(IBM.quantum.blog) The aim of IBM’s country-wide quantum initiative in Japan is three-fold: to get universities across Japan to take part in accelerating quantum computing research and education; to engage industry and advance practical research in applications; and to develop and commercialize quantum computing system hardware components for building future quantum machines. The deal will help to grow a community that underpins strategically significant research and development activities to foster economic opportunities across Japan.
IBM already has a head-start in Japan with a hub at Keio University in Tokyo launched in 2017, which is collaborating with four industry partners in the country: MUFG Bank, Mizuho Financial Group, JSR Corporation and Mitsubishi Chemical Company. Together with Keio, these industry partners have pursued and published groundbreaking work on applying quantum computing to understand the complex processes in Lithitum ion batteries, discover new materials for making semiconductor chips, improve the accuracy of risk analysis in finance, and improve the efficacy of machine learning for a broad set of use cases across industries.
The new deal will bring the hub into the broader Japan-IBM Quantum Partnership framework as more companies join, spanning finance, chemistry and materials, pharma, automotive manufacturing and logistics. The idea is to prepare the market, to enable industry partners in Japan to take advantage of the benefits of quantum computing as the technology matures.
But that’s only one component of the deal. Another one is to set up a technology center at the University of Tokyo to develop quantum computing system hardware for next-generation quantum computers, with a lab to test advanced components and equipment in cryogenic conditions – cooling it to temperatures lower than in outer space.
Finally, the third aspect of the collaboration is to advance quantum computing research and to get more young people interested in pursuing a career in the field. Universities across Japan will have access to the IBM Q System One machine – a unique resource that should help foster a broader future workforce.