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Canada’s first IBM Quantum System One goes to Quebec’s PINQ²

By Dan O'Shea posted 22 Sep 2023

The Canadian province of Quebec thus far has been one of the regional hotbeds of quantum computing research and innovation. Prepare for the heat to increase with this week’s news that the Platform for Digital and Quantum Innovation of Quebec (PINQ²) is getting an IBM Quantum System One quantum computer to operate at the region’s IBM Bromont plant.

That will make PINQ², a non-profit organization founded by the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy of Quebec (MEIE – ministère de l’Économie, de l’Innovation et de l’Énergie du Québec) and the Université de Sherbrooke, the first administrator to inaugurate and operate an IBM Quantum System One in all of Canada. Gaining access to the system is expected to be a boon for the ecosystem of DistriQ, the quantum innovation zone for Quebec, as well as for the Technum Québec innovation zone, the new “Energy Transition Valley” innovation zone, and other strategic sectors for Quebec, according to IBM.

Deployment of the system also positions Quebec as the only other place in the world, outside the United States, to be engaged in an IBM Discovery Accelerator associated with its own high-performance computing infrastructure and a  quantum computer entirely dedicated to research and industrial innovation.

“At PINQ², our passion for digital and quantum innovation is our driving force,” said Éric Capelle, General Manager of PINQ². “The inauguration of an IBM Quantum System One quantum computer marks a historic turning point for Quebec and Canada. We are proud to play a key role in this technological revolution. In addition to this news, PINQ² is accelerating its services for businesses.  We are working with a network of Canadian academic partners such as IVADO, Université de Sherbrooke, University of Saskatchewan, Quantum Algorithms Institute and Concordia University to collaborate with this industry and train quantum talent.”

“DistriQ is orchestrating Quebec’s rise as a global epicenter for quantum technologies, from academic innovation to market-ready solutions. PINQ²’s inauguration of an IBM Quantum System One into the Zone, is an important first phase for DistriQ in our objective of creating a leading commercial quantum research infrastructure. Our strategy is to empower innovation success and draw leading global quantum companies to establish offices in Quebec, and also to deliver transformative technology solutions to top-tier industries worldwide,” said Richard St Pierre, CEO, Quantum Innovation Zone. “Our objective at DistriQ is to assemble the world’s foremost commercial quantum research infrastructure. PINQ2’s quantum hybrid HPC platform is a powerful and unique asset for companies in the Zone to accelerate their success – we greatly value this partnership.”

 As St. Pierre alluded to, the existence of the high-performance computing center (HPC) at the Humano District in Sherbrooke also will translate to enabling PINQ² to offer a hybrid classical-quantum computing approach. PINQ² and IBM will lead a quantum working group on efforts to explore quantum computing to develop solutions to sustainability challenges. This working group will be supported by the valuable contributions of founding members Hydro-Québec and the Université de Sherbrooke through its Institut Quantique, IBM stated.

 “For the energy sector, the ongoing energy and digital transitions impose the need for increasingly efficient calculations in terms of R&D and application development, a need that will grow significantly in the coming years. At our research center, we are already working hard to tackle the challenges of the energy transition. We believe that quantum resources like PINQ²’s offer promising prospects and rich opportunities for value creation in terms of energy and technological solutions for Hydro-Québec. We will most certainly be exploring and harnessing the potential of these technologies as they evolve,” said Christian Bélanger, Senior Director, Research & Innovation, Hydro-Québec.

This announcement comes after news this summer that IBM was collaborating with PINQ² as part of a $200 million, seven-year investment by the Quebec government. Another new quantum computer from Anyon also is in the process of being built in Dorval, near Montreal.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

Categories: quantum computing

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