IBM and Quebec government launch first quantum system in Canada

The government of Quebec and IBM have announced plans to deploy the first quantum system in Canada to further establish the city as a leading technology hub.
4 February 2022
  • The government of Quebec and IBM have announced plans to deploy the first quantum system in Canada
  • The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator will be a hub focusing on developing new projects, collaborations, and skills initiatives in crucial research areas like energy, life sciences, and sustainability
  • Apart from Quebec, the city of Ontario is also looking into the adoption of quantum technologies

With 2022 expected to be the big year for quantum computing, more governments around the world are hoping to develop quantum ecosystems or have some involvement in the emerging tech. Countries like China, Finland, and the US have already embarked on working on a quantum system for real-world use cases.

While several tech companies are working heavily in the development of quantum computing, IBM has been making headlines in the field. In fact, IBM is hoping 2022 to be the year quantum computing will see more adoption by both governments and organizations.

One such initiative is the government of Quebec partnering with IBM, having announced plans to deploy the first quantum system in Canada. The quantum system is expected to further establish Quebec as a leading technology hub in the development of quantum computing, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and high-performance computing.

As a quantum system, the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator will aim to focus on developing new projects, collaborations, and skills-building initiatives in crucial areas of research such as energy, life sciences, and sustainability. The hub will work in alignment with the goals of the government of Quebec’s Innovation Zones in Sherbrooke and Microelectronics Innovation Zone in Bromont, promoting the use of advanced technology across the province.

The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator will work with partners in both scientific research and private sectors as it plans to make advances using computational technologies such as:

  • Quantum computing – Leveraging an IBM Quantum System One to be deployed at IBM’s Bromontfacility for the use of the Government of Quebec and its partners, to facilitate the mission of the Government of Quebec’s Innovation Zones the Discovery Accelerator will explore complex problems including the modeling of new materials and how quantum computing can be used as part of broader sustainability efforts.
  • AI – Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator teams will use a range of artificial intelligence models to explore use cases such as the discovery of new drugs.
  • High-performance computing (HPC) – The Discovery Accelerator will leverage a major base of HPC in order to integrate classical and quantum technology to explore various scientific challenges.

The confluence of these technologies through the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator in Quebec represents a further step in promoting technology development in the region to expand the horizons of computation and builds on IBM’s deep knowledge of semiconductor design and packaging, including the work carried out IBM’s facility in Bromont, Quebec.

According to François Legault, Premier of Quebec, the dedicated IBM quantum computer will pave the way for the city to make incredible progress in areas such as artificial intelligence and modeling.

“Quantum science is the future of computing. With our innovation zone, we’re positioning ourselves at the forefront of this future,” added Legault.

For Dr. Darío Gil, SVP and Director of Research, IBM, the Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator is further proof of IBM’s commitment to building open communities of innovation to tackle the big problems of our times through a combination of quantum computing, AI, and HPC, all integrated through the hybrid cloud.

“This new Discovery Accelerator, along with our work in semiconductor packaging, will bring to bear the full scope of IBM’s groundbreaking technology to Quebec’s world-class scientific and industrial communities. We are proud to be working with the Government of Quebec, as well as the private sector and academic partners, to take innovation in Quebec to the next level,” commented Dr. Gil.

Apart from Quebec, the city of Ontario is also looking into the adoption of quantum technologies. The Quantum Industry Canada (QIC) and the Ontario Centre of Innovation also recently announced a new partnership to accelerate the development, commercialization, and adoption of quantum technologies in Canada.

QIC is a consortium of Canadian quantum technologies companies that includes developers of technologies for quantum computing, quantum communications and cryptography, quantum sensing and quantum-safe cryptography as well as companies using and developing applications of these technologies. The Ontario Centre of Innovation maximizes the commercial impact of research developed in Ontario’s colleges, universities, and research hospitals, and accelerates the commercialization of Made-in-Ontario technologies.

In addition to its quantum system in Quebec, IBM also aims to advance technology education and skills development, as well as provide the use of software technologies such as the Generative Modeling Toolkit for Science and RoboRXN. These technologies serve as part of IBM’s growing Accelerated Discovery portfolio designed to speed up research and expedite development in the life sciences including genomics and drug design.

The Quebec-IBM Discovery Accelerator is the fourth such Accelerator to be announced in the last 12 months, following similar announcements with Cleveland Clinic, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign , and the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council Hartree Centre.