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IBM working with Quebec gov't to deploy quantum system in Canada

The effort in Quebec will be IBM's fifth announced global system and will focus on quantum computing, AI, and cloud projects
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Written by Jonathan Greig, Staff Writer on

IBM announced on Thursday that it is planning to open the first IBM Quantum System in Canada as part of a larger partnership with the Quebec government. 

IBM will be working with the government on a variety of initiatives that include quantum computing, AI, cloud, and research projects. The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator will help researchers with the government and the Universite de Sherbrooke work on projects in areas like semiconductors, energy, sustainability and life sciences. 

François Legault, Premier of Quebec, said acquiring an IBM quantum computer will pave the way for them "to make incredible progress in areas such as artificial intelligence and modeling."

"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," Legault said. "Quantum science is the future of computing. With our innovation zone, we're positioning ourselves at the forefront of this future."

IBM's research facility in Bromont, Quebec will focus efforts on silicon photonics for semiconductor packaging and more, according to IBM. The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator will also work with the government's Quantum Innovation Zone in Sherbrooke and Microelectronics Innovation Zone in Bromont. 

The project in Quebec will be IBM's fifth announced global system. They debuted a system at Fraunhofer Geselleschaft and another at the University of Tokyo; other systems are planned for Cleveland Clinic and Yonsei University in South Korea. IBM also has Accelerators at the the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council Hartree Centre.

Anthony Annunziata, IBM's director of Accelerated Discovery Incubation, told ZDNet that the company wants to build out the ecosystem for both Accelerated Discovery and quantum computing worldwide. He called the research facility at the Universite de Sherbrooke "world class" and said the Accelerator would build on the foundation of their work. 

"We expect to see projects in new materials discovery, particularly for sustainable applications -- new batteries, carbon capture, and the like. We also plan to have a strong focus on health, in particular accelerating discoveries that can lead to new understanding of diseases and new therapeutics," Annunziata explained. 

"We're focused on building out the Discovery Accelerator in Quebec and the others we recently announced, into a global partner community working together to apply emerging technologies to hard problems with a strong scientific basis. At IBM we are promoting the concept of communities of discovery -- bringing our tech and expertise to bring together different groups who want to tackle big problems." 

Dr. Darío Gil, senior vice president and Director of Research for IBM, added that the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator is part of a larger effort to build open communities of innovation to tackle big problems through a combination of quantum computing, AI, and high-performance computing. 

"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," Gil said.

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