IBM gets grant to help promote quantum computing research

The "major multi-year research grant" is intended to help in the assembly of the building blocks for a universal quantum computer, company says.

The US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) program has announced this week that it has awarded IBM a grant to go towards the company's efforts to build the world's first universal, quantum computer.

In April IBM announced a major breakthrough in quantum computing with the development of a machine that could detect any two types of quantum errors and at the same time could build a lattice structure.

The award is funded under the Logical Qubits (LogiQ) program of IARPA which is led by Dr David Moehring.


Quantum Computing: The first issue is trying to understand it and the second is how to use it. Neither are straightforward.

Graphic: IBM

According to IARPA, the LogiQ Program is looking at ways to get past the limitations of current quantum systems by building a logical quantum bit (qubit) from a number of physical qubits.

Under the LogiQ program, IBM's own research team will try to find a way to build a universal quantum computer by using superconducting qubits."By encoding the superconducting qubits into a logical qubit, one should then be able to perform true quantum computation," IBM said in a statement. "These logical qubit designs will be foundational to future, more complex quantum computing systems."

According to IBM, major issues involved in this research include the difficult of trying to create qubits of a suitable high quality and finding ways to package them correctly in a scalable form so they can perform complex calculations in a controllable way while limiting the errors that can result from heat and electromagnetic radiation.

"Quantum computing promises to deliver exponentially more speed and power not achievable by today's most powerful computers with the potential to impact business needs on a global scale," said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director of IBM Research. "Investments and collaboration by government, industry and academia such as this IARPA program are necessary to help overcome some of the challenges towards building a universal quantum computer."

Further Reading:

IBM claims another step toward quantum computing

Intel invests $50 million in quantum computing effort

Artificial intelligence in business: The state of play and future prospects