IBM has announced that its commercial quantum computing program, IBM Q Network, is expanding to more universities in Africa including three Nigerian universities.
The IBM Q Network is designed to develop curricula for students and forge research partnerships with academia. The network includes a community of Fortune 500 companies, startups, academic institutions and research labs working with IBM to advance quantum computing and explore practical applications for business and science.
Quantum computers are incredibly powerful machines that take a new approach to processing information.
With its expansion to Africa, Witwatersrand (Wits University) in South Africa will be IBM’s first academic partner on the continent. And this expansion will help to drive innovation in frontier-technologies across Africa. IBM believes Q in Africa could yield research and development advances in the fields of cosmology and molecular biology with a specific focus on HIV/Tuberculosis drug discoveries.
In addition to technological advancements, this partnership will see African-based researchers, academics and students have access to quantum computing applications. This will help pave way for more academic collaboration across Africa and to 15 other universities across 9 countries, including the University of Lagos; University of Ibadan; and Obafemi Awolowo University lle-Ife, which are part of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).
The reasearch collaboration network will also include 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
These universities will have the opportunity to apply for access to IBM Q’s most advanced quantum computing systems and software for teaching quantum information science and exploring early applications. To gain access to the quantum cloud service, scholars must submit quality research proposals to a scientific committee of Wits and IBM experts for approval.
To promote skills development, IBM Q will also be hosting an invitation-only Qiskit Camp in South Africa in December for 200 quantum researchers and computer scientists. Qiskit is a full-stack, open-source quantum software development kit, to create and run quantum computing programs.
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