(DiverseEducation) In partnership with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), IBM recently launched a quantum computing research initiative to raise awareness of the field and diversify the workforce.
The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center, a multi-year investment, will fund undergraduate and graduate research, provide access to IBM quantum computers through the Cloud and offer student support.
Quantum computing is considered a “fairly young field” and quantum computers were not readily available in research labs until 2016. IBM was the first company to put a quantum computer on the Cloud, which allows it to be accessible from anywhere, according to Dr. Abraham Asfaw, global lead of Quantum Education and Open Science at IBM Quantum.
The 13 HBCUs that will be part of the initiative include Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Coppin State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Southern University, Texas Southern University, University of the Virgin Islands, Virginia Union University and Xavier University of Louisiana.
Each of the schools was chosen based on how much the school focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Diversifying the quantum computing workforce can also be looked at in two ways. One is “getting different groups of people into the field” and the other is “bringing different perspectives into the field from the direction of the other sciences that could benefit from quantum computing,” according to Asfaw.