accelerator teams will use a range of artificial intelligence models to explore use cases such as the discovery of new drugs.
  • High performance computing: The Discovery Accelerator will leverage a major base of high-performance computing in order to integrate classical and quantum technology to explore various scientific challenges.

“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.”

Dr. Darío Gil, SVP and Director of Research, IBM

In addition to its quantum system in Quebec, IBM aims to advance technology education and skills development, as well as providing use of cutting edge software technologies such as the Generative Modeling Toolkit for Science and RoboRXN. These technologies serve as part of IBM’s growing Accelerated Discovery portfolio designed to speed up research and expedite development in the life sciences including genomics and drug design. 

IBM and the Quebec aiming to create a community built upon open scientific research in Bromont, Quebec.

The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator is the fourth such Accelerator to be announced in the last 12 months, following similar announcements with Cleveland Clinicthe University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council Hartree Centre.

If you are a Canadian business or university interested in collaborating with IBM in Quebec the research group encourages interested parties to contact them.


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